Author: Carol Hedges
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Will and Amber live on a ‘New Earth’, one created after the planet was pretty much destroyed following a cybercrash. This new home is managed by the ‘President’, a character who remains elusive for the majority of the book.
At the start of the novel, we see the similarities to our day to day life. School and homework, children’s parties, and television shows, but as the story progresses we start to get a feel for the subtle differences in this dystopian world.
Will had never come across a computer with a voice-response mechanism. In his experience, computers were chips, memory boards and circuits. You played games on them, did schoolwork, went on Globenet. His relationship with Ned was slightly more complex, although he kept telling himself it wasn’t. After all, Ned was a machine. Machines didn’t have personalities. They could not make choices, express opinions.
Will knew Ned was very old. It dated back to the first part of the millennium. Before the Great Cybercrash. Theoretically, Ned should have been easy to handle. But it wasn’t working out that way.
Amber is a loner with zero friends. Will is a ‘popular’ who is idolised by the entire student body. They are cleverly brought together, but it’s not a smooth road. I liked this aspect of the story. It’s all too easy to opt for the typical coming-of-age ‘boy meets girl-snog-save the world’ storyline. Carol Hedges keeps her characters quirky and at arm’s length, evolving Will and Amber’s relationship at a steady pace.
When their teacher, Mr. Neots, arrives on the scene I took an instant dislike to the man, a testament to the author’s ability to write a fully rounded character. He loathes the students, despises his family and oozes spite. Everything a good antagonist should be.
The storyline centres on Will and his father’s ‘accidental’ death. He meets a government official who leaves more clues to confirm what Will already suspects – that his father was killed. With help from his little computer, Ned, and his new friendship with Amber, they begin a dangerous journey.
Amber’s story is less straightforward. She hears voices and sees the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse at every turn, but she wants to help her friend discover the truth.
That truth, however, brings them face-to-face with the worst kind of evil. Suddenly, Amber’s story becomes the main view point.
There are plenty of secondary characters to drive the story forward. I liked Will’s little sister, Dahlia for her injection of familiarity and I thought Chris and Kayla were fabulous in showing how two children from the same parents could be so different.
Although not as vividly descriptive as Carol’s Victorian Murder Mystery series, The Final Virus was a thoroughly enjoyable book, leaving enough threads for a follow-up but succinctly tying up all the loose ends.
Will’s father dies in a work-related accident. At least that’s the official story. But Will knows it isn’t true. Someone wanted his father dead – and he’s determined to find out who, and why.
The only person who believes him is strange, beautiful loner Amber. But she’s hardly ‘normal’ – always hearing voices and seeing terrible Apocalyptic visions in her head.
Will and Amber will have to use every resource they can grab onto to make sense of what is going on in their lives. Meanwhile as they get deeper into trouble, time is running out. And the President of Globecorp is watching them. He has plans…
The Final Virus, like Orwell’s 1984, paints a terrifying picture of a Dystopic world that has lost touch with its past and is about to destroy its future.