Final 7

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments of this series. You can read my reviews of these novels here:

Cell 7 | Day 7

Final 7 was written by Kerry Drewery and first published in 2018. It is a dystopian science fiction novel, set in a world where all executions in the United Kingdom are publicly aired as part of a reality television show. The novel forms the final part of a trilogy and follows on directly from where Cell 7 (2016) and Day 7 (2017) left off, so I would strongly recommend reading the novels in sequence to have any idea of what is going on.

Although Martha and Isaac have both escaped from Cell 7, things could not be worse for them. Now known as the Rises 7, Martha and her allies have been branded as terrorists due to the explosion at the Cells. Eve has been imprisoned and is awaiting her trial by media, while the Government has used the chaos as an excuse to erect a wall to separate the Rises from the more affluent areas of London.

As Martha waits to see if Isaac will survive his injuries, she begins to put a new plan in motion. With the assistance of an investigative journalist and the Prime Minister’s aide, she searches for a way to reveal Reynard’s deceit to the country. Only by proving Death is Justice is corrupt – and that this corruption stems from the Prime Minister himself – can Martha find a way to destabilise the system before Eve meets her end.

However, things are now more difficult than ever before. As the system starts to crumble, Reynard becomes more dangerous. The police are replaced by his own private guard and any revolutionary activity is given an instant death sentence. Martha will have to work harder than ever if she is to convince Britain that the system – and the man behind it – do not have their best interest at heart.

While my feelings towards this series have been mixed from the start, I am feeling more conflicted than ever regarding this final instalment. Final 7 picks up precisely where Day 7 left off, and sadly shares a lot of the same issues as its precursors.

My biggest issue with this whole series is still the world-building. The core premise of the Cell 7 Trilogy – an England where the death sentence has been reinstated and is controlled by the public vote – is still terrifying. It explores the classism of British politics and the negative way in which the media presents the poor, and takes this to its grim conclusion. While there is an uncomfortable air of truth to this idea, I still feel that this series is just a little too extreme. My biggest problem with Final 7 is that it just pushes this concept a little too far

We all know that Man is Evil. In a world where people carry terrible prejudices and reality television shows can be brutal, it naturally feels possible that the two could be combined to create televised murder. This is why The Hunger Games sometimes hit uncomfortably close to home. While Cell 7 and its sequels tries to make this concept feel like something that could happen in our near futures, I still struggle to believe that the vocal majority would be this apathetic.

Reynard lacks any kind of subtly. In some of his public addresses, he advocates the necessity of culling dissenters and vocally declares that people have to listen to him because he is the Prime Minister. These are basically villainous monologues, yet no one speaks out against him. A wall segregating the rich from the poor is erected across London overnight and no one bats an eyelid. It is not until the shock death of a major character around the half-way mark that the populous seems to have a change of spirit.

The narrative of Final 7 is also as varied as ever, now jumping between several protagonists and locations across the city. While the chapters that follow Martha, Eve, and people of Daffodil House are generally well-written and engaging, I still find the Death is Justice segments to be jarring. These chapters are still unsubtly cold-hearted and are written in script format, which includes stage directions. Personally, I found these chapters to be a bit clunky and they certainly took me out of the moment.

Yet, for all my gripes, Final 7 is fast paced and holds its tension very well. Although the story was still structured around a character’s seven days on Death Row (Martha in Cell 7, Isaac in Day 7 and now Eve in Final 7), it’s short chapters and frequent threat of death and imprisonment certainly kept me turning the pages. While the ending of the novel felt a little too easy, I did appreciate the sting hidden in the final chapter. I won’t spoil it for you here, but the subtle indication of an underlying corruption certainly helped to muddy the waters and make the future of England a little less certain.

In terms of character, I did not feel that Final 7 was quite as strong as Day 7. While the previous book spent a lot of time fleshing out the relationship between Eve and Max in particular, Eve’s incarceration meant that there was not much time spent building on this. Max’s struggle with the knowledge of his mother’s crimes should have been a bigger plot point than it ultimately was. Due to Isaac’s serious injuries, he and Martha also did not get to spend a lot of time together in this novel and so we also didn’t really get to see their relationship develop.

Personally, I felt that the best character arc in the novel was reserved for the Prime Minister. Reynard is a frightening antagonist due to the fact that he wholly believes himself to be in the right. His lengthy monologues, particularly towards the end of the novel, were over-blown but did show how dangerous his mindset is. The also carried a scary echo of realism, especially when compared to the kind of things that certain world leaders have come out with of late. Over the course of the novel, Reynard tows the line between being pitiable and monstrous, which made him incredibly memorable. It also made his fall very cathartic.

Anyhow, I think that about covers everything. On the whole, I did not think that Final 7 was the best ending for this series. While I do like the villain and felt that the idea behind it showed promise, its execution just felt far too heavy-handed. Still, it was an exciting read and I would certainly consider reading more of Drewery’s work in the future.

Final 7 can be purchased as a Paperback, eBook or Audio Book from Amazon.co.uk

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