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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...
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Read an Excerpt
Zero Repeat Forever
There is a light floating above me. Nothing I recognize. I remember moving, so I try to move.
“Don’t move,” someone says, so I stop. “Do you know where you are?” I try to answer but find I can’t speak because there’s something in my mouth. I shake my head. I remember gestures and signs. Something about memorizing them and being tested on them. “Do you know who you are?” I search that part of my memory and find it a void. Not small, or undeveloped, but empty. Emptied. I shake my head again.
“Good,” the voice says. “Close your eyes.” I can’t remember ever choosing for myself, so I do as I’m told. The idea of obedience fills me, flowing through me like warm, viscous fluid. Obedience and anger, as though that’s all I’m made of.
“Eighth,” someone says. There’s another noise, like a hiss. “You’ll manage,” the first voice says. “He’ll learn from you.”
Behind my eyelids thoughts squirm around, jumbled and messy, out of order. I try to catch them, but they skitter into cracks and holes, like frightened animals.
“Try to relax,” the voice says. “It’s just residual neural impulses. It will go away.”
But what if I don’t want—
There’s a bright flash. And a noise like thunder. And everything shakes.
Her hands blur in front of my eyes.
What are your directives?
I only nod. I can’t answer. I’m holding my rifle with both hands.
The heel of her hand connects hard with my forehead, slamming me back against the metal wall behind me.
I nod. Nod. Nod.
Yes. Yes. Yes.
Dart each one. Leave them where they fall. Understand?
I know this anyway. The directives are humming in my mind like a swollen river churning over rocks.
You must obey.
I am obedience. I am malice. I grip my rifle tightly, fingers and hands absorbing the weight of it, the feel of the trigger, the faint vibrations.
Then I am running behind her, my hand on her shoulder, clanging over steel and stone as we’re consumed by heat and fire and noise. At first all I hear are weapons. Our precise ones and their brutal, noisy ones. But under that is another sound.
Screaming. They are screaming. I put my hands over my ears.
What are you doing?
I nod. Yes.
Stupid defective low rank mud for brains.
She drags me, pulling my hands away from my ears. Ahead of us on the road, emerging from the flames and smoke, a human vehicle appears. I fumble for my rifle, but she has already fired; the dart punctures the glass and the face of the driver. There’s a screech as the car swerves toward us, and I’m leaping for it, pushing it away into a high wall as she stands there, undaunted, her rifle still raised.
Break it, she signs with one hand, marching toward me.
I turn and drive my fists through the window of the door. Inside, small humans scream.
Dart them, she says.
They scream and scream. I can’t move.
I step back as she raises her rifle. Thunk. Thunk. Thunk.
The screaming stops. She drags me away before I can take a breath.
Follow me! Her hands slash through the air. Obey me!
We run between two high buildings, emerging into chaos. Hundreds of humans with guns and shields fire at our lines. Bullets bounce off my back as she leads me into the fray. Behind the humans with shields others are pushing and running, trying to get into a building. Our line breaks, and we follow a group that plows right through the shields and guns. The armed humans fall around us. One of them gets its fingers around her arm, pulling her rifle down. I grab the human by the neck and fling it away, watching it tumble into a heap with others.
Good, she says.
Her praise enlivens me. As the humans pour in through the door of the building, I leap up and tear open a window. She clambers ahead of me, and I dive after her, landing among the screaming humans as they scatter, desperately scrambling for exits. Her rifle whines as she darts them, one by one. When she stops, there are a dozen humans motionless on the floor.
Good, I say, though I feel dizzy and hot. I’m burning. I sway on my feet, reaching for her.
Think cold, she says.
Yes. I do what she says and feel my body cool down and my head clear. Malice is cold. Obedience is cold. I am cold.
There’s a huge noise outside, one of their crude weapons. The force of the explosion blows the remaining windows inward. Instinctively, I pull her under me, curling my back over her as the glass tinkles down around us. She shoves me away, stepping over bodies, and turns back to the door the humans came in.
Outside is smoke and flames. Those of our soldiers who don’t lie in pieces among the darted humans stagger to their feet. A transport swoops down, hovering over the carnage. She pulls me away from the transport, back along the ruined road. Over our heads a human aircraft explodes, raining debris. She worms away from me before I can shield her and stands with her arms out, defiant, her face turned to the explosion in the sky as burning embers drift down around us like . . .
Over the roar of our transport and the screams of fleeing humans I hear something else, a kind of whistle. A flash of light shoots past us and cracks into the side of a human car, shattering the windows. She takes one step toward the car before I can stop her.
Then I’m falling. Shards of metal careen at me before I land. My arm twists up to block one, another smacks into my face. I hit the ground hard and sink.
Obedience. Anger. I’m swimming in it. My insides twist and churn and thoughts scurry out of the holes in my mind.
Snow . . .
A sunset . . . the smell of . . .
It’s just residual neural impulses. Pain stomps on them, killing them.
I blink away the blood in my eyes. She’s hanging over me, kneeling by my head.
I try. The air is too thick. I’m choking. My head is open and everything is escaping. And I’m on fire.
Cold. Think cold. Obey.
Are you damaged? I sign with one hand. The other hand is not working.
No. Breathe again.
I obey. Each breath is like a flaming knife. I turn my head to the side and let my thoughts drip out. I’m forgetting everything. I’ve forgotten how to hold on to thoughts. I put my good hand over the hole in my head to try . . .
Stop. Be still.
She touches my face. Her hand is warm and firm. You will live, she signs. Keep breathing.
The agony of the next breath erases everything.
