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Zero Day (The Hatching #3) by Ezekiel Boone (Review) @Gollancz @ezekiel_boone #Arachnid #Apocalypse #Finale #Review

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Sent to me by Gollancz in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: 01/03/18

Publisher: Gollancz

ISBN: 978-1473215238

Format: Trade Paperback, 336pp

Genre: Thriller/Horror/SF

Rating: 4/5

Summed up in a word: Pandemonium

First Impressions

The Hatching was one of the first books I had sent to me for review at the start of my time as a blogger. I feel like this review has brought me full circle and I am now starting a new stage of my blogging quest, not unlike the shredding of an exoskeleton that the spiders in this novel do to evolve themselves… If you hate spiders then you are going to want to avoid this series… Anyone who has a mild aversion to spiders and above are going to get on really well with these novels and I highly recommend to get involved as Ezekiel Boone has a talent for writing apocalypse fiction that you just don’t get in TV and movies. Full review below.

Book Synopsis

The world is on the brink of apocalypse. Zero Day has come.

The only thing more terrifying than millions of spiders is the realization that those spiders work as one. But among the government, there is dissent: do we try to kill all of the spiders, or do we gamble on Professor Guyer’s theory that we need to kill only the queens?

For President Stephanie Pilgrim, it’s an easy answer. She’s gone as far as she can-more than two dozen American cities hit with tactical nukes, the country torn asunder – and the only answer is to believe in Professor Guyer. Unfortunately, Ben Broussard and the military men who follow him don’t agree, and Pilgrim, Guyer, and the loyal members of the government have to flee, leaving the question: what can be more dangerous, the spiders or ourselves?

My Review

Humanity is yet again reeling from another wave of spiders that have devastated the globe. With each wave comes a newer, deadlier version of the Hell Spiders and everyone scrambling to find a way of fighting back. After the USA unleashed a wave of nuclear war heads on key locations on their own soil, the President is under pressure to finish the job and level the whole country. Stephanie Pilgrim is unwilling to sacrifice her home just to win the war on arachnids and is focused on harnessing a technological or scientific approach to ridding the world of this insidious infestation. Soon the decision to use more nuclear weapons will be decided for The President so time is in incredibly short supply.

There is so much they don’t know about this seemingly undefeatable threat but patching together the information they do have from all over the globe gives them an idea of how to interrupt the monsters invasion over planet earth. Told from Ezekiel Boone’s classic worldwide view, Zero Day follows humankind’s last efforts to defeat the eight legged invaders who have devastated our world. As the story unfolds it becomes difficult to decide whether it is the spiders or ourselves who are the biggest threat to humanity and it is a striking reminder of what nature and the people who hold all the power are truly capable of. Zero Day isn’t really meant to read as a standalone so I would recommend getting familiar with The Hatching and Skitter first before jumping in here.

I thought the many alternative perspectives on the chaos made for an interesting read. There is no one hero in this novel. Instead it is told from multiple views from military, political and sociological to scientific, the people on the streets and, most eerily, from the spiders themselves. I thought that Ezekiel Boone choosing to adopt a world view for this invasion was a smart move and it generated a depth of detail and tension that a movie just couldn’t achieve. There are many individual stories that take place within this series and I found it easy to invest in several of plot lines as they create a vivid and conceivable depiction of what would happen in a true worldwide invasion. Zero Day has a well thought-out plot that relies on nature and the chaos of humanity, two things we have in abundance.

Some of the stories are vital to the progression of the novel such as President Pilgrim’s fight against both spiders and power hungry men. I wonder how ‘true to life’ some of the procedures that EB uncovers within this novel are. I also enjoyed Kim, Gordo and Shotgun’s story thread, developing technology to defeat the spiders and planning an excursion into a Queen’s nest. It is narratives like this that make Zero Day and the other novels worth reading. There are plenty of stories that don’t really go anywhere but do provide insights into how the world would react to an global invasion. From cop Mike and his dealings with the good and bad people of this post apocalyptic humanity to Prophet Bobby and how easy it is to dip into religion as a form of salvation.

