I am in love! With many things actually, but right now I am in love with this book. Not only is it well written, exciting, and full of little plot twists it also happens to take place in Canada. And not just anywhere in Canada, but in my hometown of Calgary and my beloved Rockies. Be still my red, white and maple syrup heart! Seriously though, this is one of the best dystopian YA novels I have read in a good long while, and this is one series I will be following to the end.
Title: Zero Repeat Forever
Author: G. S. Prendergast
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Expected Publication Date: 29 August, 2017
Genre: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Teens & YA
Themes: Friendship, Dystopian Futures, Aliens, Survival
My Rating: 5/ 5
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…
I’ll start this review by getting my Canadian fan-girl antics out of the way once and for all, and then hopefully I can be a little bit more serious.
It was a wonderful feeling to read a book that not only featured Canadian cities and landmarks, but one that was written by an author that obviously knew these landmarks well enough to make fun of them. Like calling Banff the touristy ‘whatchacallit’ and calling the Saddledome a stadium – a joke not lost on Calgarians who will insist that it is not a stadium but an arena. And I’m not sure if it was meant to be a joke, but suggesting that one might walk from the Saddledome to the edge of town in half an hour, one hour tops – HA! Not even in a vehicle on clear roads with top speed limits could that be managed with our creeping urban sprawl issues. But the best little Canadianism slipped in there (aside from Raven calling out August’s constant apologizing), the inclusion of Alberta’s super-awesome Cold War bomb bunkers in the Rockies. Yep – they’re real! And yep, this blogger may have spent a few teenaged delinquent weekends in these tunnels whilst her parents thought she was camping! #sorrynotsorry
But on to the real meat and potatoes of the book. It was so dang good. I loved the alternating perspectives between Raven and August, especially as August’s segments tended to give away bit by bit where the story was going and why. I enjoyed his self deprecating humour, the knowledge that he was fundamentally flawed, and his determination to not let his origins dominate the course of his future. Through Raven I really got a sense of talking stock of life, and acknowledging what’s really important when you’re facing the end of the world. I was immediately and immensely sympathetic towards both characters, and I never thought that I would say that about any character that was an invading zombie-alien.
Lets also touch on the insane amount of diversity in the book. When it comes to ethnicity nearly the whole gambit is represented, and not in the diversity-gets-you-dead way that I’m used to seeing. And, a big shout out for including recognition of our First Nations and Metis communities and a sneaky discussion on the language that is often used to discuss them – way to call out negativity and discrimination in a firm yet gentle way! Along with ethnicity we also see diversity in abilities, character qualities, and sexual orientation and it never seems forced. Without a doubt this is one of the most diverse and inclusive novels that I have read in long time.
As the start to a new series, I have to say that this is an excellent foundation. There are so many plot lines that can be followed, all of the characters have been flushed out in ways that make them realistic and give them depth, and there are so many routes that will lead to some exciting future novels. And what about that ending?! I was floored. Absolutely floored! I wanted the next book right away, and the wait for it to come out is going to be absolutely painful.
Would I recommend this book, a hands down yes! It will come with the warning though that it might not be ideal for younger or more immature readers as it is rife with sex, drugs, and profanity (and I like it that way!). The important thing to note on this one is that these elements are all age appropriate for both the characters represented and the intended audience. For those looking for a fun read and series to get hyped up about, this is it. And for those looking to build out their YA collection AND get a little bit of Canadian content on the shelves, don’t shy away as this baby is worth it’s weight in gold.