The Future Was Now by JR Harber (Book Rant)

In which I lie to stress my point (please note that all lies are either unintentional or clearly marked).
Whew! Strap in, everyone, this is going to be a loooong ride. I certainly have a lot to say about this book!

Wow. Okay so if you saw my goodreads review (found here but it doesn’t actually say much about the book, just the rating) you know that I really did not like this book very much. When I say, “not very much” I mean not at all. It wasn’t the actual plot, though there were definitely many plot holes, but the little things. I’ve been observing more in my readings these days and this book….no thank you. Let’s get to it.
Please note: this will be a spoiler-filled review because there’s too much to talk about for it not to be. Do not read this review if you do not want this book spoiled (though I suggest if you’re looking to read this book at least give the review a try so you can know what you’re getting into).

Oh yeah also I’ll write a short synopsis I guess because why not:
The State is the only remnant of a world destroyed by human greed, a safe place with every need met. Asa has spent his life in one of the State’s farming communities. When he turns 21, officially becoming an adult, Asa decides to leave his small town and go to Horizon, a large city. When he arrives, he meets the ‘girl of his dreams’ [I got that from the goodreads description, not my own], Eve. However, an unexpected tragedy forces Asa and Eve to embark on a journey farther from the watchful eye of the state than they’ve ever gone before. Meanwhile Gabriel, one of the State’s Contract Enforcers is determined to track them down and deliver the State’s justice.

On the plot:

Nothing happens.
Wow I’ve already reached my first lie of the review. Okay so yes this is a lie because this book has what one might call ‘adventure’. But literally every single scene in the middle could be taken out. In fact, I could turn this book into a short story, right here: “Asa turned 21 and wanted to go to the big city since he was bored of his little town. Six days later, Asa returned to his little town with a pretty lady (more on this later), realizing that the big city was not where he wanted to live. The end.” You know how in books even if it starts and ends in the same place, the characters usually learn something, take something away from their adventure? Yeah, nothing like that happens even though there was a whole lot to be taken away from it. Hey Asa, guess what? The society you’ve lived in your whole life was actually created by some not great people. Also didn’t you see, there’s the excellent community outside of that society that will give you a good life! But nope, we gotta go back into the society.

Was there a climax?
This book was extremely anticlimactic. For a good part of the book the entire goal was to find this person who could clear their records since there was an incident where it looked like Asa pushed someone out the window (but the person actually committed suicide). They find the dude and talk to him for about thirty minutes before leaving again (he does clear their records though). Then Gabriel tries to shoot them. And he gets shot and fell in the river so okay he’s dead whatever let’s all go back to our peaceful lives.

The backstories did not add anything to the plot.
Okay guys when he was ten years old Asa fell in a river. All the bodies of water in this society are contaminated with an amoeba that will most likely get to your brain and kill you. Somehow, Asa survived. Wow, does he have some sort of immunity? Is he going to save his entire society from this amoeba, called the Bug, because he has this immunity thing? Nope. In fact, this was not even a part of the story aside from the fact that it was repeated at least three times in the first 40% of the book. Oh yeah, also? Gabriel’s girlfriend got stabbed by her former boyfriend and died. So he has PTSD and sometimes thinks about Naomi. Doesn’t stop him from doing anything he does and tries to do in the plot.

Asa needs to do some more travel planning.
“I’ve turned 21! I’m leaving my little town! Off to the city I go!” This is coming from someone who has never visited the city. Who has never left his tiny town. From someone who did nothing but pack his bags and get on a train. Look, I’m only a teenager and don’t know much about traveling/moving and maaaybe things are different in this society but don’t you need to do a little planning? Figure out a place to stay and/or live? And we can clearly see Asa’s flaws when he arrives. He literally walks out of the train station and starts wandering around. It’s getting dark and he walks into an alleyway? Nope, not concerned about where I’m gonna, you know, sleep or live, let me get a drink at this nightbar because I’ve heard rumors of the nightbars in Horizon. Apparently they’re dangerous. And things happen in them that people don’t want to talk about. So let’s go in here on my first day to the city at night!

On the characters:

I don’t even know what to call this part but there’s something seriously wrong with Asa (part one)
I seriously don’t even know where to start with this. Guys. He falls in love with someone he hasn’t even met because she’s ‘so very pretty’. Before he meets her he literally thinks, “there’s something different about her.” Because she’s so very pretty. Through the entire book I’m hearing how beautiful Eve is, and her amazing smile. Not once does Asa talk about the fact that Eve is actually smart. That she’s the reason she’s still alive because he never would have gotten out of the city without her. Nope, it’s just that she’s amazingly beautiful. I no joke just jumped to a random page and I see Asa talking about how, “I’m with the most beautiful girl I’ve ever met.” Really? Is beauty the new way to determine what a person’s like? Are you going to judge a person as a whole of their beauty?

There’s something seriously wrong with Asa part two
Let’s read these few sentence and I’m willing to hear your argument that there’s not something wrong with Asa afterwards. “Everyone knew there were men and women whose sexual appetites ran against nature; it was a defect they were born with….but to allow two men to live like a married couple or–worse–to raise a child together that way?” At first I was willing to forgive Asa for this. He has lived in a society that believed this his whole life. But now he’s outside this society so he’s going to learn new things, right? There’s about half the book left at this point. I kept waiting for him to come back, to realize he was wrong, to at least address this again, but nope. That’s the only page that says anything about this encounter. I don’t know if the author is homophobic or was trying to be ‘inclusive’ and just did really badly about it but this just made me so very angry.

