At first, I could not tell whether the story was set into the near future or in a very similar parallel world to ours with only a few minute differences until very far in the book. It turns out that it is set in 2017 and that the only thing we managed to crack about the death question, we managed to crack it with an app. We still don’t know if St Peter will welcome us at the pearly gate or if the other guy will roll down the red carpet but at least now we know when we’re going to die thanks to the Death Cast call. That’s how our soon to meet duo Mateo and Rufus found out in any case.
The Death Cast caller did not let them in gently. It was just a “sorry to lose you” call, but you’re going to die in the next 24 hours and here are a few options on how you can spend your End Day.
You can imagine how devastated most people would be receiving the call, but the author chose to focus on two young individuals who take the news pretty well considering, and who decide to live their last moments to the full. They were given a little push though by randomly being introduced through the “Last Friend” app created with your best match in mind, choosing a companion to witness your final journey.
I liked the idea of the Death Call, but I am guessing that like many readers, I was more intrigued by the algorithm which excelled at predicting one’s soon to come demise, however there was no dwelling on that. It remains a complete mystery, which is understandable as it would otherwise take the focus away from our two friends.
They did not try to escape or cheat death, that inevitability rang true throughout, but I did feel that both Mateo and Rufus were maybe unfairly burdened with the task of carrying the book to the end. They did not know each other and had to pretty much build the intensity of a meaningful relationship in less than 24hrs before dying. That is a lot of pressure.
Did it work? Well, to tell you the truth, some elements did. I did feel that Mateo and Rufus meant a lot to each other in the end, but it may have been forced by the nature of their circumstances, however it did not make their relationship less real, just bitter sweet.
At least, they had each other.
My one criticism however is for the sub stories about peripheral characters completely unlinked to the duo which were a little confusing, hinting to relevant elements but not providing enough information to move the story forward. With such an original concept and an ending revealed in the title, I guess I needed a little more between the pages.
Thanking team @hashtagreads for sending me a review copy of this title.