Publishing Date: August 29, 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Young Adult Supernatural & Science Fiction
The Premise from the Publisher: "The 5th Wave meets Beauty and the Beast in this fast-paced and heart-stopping novel about an invasion of murderous creatures and one girl fighting for her life at the end of the world. 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. Isolated in the wilderness, Raven and her fellow campers can only 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…" (SS).
My overall thoughts and review: I can't even remember the last time I read a YA novel with supernatural/sci-fi/dystopian elements, but this was one that got me right back into loving the genre. The story was pitched as The 5th Wave meets Beauty and the Beast, and I loved that combination. It was also pitched with a Canadian backdrop, with Calgary as the setting. I was instantly intrigued because it is told from duo-perspectives: Raven & Eighth. In this world, the Nahx (dark shadowy figures... I kind of imagined strong armored dementors while reading it) have begun invading and Raven is at summer camp when things start to change. Her boyfriend, Tucker, is murdered by one of the Knax, and she is forced to leave the confines of the camp to seek others and find shelter. You meet Topher, who is Tucker's twin brother and shows his disdain openly for Raven. I really liked their relationship dynamic. Topher felt that Tucker was changing to please Raven and therefore did not approve of their relationship. It was nice to see how their relationship changed over time as they became dependent on one another with the memory of Tucker tethering them together. It was interesting to see the whole "will they/won't they" with them since it is the end of the world, but with the presence of Tucker still lingering over them made things awkward. Raven is such an interesting character because she comes from a troubled past and a mixed family. She's stubborn and strong, but also incredibly emotional at her core. You can see that she attempts to be strong but things do shift and she is often so conflicted with her feelings. There are videos of Knax executions where humans have found a way to post to show that the Knax can be killed. Raven finds it incredibly hard to watch and I really liked that ~human~ part of her. Even though they are the enemies, she attempts to understand what is going on, rather than simply a revenge path like Topher. I will say I wish there was more explanation for the Knax and their take-over and what their end game was. I felt the ending explained a tiny bit, but this first book in the series was really laying the foundation for the relationship between Raven & Eighth, and less so on world building, which I wanted more of. I know this is mostly because Eighth is defective and actually doesn't have any of the answers, but I'm hoping the next book in the series will explain more of the Knax's agenda and motivations. As for Eighth, I really enjoyed reading his chapters. Even though he experiences a bit of "insta-love" with Raven, I feel like he does come to terms of learning what love is and his own meaning of love. It definitely hurt to see Raven fight with him, and goodness, he apologizes so much. I feel like at the end of the day, Eighth only means well, but with the difficulty in communication, that isn't always clear to Raven. Eighth cannot speak and can only sign things. I liked seeing their relationship grow and I started with shipping Raven and Topher, but by the end of it, I was totally team Raven and Eighth. I will say the pacing was quite slow in the beginning; it does pick up at some action-y parts, and the ending definitely felt a bit rushed. It ends on a massive cliffhanger and I will definitely be picking up the next book to find out what happens. I really enjoyed this because it made me like the genre of supernatural/sci-fi/dystopian YA reads again. I've always had a fascination with ~aliens~ and this was the perfect read to bring me back to reading those YA books again. Also, I LOVE the cover so much and when you learn what the cover refers to, it makes it all the more special.
My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮ (4/5 stars)
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Author Post: Inspiration for Zero Repeat Forever
Zero Repeat Forever was inspired by a dream initially, which became the opening scene of part III in the book. When I had the dream I knew nothing about the actual premise or genre, only the broad themes of enemies and imprisonment and trust. I must have mulled that dream idea around for a while but eventually I landed on the idea of doing it as an alien invasion story. It took a few tries to get the exact circumstances of the story right. In the first draft the story takes place decades after the invasion. Then I tried setting it five years after the invasion. Eventually I realized the best way to tell the story was to start it with the invasion and go from there. I think I've always been very interested in the idea of enemies coming face to face so I thought a lot about movies and books that explore this theme - everything from How to Train Your Dragon to Enemy Mine to Dances with Wolves to Frankenstein (of course!). I've also always loved sci-fi armour and cyborgs such as the Stormtroopers and C-3P0 in Star Wars, The Terminator, Data and the holographic doctor in Star Trek, and Robocop so when I was dreaming up the Nahx those were all in my mind.Thanks so much for dropping by on this blog tour and sharing the inspiration for the text. I can definitely see the sci-fi armour and cyborg stuff come to life while I was reading the text. ;)
Be sure to stop by the other stops on the blog tour for more Zero Repeat Forever content!
Disclaimer: An advanced reader's copy of the book was provided by Simon and Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review. All opinions of the book are my own.