Prendergast’s Zero Repeat Forever is an enticing science fiction novel centering about an invasion of Earth by these alien creatures dubbed the Nahx.
Raven and a group of other minor delinquents were preparing to be camp counselors for a summer camp when the invasion happened. Now, they’re stuck in the middle of nowhere with sparse reports of what’s happening in the world.
After the death of Raven’s boyfriend, Tucker, the group of people at the summer camp decide to venture out and see if they can find other survivors.
The short reports they do have of the invasion show gun-equipped figures that are hard to kill with their bulletproof armor. The darts they shoot at the civilians preserve them in a twisted way, leaking an oily substance through their veins and leaving them as they were.
No one knows why the aliens are here and who they are.
Eighth is one of them. All he knows are his directives to dart the humans and leave them where they fall. When his partner, Sixth, is killed, Eighth is left unsure of what to do. He starts to think for himself and go rogue, which is dangerous for him and the other Nahx.
The lives of Raven and Eighth intertwine into one thrilling, science-fiction novel that will keep you on the edge of your seats as you discover who these mysterious invaders are and what they want.
Here’s the official summary:
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…
Let me start off by saying that this isn’t Jennifer L. Armentrout’s The Lux Series where Mary Sue’s going to get it on with some hot alien neighbor who treats her badly.
No, this is a fast-paced, death-heavy, you’re-about-to-die thriller as life on Earth may or may not end.
Frankly, it’s all kinds of awesome.
It’s like an apocalyptic, mystery, sci-fi, romantic adventure. Zero Repeat Forever is a mashup of all sorts of genres, which makes the entire plot even more complex.
There are so many things going on at once, but it’s not overwhelming.
Raven’s love life is one subplot as her boyfriend, Tucker, dies and his twin brother Topher spills some tea about his brother & complicates things. Not to mention the dependency she eventually has for Eighth later on in the novel when she’s injured, as stated in the summary.
And this stuff with the Nahx–who are they? what are they? what do they want? The information Raven & her friends have of them is barely anything except that they’re very hard to kill unless you hit that perfect spot in the chink of their armor near their neck.
Eight’s narrative (there’s an alternating POV) gives us more clues about the Nahx and helps decrease repetition in this already long book, but the mystery behind the Nahx is still prominent until the very end–and we still don’t know everything.
And as all this happens, running for your life is added on top as Raven & her friends trek through Montana so some of them hopefully make it to civilization.
The plot is super engaging and I never felt bored when reading it. There was always something there to occupy the reader, and the fast paced narrative helped move things along.
The twists in the plot were pure genius and they were all adequately foreshadowed so I didn’t feel like it was a curveball that made no sense with the premise of the novel.
And the Nahx are such complex creatures–they can’t speak and communicate with sign language, which was executed wonderfully. The title makes a lot more sense once you read the book & understand the communication system. The characters of the Nahx seem very well developed and there’s still so much Prendergast hasn’t told us!
In all honesty, I didn’t like Raven at first. Maybe it’s the goody goody side of me, but she came off as irrational in the first hundred pages. But there’s a specific point in the novel where my view on her switched and I started liking her a lot more. Here’s the direct quote:
“What are we doing?” I ask her.
“Making peace,” she says. . . . She’s just a girl like me, I think. She has a family too, all the way in Australia.
This was the turning point for my view on Raven. The girl Raven talks to is someone who was involved with her ex-boyfriend. The fact that she doesn’t overreact & start some girl on girl hate at the worst moment possible, oh, I don’t know, like when they’re an inch away from death, made me like her a whole lot more.
I didn’t have very much faith in Raven before this, but after this moment when she made peace with a girl 80% of other female main protagonists would have grown a burning vendetta against, my views on her shifted.
From there on, she became more bearable to read about. Maybe it was the lingering of Tucker’s influence that made her less likeable for me, but eventually she got a grip on the situation and became a strong female YA protagonist.
Her complexities grew throughout the novel and she became more and more relatable for me to read.
Eighth, the male main protagonist, is another layered character. It’s always interesting to see those blank slate characters, because you never really know how they’ll turn out.
In this case, Eighth is realistic for what I’d imagine a blank slate character in his position to be like–lost because his leader is gone. Eighth has a lot of self-hatred at times & uses Raven later on in the book as almost a way to ground himself.
I think his character is very interesting, although he wasn’t very dynamic throughout this novel besides the basics. I saw him more as a plot device to help the reader more than anything else. Hopefully we’ll see more changes in him in the second novel!
The romance between Eighth and Raven is very light–if anything. It’s always weird to see the dynamics between characters with (co)dependency as Raven is injured and dependent on Eighth for survival and Eighth uses Raven as a way to ground himself.
There were no steamy scenes or anything and I liked how the romance was barely there because it would have been very rushed and insta-love. I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen between them, but I liked their dynamic together in this novel.
Raven obviously has a very large hatred against Eighth and the Nahx, so it definitely causes ripples in their connection.
Even though there weren’t any sex scenes, there are a lot of more mature topics involved in this novel, i.e. drinking, drugs, and mentions of sex. I would suggest a more mature audience as this novel can get a little violent as well.
One of the biggest ups about this novel was how Raven is biracial.
I almost had a hallelujah moment when I learned she was half Métis half white because main protagonists of color is so rare in YA literature, although it’s definitely increasing.
Raven’s got darker skin and curly hair, and there is a really tiny subplot about her identity and her mixed race. I really liked seeing this aspect incorporated in because it helped break up the action so it wasn’t overloading the reader.
There are a ton more POC in this novel (some of which I can’t spoil!) which I found awesome to see.
I am so excited to read book 2 whenever it comes out and to find out more about the mysterious Nahx and what will happen to all the characters.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Prendergast’s Zero Repeat Forever, and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who likes action, adventure, science fiction, and even fantasy. It’s a fast paced, edge of your seat thriller that’s sure to make anyone fall in love.
Have you read Zero Repeat Forever? What did you think?