The Forever Watch
by David Ramirez
Overview (from B&N.com): All that is left of humanity is on a thousand-year journey to a new planet aboard one ship, The Noah, which is also carrying a dangerous serial killer…
As a City Planner on the Noah, Hana Dempsey is a gifted psychic, economist, hacker and bureaucrat and is considered “mission critical.” She is non-replaceable, important, essential, but after serving her mandatory Breeding Duty, the impregnation and birthing that all women are obligated to undergo, her life loses purpose as she privately mourns the child she will never be permitted to know.
When Policeman Leonard Barrens enlists her and her hacking skills in the unofficial investigation of his mentor’s violent death, Dempsey finds herself increasingly captivated by both the case and Barrens himself. According to Information Security, the missing man has simply “Retired,” nothing unusual. Together they follow the trail left by the mutilated remains. Their investigation takes them through lost dataspaces and deep into the uninhabited regions of the ship, where they discover that the answer may not be as simple as a serial killer after all.
What they do with that answer will determine the fate of all humanity in David Ramirez’s thrilling page turner.
Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
My Thoughts: Thinking about the future can be daunting. However, thinking about a futuristic reality seems intriguing and imaginative. The idea of deep space exploration, time travel, human evolution, and much more just seem like far-fetched ideas that may or may not ever happen (certainly not in my lifetime).
The Forever Watch is without a doubt in the science fiction realm. However, right off the bat, something really bothered me about it. On the front cover is a quote from a reviewer saying, “filled with scientific plausibility.” I wanted to scream when I saw that. You should never build that sort of expectation into a sci-fi book. It ends up leaving someone science-minded with ridiculous expectations that will probably not be met.
I won’t even bother beating around the bush, the plot was awesome. I absolutely loved how in-depth and complicated everything seemed to be. The Forever Watch pulled in so many complicated things and expounded on them to a degree where you felt like, “hey, there’s a possibility that this could occur.” While I may be an idiot when it comes to computer programming, even I know the majority of the concepts presented in The Forever Watch are pretty far into the future, if they really are possible.
The main characters, overall, were pretty good. They were multi-dimensional and had so many different layers to their personalities and normal human flaws that it was a joy to read, but also mighty frustrating. I was so frustrated with Hana at points that I wanted to rip my hair out. She can’t seem to accept the idea that a government would hide things (important things) from society and some of the questions she asked made me want to punch her. As interesting as the answers to her questions were, they weren’t exactly the most relevant things to be asking.
There were also a lot of character inconsistencies. Another character, Leon Barrens came across as just short of stupid, while at other times he came across as having above average intelligence. This was reflected through his speech patterns and then his surprisingly quick understanding of the programming involved with The Monster (Archie – sentient software, but not a TARDIS). This was mainly a problem in the first half of the book.
There were also deep questions, relevant in the modern world, that resonated throughout The Forever Watch. Whether it was a question of vanity or the world’s dependence on technology, the author didn’t fear taking his own stand on where those lines should be drawn. It forced me to think about my own stance versus how I actually behave. I realized I may be a tad vain (I sincerely hate wearing my glasses, contacts all the way). The question of technology dependence and online privacy really stuck with me well after I finished reading The Forever Watch. How much can “Big Brother” really see? And how much can “he” affect?
There was a lot to this review and I’m sure some people are wondering, did you like it or not? I really enjoyed The Forever Watch. So far, it’s my favorite book from Netgalley. I may have my complaints about it because no book is perfect, but in the end I really liked it and would read it again. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend The Forever Watch (even more so if you’re already a sci-fi fan).
4 out of 5 Bookmarks = A great book that I really didn’t want to end.