*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Title: Zero Repeat Forever
Author: Gabrielle Prendergast
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: August 29, 2017
Synopsis from Goodreads:
He has no voice, or name, only a rank, Eighth. He doesn’t know the details of the mission, only the directives that hum in his mind. Dart the humans. Leave them where they fall. His job is to protect his Offside. Let her do the shooting. Until a human kills her…Sixteen year-old Raven is at summer camp when the terrifying armored Nahx invade, annihilating entire cities, taking control of the Earth. Isolated in the wilderness, Raven and her friends have only a fragment of instruction from the human resistance. Shelter in place. Which seems like good advice at first. Stay put. Await rescue. Raven doesn’t like feeling helpless but what choice does she have? Then a Nahx kills her boyfriend. Thrown together in a violent, unfamiliar world, Eighth and Raven should feel only hate and fear. But when Raven is injured, and Eighth deserts his unit, their survival comes to depend on trusting each other…
Ah! This is actually one of the more exciting YA books that I’ve read in a long while. I’ve been thinking about this book constantly and itching to finish it. Now that I’m done, I’m sad I don’t have a second book in the series to move on to. In this world, humanity is at the mercy of a foreign, heartless invader. The Nahx shoot to kill, not discerning between man, woman, or child. Their darts are left in the victims and the bodies are left behind, completely preserved. The survivors are few and death is imminent at all times, if not by the Nahxs’ hands then by cold, illness, or starvation. Raven is fighting for her life, and faces more than her fair share of life-threatening situations. She is strong and independent. She cares deeply and feels so strongly. She’s a truly strong heroine with a big heart that she keeps closely protected. In opposition to Raven is Eighth, a Nahx who’s left his unit and found freedom filled with a sad, quiet desperation. Fate brings these two together, despite fear and hatred, but in time, they develop trust and perhaps even more.
I have one main criticism of this book, but I can’t say that it took away from my overall feelings of the book. This book starts out so strong and Prendergast is incredibly talented at world building. She paints a vivid picture of the world and the current situation, even though the characters are not right at the heart of the violence off the bat. I found the combat and violent situations to be so visceral. I couldn’t help but tense up and gasp at certain parts, totally drawn into the story. So many emotions all the time! I couldn’t put this book down.
My criticism lies in the last quarter of the book. While the intro, climbing action, and middle of the books are so thorough and descriptive, so well developed, the end in contrast is quick and somewhat unsatisfying in it’s brevity. After spending so much time in character development and world building, the conclusion to this first book in the series was too quick. Rather then spending pages building the intensity, the author spends mere paragraphs, or even mere sentences. It’s almost as if the ending is a passing thought and I don’t think it received the attention it deserved. Characters who’d previously displayed excellent potential act without reason or clear motive and in ways that are opposite to what we’d expect. Antagonistic characters behave in stock ways and are removed from the picture too quickly. It’s clear that this book is not about them, but has a deeper focus that I’m sure will be explored in books to come.
I feel like I’m being hard on this book, but my opinion is driven by the insane potential that this book has. A little extra attention at the end would have taken this book from fantastic to mind-blowing. Like the start to any good series, Prendergast takes the time to introduce us to her world and her characters, letting us explore and learn the concepts of this world at an engaging pace. I love luxuriating in the introduction to a new series and getting to know the world. It’s exciting to read something that truly has me on the edge of my seat and has me antsy to get my hands on the next book. I think that there is so much potential for the remainder of the story to be so intense, moving, heart-breaking, and full of conflict.
For anyone looking for a new YA series to read, THIS IS THE ONE! While I’ve had some tough things so say, I did absolutely LOVE this book and I’m so, so excited by it. I hope you’ll also read it and enjoy it overall as much as I did! I’d give this 4.5 stars out of 5.