There’s something seriously wrong with Asa (part three)
Whoop, more about Eve because she’s so very beautiful and Asa wants to be with her forever more. He’s so controlling, in my opinion. Near the end, when Eve is trying to decide whether to go back to the State or staying out in the Waste with her brother, Asa gets almost angry at her because she’s considering it. He’s basically like, “Eve, how could you leave me?” Well, here’s the thing, Asa. You’ve known her for about four days. You don’t really get to choose what she wants. And also? She just found out her brother was alive out here in the Waste. Who she thought was dead and also her only living family member. And you get angry at her for considering staying? Then, a little later on, he suddenly has this realization, like, “Wow, I’m actually only going to be happy if she’s happy. There’s no use going back if she’s not going to be happy.” And so he gets all ready to say, “Eve, we can stay if you want to,” yada yada. But, you know, he’s apparently already convinced her and she’s coming back. But I hated that scene because even though he had this ‘great realization’ or whatever, he still had been extremely toxic and trying to get his way.

The relationship is badly developed.
This book takes place over a span of six days. In this time, Asa sees Eve (day 2), falls in love with her (day 2, based on looks) actually has a conversation with her (day 3) and basically proposes with her (in a roundabout way. He doesn’t even ask her. He just tells someone that they’re getting married)(day 6). Now, I’m no expert on relationships but…doesn’t this seem a little soon? And from my point of view the relationship was barely even developed. It even felt a little one sided to me for most of the book. Asa is obviously obsessed with Eve–because of her looks. Eve seems a little hesitant for most of the book. Which I don’t blame her for. Her boyfriend just committed suicide??? And Asa is all snuggling up close to her, trying to get her to like him. It’s like the instant Daniel died, Eve was his. Hello???? Give her a little space, dude.
Yeah, you might argue that they ‘went through a lot together’ and that bonded them sooner. But there was still almost no hint of the relationship until the end of the book when suddenly…well you’ll see later on. Asa acts possessive and really jealous whenever he sees Eve with anyone else even though they’re not technically in a relationship. And also, she’s her own person. Let her make her own choices and she can defend herself and just…you don’t need to treat her like she’s a glass doll.

Let’s go back to the fact that Eve’s boyfriend just committed suicide.
This book seems to both revolve around Daniel (the boyfriend) and completely forget him. I seriously think that Daniel’s suicide was only there for the inciting incident. Maybe I’m taking this too far but they did nothing? I mean Eve cried for like five seconds after it happened. But then they just went on their way to find his grandfather so that he can clear their records since it looked like Asa pushed Daniel instead of Daniel committing suicide. Like it’s all great and stuff that they need their records cleared but they cannot just forget about Daniel! He was a strange person but it was obvious that Eve loved him–if not in the ‘I want to marry you’ way that Daniel obviously thought of her as, in the ‘you’re like an older brother’ way. She’s known him for so many years. You don’t just leave someone behind like that! Plus, this teaches a terrible lesson about suicide. Again, they barely mourn him. Guys. Just…just no.

On other stuff:

Umm….the graphic sex scene?
I did not need to read this. I did not ask to read this. I did not want to read this when I picked up the book and I do not want to read this when I pick up any book. Guys, I got this book from a goodreads giveaway in which it was listed as YA. I don’t know if it was goodreads or the author or the publisher or what who listed this book as YA but maybe they should check again. A scene like this should not be found in a YA book.
And the thing is, the rest of this book? It’s totally YA. There’s nothing in the rest of the book that could be classified as adult, just this scene. Here’s another thing: this scene was not needed. At all. It was as if the author just wanted to include a sex scene in there. It was sudden, didn’t fit into the story and just didn’t make sense in any way, shape or form. There was no incentive for it or anything. And let me repeat, you guys. Asa and Eve have known each other for about four days at this time. Plus, while it was obvious that Asa liked the pretty lady, there wasn’t even much romance between them. A hug, a kiss on the cheek, that’s it. Then Eve just walks into the room, wakes Asa up and begins making out with him like her life depends on it. And some.
Despite all the things I’ve listed about this book, this might be one of the worst. I know I keep repeating this but this thought keeps coming back in my head. There was no point in this scene!!! And the author just stuck it in there. It was so sudden it was like he wrote the scene outside of the book and just wanted to include it so he put it in the most ‘convenient’ place. As if someone was sewing a yellow quilt and wanted to include a red patch so they just stuck it in the middle of the quilt, not even bothering to conceal the thread.

The good parts
Well I suppose I ought to point out the good parts of this book as well. This book was pretty easy to read, it wasn’t boring enough to put down, but that’s not saying much given that despite how easy it was to read, the plot was still barely existent.

Please note: I may be a little bit biased on this book. I’m really nitpicking through it and finding all the tiny things–maybe they aren’t very important at all. Still, this is not an exemplar book for so many reasons and I think it is my job to call this out and let other people know so that they don’t have to read this book which could be, possibly, mildly offending for people of certain communities. Maybe only in small ways that you can only see if you know to look for them but…it’s not something we ever need.

Final Ratings: (out of five stars)
Characters: 🌟
Plot: 🌟
Romance: .01🌟
Diversity: Nonexistent
Final rating: .105 star

Book info:
Title: The Future Was Now
Author: JR Harber
Published by: Greenleaf Book Group on March 6, 2020
Genres: Science fiction, dystopian
Pages: 320 pages

That’s the wrap on my very first book rant! Was it an interesting one? Do you think I dug too deep? Did I get repetitive? (this happens often when I’m trying to stress my point). Have you heard of the book “The Future Was Now”? Read it, even? What did you think? Please let me know any opinions in the comments below and consider following my blog for future reviews, book giveaways, author interviews and more! Thank you so so much for taking the time to read this post–the fact that you have happened upon this blog or even decided to follow it means the world to me. I appreciate anything.
Thanks again, everyone, and stay safe!

3 thoughts on “The Future Was Now by JR Harber (Book Rant)

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