It’s a long time since I met lovely Felicia Yapp at an author and blogger event I wrote about here. Since then, I reviewed her debut Yesterday here and it became one of my favourite reads of 2017. Consequently, I was thrilled when Antonia Whitton at Headline asked if I might be prepared to read and review Felicia’s latest book, Future Perfect. Would I? Try and stop me! I’m delighted to share my review today.
Published by Headline imprint Wildfire on 18th March, Future Perfect is available for purchase through the links here.
What if today was your last day…
A bomb has exploded during a fashion show, killing a beautiful model on the catwalk. The murderer is still at large… and he may strike again. Yet this is the least of Police Commissioner Christian Verger’s worries. His fiancée Viola has left him. He has to keep his tumultuous past a secret. To make things worse, his voice assistant Alexa is 99.74% sure he will die tomorrow.
Moving from snowy 1980s Montana to chic 1990s Manhattan to a drone-filled 2030s Britain, FUTURE PERFECT is an electrifying race to solve a murder before it’s too late. Yet it is also a love story, a riveting portrait of a couple torn apart by secrets, grief and guilt. A twisted tale of how the past can haunt a person’s future and be used to predict if he will die… or kill.
My Review of Future Perfect
An explosion at a fashion show is just the beginning.
Future Perfect opens in dramatic style and doesn’t let up throughout, as Felicia Yap takes her reader on a terrifyingly plausible narrative set just slightly in the future. What works so well is that technology is at the heart of the story but it is futuristic technology that has already begun to make an appearance now, such as delivery drones and driverless cars, so that the events that occur feel based in truth and are all the more unsettling as a result. I really did feel quite tense reading Future Perfect and thought it was a thrilling read. Equally, I found Future Perfect innovative and fresh in style so that it felt unlike other books I’ve read.
Future Perfect is so much more than a futuristic thriller. Somehow, Felicia Yap has woven romance, relationships, science fiction, AI and crime into a captivating narrative set in the world of high fashion that draws in the reader completely. The plot is a true masterclass, twisting perceptions and manipulating the reader until they are as affected by events as are Viola and Christian. I permanently felt one step behind for much of the time, just like Christian, so that unlike other thrillers, Future Perfect was never predictable. There’s a real irony in that sensation, given the technological reliance on prediction and probability in the narrative! The fast paced action is balanced by beautifully natural imagery and a wonderful appeal to the senses so that Future Perfect has something for every reader. I finished reading this book rather in awe of Felicia Yap’s prescient understanding of society, the criminal mind and humanity. This is a book that entertains, certainly, but it has a depth that gives the reader much to think about too.
Indeed, it is the presentation of humanity in Future Perfect that makes for such compelling reading. I loved the insight into how our past shapes our present, that emerges through the stories of Christian and Viola. Felicia Yap explores human frailty and resilience, our self-deceptions and our self-criticisms, so that the narrative affords an understanding of both perfection and imperfection in a manner I found mesmerising. Alexander King is the ultimate enfant terrible manipulator and yet he has a vulnerability that is quite affecting. He made me think of Shelley’s Ozymandias because of the way art and artifice are so closely entwined in Future Perfect. Even more compelling for me was the exploration of living in the moment and not looking too far ahead. Never have I been more thankful that I do not have Alexa or smart technology in my own home, but to say more would be to spoil the story for others!
I thought this book was brilliant because of the sophisticated storytelling, the vivid characters and the terrifyingly possible situations it contains. Elegantly and eloquently written, Future Perfect is totally captivating, unnerving and surprisingly emotional. I really, really recommend it.
About Felicia Yap
Felicia Yap grew up in Kuala Lumpur. She read biochemistry at Imperial College London, before achieving a doctorate in history (and a half-blue in competitive ballroom dancing) at Cambridge University. She has written for The Economist and The Business Times. She has also worked as a radioactive-cell biologist, a war historian, a Cambridge lecturer, a technology journalist, a theatre critic, a flea-market trader and a catwalk model. Yesterday was her debut novel. Future Perfect is her second.