My eyes snap open in the dark. The battle is over. We are alone now in the building with the darted humans. Silver moonlight through the broken window outlines her as she moves.
You scared me, Eighth, she says. I thought you would die.
That makes me feel so happy that the pain becomes meaningless.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
An amazing read, thrilling from start to finish, had a genuine depth to it that really connected you with the characters.
Cool read! Lots of twists and turns
First Impressions I remember hearing about this book when it came out, but I pushed it aside. Then this past August I was at the bookstore and saw Zero Repeat Forever on the shelf. I picked it up because the cover was pretty and realized that the plot was exactly what I like. It's basically the plot of a Paranormal Romance except it's sci-fi. While I was excited about the plot, the romance was what dragged me in. Characters There are two main characters in Zero Repeat Forever. One character changes names partway through the book, so I will use the name used in the first half. The two protagonists are Raven and Eighth. Raven takes up more of the story since she's the only one that's truly able to think for herself. Raven is a troubled teen who's at summer camp when the alien invasion begins. Eighth is one of the aliens, or Nahx, that is doing the invading. They spend the first part of the book separate from each other, but you can tell that they are in a relatively close area of each other. From the moment I met the two characters I super shipped them. They begin their interactions hating each other, but I just wanted to stick their faces together and say 'kiss'. I liked the slow-burn aspect of the romance though, and I can't wait to see it come to fruition in the sequel Cold Falling White. World Building Zero Repeat Forever takes place in our world, but at times you wouldn't be able to tell. Also, it takes place in Canada instead of in the US like many YA books. The books are set in the Rocky Mountains, which becomes important to the plot partway through. It was interesting to see how the aspects of survival changed in a rural mountain landscape vs the cityscape we often see. There's also the world building of the Nahx invasion itself. From the beginning I had a prediction about a few of the aspects of the world, and I was more or less proved right by the end. That said, these haven't been developed much, so I can't wait to see what happens with them in book two.
When the apocalypse comes and the invading Nahx destroy civilization, Raven struggles to survive with her friends in a world that’s slowly burning. A dark and lonely sci-fi story, Zero Repeat Forever was enthralling—but also a little disappointing. I will 100% admit that I was drawn to Zero Repeat Forever by its shiny cover. It’s just so pretty. Take a minute to really cherish it. Now back to this story. On my list of favorite genres, Sci-fi trails somewhere in the middle of the list; it’s not my favorite, but I don’t dislike it. I find it hard to get into, most of the time. Zero Repeat Forever was half sci-fi, half apocalypse story. I couldn’t even call it a dystopia, since that would mean there was some sort of societal order to the setting, but there was just death and invasion. I was intrigued by the dual POVs of the story, one of Raven, a human girl lost in the wilderness with some camping friends, trying to survive after the aliens invade, and the other was Eighth, a Nahx boy who’s “defective” and rebels against his people. The survival plot was intense and definitely the reason I kept reading, but for most of the books, as the characters are traveling to and from certain points, not much happens. As my good friend J.M. Tuckerman likes to put it, “a whole heck of a lot of nothing happens. Twice.” My biggest gripe with the story was that we didn’t even really get a sense of what the Nahx were doing, even though half of the book is written in one of their perspectives. We don’t know where they really came from, what they were doing on Earth and what their goals were. And I understand not knowing what the characters don’t know, but little hints dropped from Eighth’s perspective, just little bits and pieces we could try to put together would have made the story that much better. All in all, I enjoyed the book, but the ending was ultimately unsatisfying. Had we known more about what the Nahx were up to and how their process worked, the ending might have had a bit more weight to it. I won’t spoil anything, but I felt like the ending was too abrupt and it’s obvious it’s supposed to be setting up a sequel—but I would have liked at least some loose ends wrapped up, or certain things revealed.
I really wanted to like “Zero Repeat Forever.” It has so much that I love: aliens, survivalism, nightmare-inducing scenarios. Unfortunately, it fell very flat. The chapters featuring Raven seemed to drag on in an effort to make the “forever” in the title seem literal. I also did not find her character likable at all. The only redeeming parts of the book were Eighth and diversity. I can’t recommend it to even the biggest of alien invasion fans. This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.
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. *Disclaimer: 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.
pooled ink Reviews: Maybe 2.5 Stars This story idea was really good (and definitely for 5TH WAVE fans) but the execution didn't win me over. 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 think my biggest issue was that I didn’t really connect with any of the characters. I mean, it takes at least half the book before you get to spend any real time with Eighth and I couldn't stand Raven. I don’t think this was a terrible book, it just wasn't for me. 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. *Read my FULL review on my Wordpress site: Pooled Ink
You'll see this book compared to Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave - and that's more along the lines of what I was expecting. But Zero Repeat Forever quickly set itself apart from the standard 'alien invasion' novel. Raven comes from a troubled past and for most of the book, I struggled with liking her, but by the end of the story, she's undergone quite a metamorphosis, maturing and seeing the world and people in different ways, understanding that things aren't always as they seem. On the other hand, Eighth, an alien programmed to kill humans, is lethal, conflicted, defective - and immediately wormed his way into my heart. Such outstanding character development. Even with a variable pace, this didn't feel like a 500 page book, and I would have loved to read it straight through. I guessed early on about a reveal at the end, but many questions are left unanswered, especially regarding the Nahx and their motives, which can be frustrating for a reader. It takes a lot to stir my emotions, but Zero Repeat Forever succeeded, and I most definitely plan on continuing with this series. A wonderful blend of introspection and action with a strong emotional component - highly recommend. This book will stick with you long after finishing the last page. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the digital ARC.