The Forever Contract by Avery Sawyer

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(credit)

Kindle Price: Free!

Official Review: 1/5

Synopsis:

In the very near future, the country is plunged into drought and unrest. Scare resources and constant heat are making life completely miserable. Casey doesn’t think she can stand slugging back another gel pack or working one more shift at the wells. Fortunately, there’s a solution: anyone over the age of seventeen can sign the Forever Contract and enter a utopian paradise. While people’s minds take a permanent vacation, their bodies get warehoused and hooked up to a complex array of sensors and feeding tubes. As Casey’s brother says, “You upload your consciousness to the system and you’re free to live as long as you want, however you want. No more pain, no more heat, no more awful dust, no more work. Just pure thought. It’s what our species has always been meant for. Suffering is for philosophers. Not for me.”
Casey’s ready to sign–a permanent vacation is just what she needs. There’s only one problem: her boyfriend James doesn’t trust it.
Told from his and her perspectives, The Forever Contract is a 17,000 word (60 page) novella suitable for readers in grade 8 and above.
Would you sign the contract?

My Review:

The cover of The Forever Contract and the synopsis were both misleading. For the most part, I stay away from books that have covers like that, it usually means certain “special” events occur. None of that happened though, so I’m not sure why Sawyer chose this cover. The synopsis was what pulled me in, but it didn’t quite deliver what I was expecting either. The thought of “upload[ing] your consciousness to the system and you’re free to live as long as you want, however you want.” was intriguing. A unique twist to a dystopian novella. So why didn’t I give it more than one star?

It was completely and totally dull. I was losing my mind trying to get through this novella. Casey, James, and all the other characters were completely one-dimensional. This is one of the biggest issues with novellas: Too complex of a concept crammed into a novella. It almost always leads to poor character development and a poorly delivered plot. If you need more “book time” to develop a solid plot and solid characters than a novella will be able to provide, do not write a novella. It’s unfair to the reader, not just because they may have spent money to buy the book, but in addition, they spent time reading your book only to receive something sub par. It’s equivalent to going to a restaurant and reading over the menu (the books on shelves) and you finally choose something that sounds appetizing (the cover). The chef (author) is making the food in front of you and there are lots of flips and sizzles (the synopsis). Then, your food is finally done and the food is being put on your plate, a little sloppily, but it still looks rather good (the first few chapters). You finally take a bite and your face scrunches in disappointment as your taste buds recoil in horror. It’s undercooked and not what you expected after watching the chef’s grand flips and loud sizzles. But what can you do? You already paid. You wasted your time and money on a chef that did not deliver the service you deserved.

It was honestly a shame because this plot was incredibly amazing. There could have been ocean-deep depth, heartbreaking-ly emotional scenes between James and Casey, gorgeous world-building, and just so much more. There was barely a climax before the ending, the ending just quickly wrapped everything up. It was like those times when you’re having company over soon and you aren’t quite ready and don’t know what to do so you quickly throw things into closets and shove things under couches. I don’t know what happened why Sawyer decided to hastily end The Forever Contract this way but it was inexcusable. It left an appalling amount of uncertainty and was poorly put together. It clearly says “END” in bold letters, but seems to hint at a sequel since it “ends” at a cliffhanger. The Forever Contract has immense potential and I truly mean that. It should definitely not be a novella, but at least a full length novel so that Sawyer can make this plot reach its full potential.

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