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Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Forever is Today, 9 Jun. 2014
This review is from: The Forever Watch (Hardcover)
Great science fiction is made up of many parts, but three things are vital for it to become a classic; world building, story and character. If one of these three elements is slightly below the others, a great novel can be punished. In `The Forever Watch' by Daniel Ramirez we have a fantastic world in the form of the spaceship Noah, a great character in the form of Hana, but does the story quite match up to the rest?

The human race is dying, but before we are wiped out on Earth, we boarded the spaceship The Noah on a 1000 year journey to a new planet. The people on the ship have evolved from what we know today; they have enhanced powers that dictate their role in the society. Hana scored well whilst growing up so has become a manager in the Civil Engineering department, but when she meets Barrens she is plunged into the hidden side of The Noah, gaining glimpses of secrets that no one should see.

I love a good dystopian structure and that is exactly what you get with `Forever Watch', Ramirez has created in The Noah the perfect type of world on which to base a story. Although set hundreds of years in the future on a ship that cannot yet exist, it feels realistic. The politics of the ship are somewhat fascist, but perhaps this is needed to achieve the ultimate goal of creating a new Earth? Hana is also a great character to follow; she is a powerful woman, but still feminine. Some of the scenes between her and Barrens may make your eyes water, but they give a good reason for the characters to work for survival.

The one element that is not quite as strong is the story itself. The blurb will have you thinking this is a murder mystery based in a science fiction universe, but it is more than that - too much more at times. This is a book that opens small and grows, and grows, and grows. The concepts leap from a character study into epic proportions. Although the individual elements of the story work, the journey almost seems too much for one novel. However, what a story and what ideas.

Some of the concepts in `Forever Watch' work the brain, this is one book in which you need to read every sentence. The use of powers such as telekinesis, advanced strength etc. are only the start. Artificial Intelligence, politics, sexual awakenings and many other elements are also explored. This is a mixed bag of a novel that tries to fit it all in at once. The one thread that stays true throughout is Hana and her relationship with The Noah. It is these two elements that make the book a joy to read; witness as Hana evolves so much through the pages.

In a world of prolonged series, I am usually one to call for standalone titles, but in this rare case I would have preferred longer in each element of the book; it feels like it has three distinct sections. To criticise a book for being too good in places that it should have been longer is harsh, but still, the impulse of Ramirez to cram everything into his debut does mean that it feels overly complex at times. Still a very good book for fans of space based science fiction. Reviewed originally for bookbag.com.
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Location: Reading, Berkshire

Top Reviewer Ranking: 2,137