ARC Review: Note to Self by Peter Ward

Title: Note To Self
Author: Peter Ward
Genre: Science fiction, futuristic, dystopian
Series? No
Publisher: Diversion Books (September 17, 2013)
Rating: 4/6 – It was pretty good!

Synopsis from NetGalley: In a world where technology controls everything, sometimes your own handwriting is the only thing you can trust.

Richard Henley is an ordinary man leading an ordinary life, but when he finds strange notes in his own handwriting warning that someone is trying to kill him, he is sent on a journey to places he never knew existed. With an ominous and all-powerful organisation on his trail, his only hope is to trust unexpected allies, take control of his life, and uncover the truth about what happened to the girl he loved twenty years ago. A darkly humorous commentary on our app-obsessed culture, if Richard can stay alive, his world will never be the same again.

My Initial Thoughts/Rambling: Now that I actually look at the cover in a bit more detail, I realize that those dangly things aren’t the jangles you hang in your door way, but actually binary code. Now it makes a lot more sense – and the cover is a perfect representation of the core theme of the book! Possible Spoilers Ahead.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Note to Self from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

What did I think about the characters? This isn’t a YA book like I usually review, but rather told from the perspective of a middle-aged man. So that was a bit of a switch for me, and it made connecting to Richard a bit more difficult. Nevertheless, I found myself getting sucked into his story, and wondering what was going to happen to him next! He’s a solid blend of confused-man-thrown-into-wacky-situation and strong-character-who-takes-charge-in-wacky-situation, and turns out to be very well balanced and likeable.

Cassandra, another one of the characters, though secondary, was my favorite. She has the mouth of a sailor, knows how to drive a flying car, and is sassy as all get-out. My personal favorite line is one I can’t share due to huge spoiler reasons, but just know that she’s awesome.

And the concept and plot? The concept was great, if a bit mind-bending at first. Parallel worlds and quantum physics are still a bit hard for me to wrap my brain around – still haven’t watched enough Doctor Who to get it all. Some of the moral and ethical dilemmas brought up were great to consider for myself, and it made me think as to where I stood on the spectrum of agree/disagree with the statements the characters made. Plus, it really hit home with the idea that as a society we’re too plugged in to our tech and it could easily become a danger to us.

The plot was perfectly paced, up until the very end where I felt like it was wrapped up a bit too quickly. The dystopian elements of the book were great, but the “let’s overthrow the government” aspect was resolved within a few pages, so it was a bit of a let down in terms of suspense.

What about the writing style? This was what really sold the book for me. It was well written, descriptive without overdoing it, and engaging. And for a galley, well edited, which was a plus for me.

Anything else you’d like to add? Despite not having too much to complain about, I still give this one a 4 instead of a 5. For some reason, I just couldn’t get over that hump of really like to love. Maybe it’s because of Richard’s age? Nevertheless, I did enjoy this book for the incredible writing and themes.

Find the book at:

Amazon: Not yet available

Barnes and Noble: Not yet available

Book Depository: Not yet available



10 thoughts on “ARC Review: Note to Self by Peter Ward

  1. Sounds like a really interesting book! Not something I would normally pick up but I’m glad you enjoyed it. I think it’s great that this capitalises on our reliance on technology, sometimes we do need a wake-up call and remember we do take technology for granted. Great review πŸ˜€

  2. Cassandra sounds like a great character! I always enjoy characters who got sass. πŸ˜‰ This sounds like a really cool story although it’s not one I would usually delve in to because of the age group. I’m glad you found it enjoyable though! Awesome review, Kayla! πŸ™‚

  3. Yeah, I get what you mean about the age. It is so important to connect to a character and the author’s job is a lot harder when the MC is so much older. I wish I had your luck with random picks! πŸ™‚

    • Well I’ve been on a good streak lately πŸ˜‰ If you look back in the archives I had a run of 1-3 star books in August. NOTHING was working out, so it’s high time I found a string of good ones πŸ˜€

  4. Sounds interesting. I don’t read much from the persepective of middle aged me. I think Dexter is the only one I’ve read like that lately and it’s difficult to get out of the YA brain for me. I like the look of a scifi novel that’s not part of a series. Great review!

      • Yeah – the books that came before the TV show. My brother bought them for me one Christmas… fairly confusing to read considering he’s a psychopath.

        I love series because rarely do I want to leave fantastic fictional worlds but sometimes it just feels like such a commitment! So standalones are amazing.

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