Title: Zero Repeat Forever
Author: G.S. Prendergast
Release Date: August 29, 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (Simon & Schuster imprint)
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
Zero Repeat Forever is haunting, a look at invasion and survival from two points of view. A look at what drives us forward, to protect, to survive, and what we'll do in order to stay alive. Who and what we'll listen to.
Eighth is lost and confused. Defective. Part of the sudden force that's overtaking parts of the planet and its population, he can't remember what came before. What he was before. All he knows is what the directives tell him. Dart the humans, leave them there, move on. But he can't shake the feeling that there's something else he should remember. His chapters are sparse and immediate. Almost lyrical. Like he's missing half of himself. He's lonely, searching for purpose. When he finds Raven, he thinks he's found it.
Raven is worried and determined, full of life and rage. She's focused, determined to stay alive and find her parents. She's furious, at herself and the choices she made before being sent away to the summer camp. At the Nahx for invading Earth, for killing her boyfriend. At the remaining humans who find a sick joy in posting videos of them killing the Nahx. At Eighth for finding her, saving her, following her. Her chapters are far more dense, more descriptive. She's human, she has all these human fears and worries, hopes and regrets. There's desperation running through her. She doesn't want to die.
There's something eerie and complicated about this book, about the story of Eighth and Raven. About the invasion of the Nahx and their purpose on Earth. At times this book reminded me of Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave and of Margaret Stohl's Icons with some Canadian attitudes and sensibilities. Of alien invasions and humanity not having any answers about reasons why, of secrets and survival. Considering how this ended, I'm so curious as to what the second book will hold, what might or might not be revealed. Who will still be around. I would recommend this to those looking for something different in their science fiction.
(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Simon & Schuster Canada.)