Some of the episodes and short and sweet giving the reader a tiny insight into a different view or circumstance. I honestly don’t think there is a plot that is out of place or unnecessary as EB has been trying to create an immersive and all encompassing apocalyptic tale from the very beginning. I was impressed and kind of moved by EB’s approach to the characters. There are those who want to survive at any cost, those who never had a chance, those who want to sacrifice themselves for the cause and those who don’t want to see the world that will be left in the spiders wake.

Ezekeil Boone’s writing is a brilliant balance of human survival and eerie, and outright disgusting, imagery. He manages to cultivate an underlying tension as well as several in-your-face chilling moments too. It goes without saying that people who fear spiders should stay clear of this series (unless you can cope with it until the spider bashing begins). The only real issue with EB’s writing in Zero Day is that the tension, in my opinion, is spread too thin and bunched up at the end. I would have preferred a more consistently tense finale with an explosive ending. EB definitely got the various endings spot-on but the distribution of the spiders presence is, to me, a tad off.

Speaking of spiders, I was impressed with how invested EB was with his threat. I appreciated the details, scientific insights and explanations that explored what was going on with the spiders as it provided a superb cringe factor to the narrative. I was fascinated by the rapid evolution of the spiders and how they swiftly overcome their biological deficiencies. EB also included plenty of little mysteries within the plot that I kept coming back to and trying to figure out, mysteries like why the spiders are quite happy to devour or capture most of us but leave 1 out of 10 people completely unscathed. It appealed me to a mystery lover as well as a science-fiction reader and a thriller enthusiast.

I do have a few issues with the plot within Zero Day, especially within the first act. The story was a lot more bunker-based than I would have wanted. I know that sounds weird in an apocalyptic novel but what I loved about the last two novels was the fact that all the characters were in the thick of it. The world, and by extension the narrative, seemed to be dazed by the second wave of spiders and it took time for EB to reignite the flame that makes this series immensely readable. Thankfully Ezekiel Boone added the human threats into the equation and from the second act onwards threw everyone back into the pandemonium.

There is an impressive amount of themes and subtext explored in this series that you can tuck into if you have the time. The never-ending battle for power even when there are wars raging on around those who are stabbing each-other in the back. The cripplingly hard decisions that world leaders have to make at the drop of a hat to preserve our fates. How transportation has allowed seen and unseen threats spread across the globe farther than ever before. What nature is truly capable of regardless of humanity’s existence on this planet. How would we react as human beings, friends, family, servants, fighters, leaders, nations, cultures and religions in the face of a real world threat to our existence. I think Ezekiel Boone has done a pretty good job at depicting such events while also writing a skin-crawling (some of the imagery is out-right horrific) and thrilling end-of-the-world novel.

Overall I highly recommend Zero Day to readers who enjoy post-apocalyptic thrillers that explore interesting threats and how we as a species are planning to deal with such an event. Yes, Spiders are creepy as hell, but so are plenty of humans so I don’t think any fear of the eight-legged critters should stop you from reading this series. I have no idea where Ezekiel Boone is going to take writing next but I am sure it is going to be just as good as the Hatching series and I am eagerly awaiting its arrival.

Pick up a copy of Zero Day here: Gollancz / Amazon UK / Goodreads

About Ezekiel Boone

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Ezekiel Boone was born in Canada but lives in Ithaca, New York, with his wife and children. The internationally bestselling THE HATCHING series (THE HATCHING, SKITTER, and ZERO DAY) has sold in twelve countries and nine languages, and has been optioned for the screen. THE MANSION, Ezekiel Boone’s fourth novel, is out October 2018. When not writing thrillers, Zeke writes acclaimed literary fiction under the name Alexi Zentner. Along with a healthy respect for spiders, Zeke has two poorly behaved dogs and enjoys the outdoors.

9 thoughts on “Zero Day (The Hatching #3) by Ezekiel Boone (Review) @Gollancz @ezekiel_boone #Arachnid #Apocalypse #Finale #Review

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