Published by Thomas Dunne Books on April 22, 2014
Genres: Adult SFF, Science fiction
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All that is left of humanity is on a thousand-year journey to a new planet aboard one ship, The Noah, which is also carrying a dangerous serial killer...
As a City Planner on the Noah, Hana Dempsey is a gifted psychic, economist, hacker and bureaucrat and is considered "mission critical." She is non-replaceable, important, essential, but after serving her mandatory Breeding Duty, the impregnation and birthing that all women are obligated to undergo, her life loses purpose as she privately mourns the child she will never be permitted to know.
When Policeman Leonard Barrens enlists her and her hacking skills in the unofficial investigation of his mentor's violent death, Dempsey finds herself increasingly captivated by both the case and Barrens himself. According to Information Security, the missing man has simply "Retired," nothing unusual. Together they follow the trail left by the mutilated remains. Their investigation takes them through lost dataspaces and deep into the uninhabited regions of the ship, where they discover that the answer may not be as simple as a serial killer after all.
What they do with that answer will determine the fate of all humanity in this thrilling page turner.
The Forever Watch gives the reader everything expected from the description but with oodles of more that I find almost beyond me to describe. Plus if I did that might ruin some of the experience. Suffice to say all that’s left of humanity is making a 1,000 year journey to a new habitable planet. Ok so they’ve already been traveling 200 years and have about 800 left to go. The ships name? Noah. That is the concept that originally drew me to this book and I liked that it is one of the stranger settings I’ve come across in my reading. Now I’ve read space ships (small crews) and space stations (close to being small floating cities) but never before a ship large enough to contain all there is of a species. Granted, I’ve seen those types of ships mentioned in other science fiction books, but they were never the actual setting of the book. Imagine the size of this thing. Sounds cool right? – Yeah it was.
But what happens when you have an entire population and they are all in the same space? – Breeding is going to become an issue eventually. Thus all women at some point have to undertake breeding duty. Motherhood is treated like such a sterile process and the mothers never get to meet their child. Could this happen, gosh I hope not but at the same time I could totally imagine it. Hana goes thru breeding duty right at the beginning of the book and I liked seeing how it colors the rest of the book. Her friend Barrens comes into the mix because he is essentially a detective investigating some awful murders and he wants her help. And he would need her help because? – she’s psychic of course. Alright I have to admit I love it when there is a psychic character. This is one of those traits that I’ve always secretly both wished for and feared having. A talent like that could totally mess with your mind.
The techy science tech
I think it must be a hard line to balance in science fiction giving the reader the right amount of science and tech. Some readers like it hardcore and others like the lighter side of things. I think I might be one of those that likes it lighter or more conceptual and less blammo in my face. The Forever Watch veers more than a smidge over to the heavier sci-fi side but not so far that someone like me would have a hard time enjoying it. Though it did take me longer to read than a book this length usually does as I needed more time to let all of the concepts, jargon and ideas really sink in. But have no doubt there is some cool stuff that science fiction lovers will enjoy watching come into play on a big ship carrying all that’s left of humanity and how to possibly keep them from going bonkers in the process.
There is a big mystery at the heart of this book and a dynamic relationship that develops between the two lead characters that is fabulous. I know a book is a success with me when I can immediately think of at least two people to recommend it to.
Random quote I liked
Don’t say one thing with your words and something else with your body.
Oh now I know you probably immediately thought something sexy didn’t you? Naughty minx you, it was no such thing.
Things I haven’t seen before
Whenever I know I want to read something that I haven’t seen before I immediately go to the sci-fi genre. Now I’ve read all the Dune books and many other science fiction books but I’m not as heavily read in this genre as I am in Fantasy. So in fantasy it’s harder to wow me with new concepts but I can usually count on sci-fi to give me the goods in a way I haven’t seen before. In The Forever Watch I got that and then some. Oh how I wish I could tell you – but I can’t because that would spoil the surprise. But suffice to say there was a whole lot of twisty this way and that and I definitely didn’t see many of these things coming. Also hats off to the excellent character dynamics that came into play between Hana and Barrens – or did I say that already? It’s well worth repeating. And yes, there is romance in case you were wondering. Newbie readers to the genre might find this one a bit more than they bargained for but I definitely guarantee any avid science fiction lover will gobble The Forever Watch up.
Come back tomorrow for a guest post from the author, David Ramirez – Why Do Breeding Programs Keep Showing Up in Stories?
*gasp* This book was provided by the publisher! No worries though it’s an honest review and all opinions expressed are my own. Quotes are taken from an Advanced edition and may have changes in the published edition. This post might also contain affiliate links. To view my full Blog Policy, click here.