Zero Repeat Forever (The Nahx Invasions #1) by Gabrielle Prendergast (2017)
YA Fiction | Sci-Fi
“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…”
Expected Publication Date: August 29, 2017
pooled ink Review:
Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy to review!
Okay, I’m gonna be honest and tell you that I didn’t finish this book. I made it almost two hundred pages in before I started seriously skimming and eventually called it quits. I think that it had some really good ideas and moments and maybe at another time I’d read this thing through, but as it is I couldn’t keep my attention focused on it and eventually chose to put it down.
But here are my thoughts:
This book is the start of a cool alien sci-fi series and it’s quite a lengthy book. Apparently it ends in a cliffhanger with all sorts of unanswered questions but I can’t really speak to that since I didn’t exactly make it that far.
I think my biggest issue was that I didn’t really connect with any of the characters. Eighth was very…I mean, I get that it’s because he’s an alien and human emotions are totally foreign to him, but he still came across as…not surface level exactly but…I don’t know. I guess I just didn’t believe he could be real.
Sixth and the others call him defective for his emotions, his daydreams of sunsets and the smell of pine trees and whatnot, as well as for his lack of cold efficiency, but not having his species properly explained and instead over a hundred pages in and you’re still left confused as to who he is, what he is, and why he might be different, just adds to his lack of character. You follow his journey through untangling confusing emotions and thoughts about humans (particularly about Raven) but he’s confused and I’m confused and the story doesn’t have enough roots to make me care or feel particularly curious. It wasn’t until he saves Raven and their lives join together that I felt any genuine interest (it’s also the part where you can start to figure out the title of this book).
And as for Raven, I simply didn’t connect with her. She could be funny, resourceful, and definitely badass, but overall she fell a bit flat for me. Raven and the group she travels with are all pretty badass actually (when they’re not getting high) but…I really don’t know, I just didn’t feel a connection with them. People died in this book and unfortunately the writing didn’t get me to care. The other characters were crying about it but I was already skimming ahead.
Told in two alternating POVs – Eighth/”August”, an alien/Nahx, and Raven, a human – this book takes a similar approach to the idea of an alien invasion of Earth as The 5th Wave did, except the aliens in this book are a lot less sneaky and a lot more Terminator/Transformers. Obviously it’s inevitable for Eighth and Raven to meet and it doesn’t actually take long for their lives to intersect for very brief moments as strangers, but it isn’t until about halfway through the book that their stories actually start to collide into one tumultuous plot (I skimmed ahead a bit out of curiosity as to how/when they meet).
So I somewhat wish they would’ve come together sooner (those chapters were by far the most interesting to me) but it actually worked okay that they didn’t. It takes awhile for these two main characters’ stories to align but this pacing works well for this story and gives time to really let the reader get a grasp on them individually. You spend so much time with them separately as they lead their very contrasting lives in this same war that it really heightens the drama and intrigue every time they intersect.
And yet I wonder if the author spent too much time keeping them apart… Like I said, it was interesting to read their individual stories but I wasn’t genuinely intrigued until they actually met.
Raven hates August but needs him, while August cares for Raven yet is ordered to kill her species. This conflict is what really got me into the story for a while (despite my intrigue I still didn’t care about the characters enough to actually see their story through).
But I will say that you don’t have to wait around for any action because there is plenty of it with no time to waste. The plot is absolutely full of drama, gunfire, fight or flight, and the messy web of human emotions. I really do think that this author has an interesting idea and has written an interesting book. It’s creative and you can tell a lot of effort was put into crafting this story. Unfortunately it just wasn’t for me. And I’m not entirely sure why seeing as I really enjoyed The 5th Wave or even Until the End of the World. Alien stories aren’t generally my favorite but they’ve won me over before. This book simply was unable to blissfully distract me from my busy life right now, and like I said before maybe if I read this at another time I’d really get into it.
It held my interest in sporadic bursts. I’d be really into certain chapters or moments, and then suddenly I’d be skimming the pages again until I reached another part that held me transfixed. I don’t think this was a terrible book, I just didn’t get that magic spark with it and that’s okay. Maybe it didn’t win me over but hey, it might be your next favorite read. Ya never know.
Zero Repeat Forever is definitely a good choice if you’re a fan of survival stories, alien invasions, or enemies becoming allies with a blush of romance. If you’re a sci-fi nerd, definitely give this book a try because it has some real solid ideas.
Purchase here: Zero Repeat Forever
Meet Gabrielle Prendergast!
I’m a writer, teacher and designer living in Vancouver, Canada.