4 out of 4 stars
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Final Notice by Van Fleisher is a fiction novel that is not that far from reality. This book is set in the United States of America and follows the consequences of a new device that can predict the final days of a human's life. In this novel, a group of doctors have created a watch that, by monitoring your health and vital signs 24/7, is able to predict the end of life as long as it is connected to old age or sickness. This watch is based on science and not magic, therefore it can not predict sudden death as in a car accident or murder. With this new watch, people are able to get a “final notice” anywhere from a month to a few days before their time is up. Originally this sounds like a great idea, a device that will allow people to know exactly when they should start preparing themselves for the end. Citizens are now able to fix up their wills, tie any loose ends, and say their goodbyes before it is too late. Unfortunately, when guns are mixed into the equation, we soon find out that not everyone leaves life on a good note. While some people use this notice to give to charity and spend time with their loved ones, others decide to settle scores and take revenge because they know they will not be alive to deal with the consequences.
This novel follows the doctors who invented the device, the people who get their final notice, and in the middle of all that, an elderly couple who, in this increasingly hostile world, are faced with the decision of whether they need a gun for their own safety.
The plot of this book immediately caught my attention because it involved the much disputed topic of gun ownership. I am happy to say that my attention never wavered while reading this novel. The characters are likable and multidimensional. Initially, I was a bit worried about the number of characters with final notices that were being introduced, but that was all for naught since the author kept the character count low so I was able to remember each and every character. The plot was perfectly paced and I appreciated that the author was able to tie up everything quite nicely without making the ending feel rushed. This book also has an element of thrill to it. I kept on turning the pages because I was impatient to see how each character who received a final notice would react. I have to congratulate the author on the ability to surprise me multiple times throughout the story. This novel proves that we never really know people as well as we think we do.
The best thing about this novel is that it leaves you with a lot to think about. I think it is a story that will stay with readers. The debate about gun ownership is ongoing, and this book asks a lot of important questions that we should all be thinking about in our daily lives. Personally, I kept on going back and forth when it came to who should be blamed for the violent reactions of some of the people who receive the final notices. Is it the doctors’ fault for giving the person a reason to harm others? Is it the person’s own responsibility for what they do when they know they are about to die? Or is it the government's fault for making it easier for the average citizen to weaponize themselves? There are many answers to that question, but you have to read the book to see what the author thinks.
I gave this book 4 out of 4 stars. Overall, Final Notice by Van Fleisher was an enjoyable and well-edited read that explores a controversial subject. I would recommend this novel to anyone who is on the fence about owning a gun. If you are pro-gun ownership, I suggest you steer clear of this novel since it is mostly biased towards anti-gun ownership for the average citizen. I also feel that I have to mention that this book does include school shootings, so if you are sensitive to this topic I would recommend you pass on reading this novel.
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