I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Zero Repeat Forever by Gabrielle Prendergast
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on August 29th 2017
Series: The Nahx Invasions #1
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
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…
For some reason, I thought that Zero Repeat Forever would be a fast-paced action-filled science fiction adventure. It was a low slower than I had expected but I loved how the author delved into the inner turmoil of both Eighth and Raven, exploring how the invasion affected both of them. There is still some action but it takes backseat to the emotional journey of the characters. This riveting series debut ends with a bang. There are just enough unanswered questions that readers will be anxiously awaiting the second installment.
Zero Repeat Forever begins as the alien, or Nahx, invasion begins. The invasion is utterly brutal and essentially happens overnight. Raven, her boyfriend Tucker, and his twin Topher all survive the initial invasion because they were working at an extremely remote summer camp. However, they’re now trapped with the other counselors, waiting for the day when the Nahx find them. After Tucker’s death, they decide to see other survivors and set off into the wilderness surrounding them. The plot alternates between Raven’s journey and that of Eighth, one of the invading Nahx. After the death of his commanding officer, Eighth wanders alone, attempting to fulfill his directives to dart the humans, until he first sees Raven. In that moment, everything changes for him and he starts to question his orders, struggling against his suit’s mind-control.
Even though I was surprised at the direction the book took, I really enjoyed seeing the emotional turmoil of Raven and Eighth as their worlds changed. With more action-based novels, the reader is more distanced from how the characters feel about the drastic changes. Additionally, it was intriguing to see the invasion from both perspectives, particularly since Eighth also didn’t know why the Nahx were invading. Despite the more introverted approach, there was still enough action in this book to keep me constantly engaged and entertained. I did have a lot of remaining questions about the world, the aliens, and the invasion so hopefully there will be more answers in the sequel.
Although I liked both Raven and Eighth, Eighth absolutely became my favorite. His thoughts are so jumbled and murky that I really admired the strength and willpower that he showed in order to even think his own thoughts. I think it was good that the author included both viewpoints because it allowed the reader to understand the intentions behind each action. I wasn’t a huge fan of Raven at first but she really grew on me during the last fourth of the book, after she came to terms with herself and let go of a lot of anger. The secondary characters didn’t really stand out to me but, after that ending, I have hopes that they’ll be more developed in the sequel.
Overall, Zero Repeat Forever was a very solid YA science fiction debut that balanced high-stakes action with an exploration of the emotional turmoil induced by an alien invasion. I would recommend to readers who enjoy more character-based novels. While there are some aspects of science fiction, I think this book will appeal to a wide variety of readers.