Monday, August 27, 2012

The Forever Contract (Avery Sawyer)

The Forever Contract
Avery Sawyer
Planet Explorers Publishing
Fiction, YA Sci-Fi
***+ (Okay/Good)

DESCRIPTION: Between the drought, rampant unemployment, and the rationing, the future looks increasingly bleak. Fortunately, there's a way out. By signing the Forever Contract, anyone over the age of 17 can opt to live in a virtual paradise while their body is stored away on minimal life support. It saves resources for the government, and it's a chance for the sort of happiness people can only read about in history books. Once inside, there's no going back... but who would want to return to a reality this hopeless?
Casey Stanford's brother, Ben, signed the contract; through their virtual visits, he tells her how great it is, how much he's looking forward to the day when the rest of the family joins him. With her birthday only a week away, she's ready to follow him into eternal escape - but one thing still troubles her. James, her boyfriend, not only doesn't intend to sign the contract, but he's convinced that something sinister is going on, something the government doesn't want the people to know. Casey doesn't want to live forever without the love of her life, but James remains stubbornly paranoid about the Forever Contract. When she reluctantly agrees to help him investigate, they both discover truths far worse than anything they imagined... and enemies too far beyond the law to be stopped.
A Kindle-exclusive title.

REVIEW: A young-adult take on a Matrix-style futuristic dystopia, the truth behind the Forever Contract may be fairly obvious to any outsider who reads or watches sci-fi. Still, Sawyer does a good job portraying two characters struggling to understand their hopeless reality, fighting for freedom when it's no longer clear just what that term means anymore. The story moves fairly quickly, ratcheting up the stakes. It was on its way to a Good rating, maybe even a Good and a half, until I ran head-first into the sudden full-stop of an ending, an ending that leaves many balls hanging in mid-air. Until then, I enjoyed the ride.

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