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Must read 🏆

Read over a 2-day binge, this chilling, imaginative dystopia is simply a must-read.

It proved much easier confining the citizens than the prisoners, and so the great division began.
- 'ForeverChild', Mark Lavine

From the opening paragraph, this book drew me right in and kept me hooked right up to the end.

ForeverChild explores a nightmarish future, which sees the rich living in secluded, secure 'hives', while the poor are left to fend for themselves in the wilderness. It is a world where the rich have unlocked the recipe for immortality, by preventing natural growth, and remaining children forever.

The book follows a classic prince-and-pauper outline with a rich soon-to-be forever child, Seelin, trading places with Kianno, a poor boy who gets separated from his parents in the wilderness.

We then jump into the future, where both children are grown, yet Kianno, now residing in a luxury hive is trapped in the body of a child, still. When he sets out on a quest to discover what has come of his lowborn parents, the line between worlds becomes blurred.

ForeverChild, Lavine's fourth novel, is a phenomenal exploration of a future that doesn't feel that far removed from our current existence. The entitlement of the rich class in the book is but a mirror of our existing society. The bizarre, cruel medical experiments that the rich subject themselves to in the name of immortality hold up a stark mirror to our own twisted modern relationship with medicine. A mirror that is necessary, even as it's not always easy to look into.

One of the aspects I most enjoyed about the book is the psychological depth Lavine delves into.

While the high class has found a way to prolong life and youth, in particular, happiness has still eluded them. The forever children of the story are malformed, suffering from stunted emotional and psychological development. To be a grown man with a man's necessities and capacities, trapped in the immature body of a child seems a terribly cruel fate to me, and Lavine brilliantly highlights that. The profound discomfort the hive denizens exist in is evident from their most mundane interactions.

'We must alert the authorities immediately', Sofia said. 'There's no time to waste.'
'The authorities will do nothing,' Jaslo scoffed. 'I have my own authorities, I have my own...'

Even those who claim to live inside civilization are secluded and alienated from real safety, subsisting instead on general, widespread mistrust.

When you live long enough, no one seems safe anymore...

But to me, the greatest highlight of the book was Zhrana, Kianno's companion/resistance fighter. Her character blossoms throughout the book, much of that growth being powered by her love. And although Zhrana, in mind, is a woman grown, her love has its roots in the tender, fierce loyalty of childhood friendship - to me, that's a priceless detail.

Bottom line, should you read this book? Yes. No other words necessary. It really is good.

Reviewed by

I've been hooked on books for as long as I can remember ( to the point of skipping school, just to stay home and read - yeah, low-key kind of a nerd here). I read and write a lot, and I've been doing that for a long time, so that's made me pay attention to some unique or less obvious aspects.

About the author

I am the author of four novels: Dr Prozac, ForeverChild, Victimless Crimes, and Windekind. I live in the mountains of Vermont with my wife and daughter. view profile

Published on April 01, 2023

110000 words

Genre: Science Fiction

Reviewed by