4 out of 4 stars
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If there was a watch which could tell you when you would die, would you want one? How would you feel if you knew you had 10 days to live? As you age, are you safe? Do you need to protect yourself as you get older with……a gun? If you want to explore your answers to these questions and more, Final Notice by Van Fleisher is a book for you. This is a fictional novel, however, there are many elements of technology and science which have relevance for everyday life.
This book introduces the idea of the testing and production of a new watch/fitness band which is very advanced. This product is so innovative, it monitors a person’s vital signs and can tell a wearer whether they have 10, 20 or 30 days to live. It can also advise a wearer immediately of any imminent death, and alerts people by sending a ‘final notice’. Initially, the idea of this watch is to allow people to say goodbye to their loved ones and settle their affairs. However, it starts to emerge that people who receive a final notice are taking matters into their own hands to exact vigilante justice. Several people in the trial group who receive a final notice shoot others before they themselves pass away. Included in the story is Vijay Patel, who is the designer and lead tester of the watch, who must recognise the double-edged sword of his design.
The watch being developed and tested is the backdrop to the storyline. Meanwhile, the reader is introduced to a middle-class retired couple, Vince and Trudy Fuller. They are a wonderful couple and I found that I really grew to like them and associate with their beliefs and attitudes. They are introduced in the other story layer with a backdrop of political topics where it was stated that seniors were at risk in the community and needed to consider protecting themselves with a gun. Seniors are offered guns at a reduced rate and encouraged to arm themselves to ensure that they are prepared should they need to be. While Trudy and Vince are ordinarily anti-gun believers, Vince starts to change his mind after he and his dog are violently attacked by a rabid dog and two thugs. He goes and purchases a gun unbeknown to his wife as a result. Through this accident, Trudy and Vince meet a Middle-Eastern couple who assisted Vince in the attack and they become firm friends. As the story unfolds, Vince is diagnosed with rabies and given a watch to trial, which leads to him receiving a final notice. How will Vince react to this notice and what will Trudy do when she sees an opportunity to stand up for her beliefs? Well, if I told you at this point, I would be ruining the story! What I will say is that the ending is very unexpected but very satisfying and leaves the reader feeling like the wrong has been set right. There are many other side stories in this novel that I have not included in this review. Really, there is a lot going on and readers will not get bored with this novel!
What I liked about this novel was the consideration of so many topics, such as; corruption, politics, prejudice and racial judgements and the ever-increasing debate on gun control. Many of these factors contain elements which are very relevant in the modern world and will lead readers to question what they are seeing in their own society. I find that I am concerned about the level of increasing violence in our society, however, I am not sure that arming people will necessarily assist in resolving this issue. This novel really helped me to reflect on this topic. I like the idea of having a watch that can tell me when I have 10 days left to live. Personally, I would use this time to sort my affairs and ensure that my loved ones are cared for by giving me an opportunity to say goodbye. What would you do? I also liked the scientific information which was included in the novel which shows that the author has taken the time to research scientific information. Given the real-life themes of this fictional novel, I found myself reflecting on these themes long after reading the book.
This book was well formatted and edited. There were some spelling errors, however, these were relatively minor and did not really detract from the novel. I think that the part that I disliked the most was the delving into the private life of Vijay Patel as I think that this did not add to the story. I also did not like the afterward of the novel where a summary was provided of what happened to each character after the end of the book. I think that the reason I did not like this was that it was a novel and fully fictional, therefore I know that the characters did not have a future. I would have liked this element if the novel was non-fiction and about real people.
I would rate this book as 4 out of 4. I was captivated by this book and was not able to put it down. Each step of the way, I was surprised by what the characters did, and I really liked the way that the ending was completely different to how it seemed to be tracking. I also really liked the way that this book made the reader really think about their future, which is always a good reflection to have. I found that I reflected on this for weeks after reading the novel.
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