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Zero World: A Novel Kindle Edition
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“An enjoyable read . . . Expect minor whiplash from the frenetic pace.”—Entertainment Weekly
“[A] science fiction [novel that] smashes The Bourne Identity together with The End of Eternity to create a thrilling action rampage that confirms [Jason] Hough as an important new voice in genre fiction.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“No one has created a multiverse like Jason Hough does in Zero World. Imagine Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind meets James Bond.”—New York Journal of Books
“A fast-paced cinematic novel full of action . . . Story, character, world building, action—all points are firing on all cylinders here.”—Bookreporter
“A fast, furious powder keg of a novel . . . Hough pulls off a complex science fiction thriller, keeping the reader guessing about the good guys and the bad guys. . . . This is a smash hit. Loved it.”—Examiner.com
“Hough has combined all the ingredients of a first-rate sci-fi thriller.”—Kirkus Reviews
“One hell of an entertaining read. Hough continues to deliver white-knuckle books anchored by unusual and fascinating characters. Zero World is a giant cup of pure badassery that secures his place among the finest sci-fi action writers today.”—Kevin Hearne, New York Times bestselling author of the Iron Druid Chronicles
“A high-octane blend of science fiction and mystery, Zero World is a thrill ride that shoots you out of a cannon and doesn’t let up until the very last page.”—Wesley Chu, author of the Tao Series
“Warning: Do not pick up this book if there is anything else you need to do. There is no safe place to rest inside these pages, no lag in the full-throttle action, no moment when you will think, ‘Okay, this is a good spot to take a break.’ Once you realize how much you don’t know—about this world, these characters, this inexplicable mission—the only way out is forward.”—Brian Staveley, author of the Emperor’s Blades series
“I just finished Zero World and there’s only one thing I need to know: How long must I wait for the sequel!?”—Raymond Benson, former James Bond novelist and author of the Black Stiletto series
“A brilliant combination of spy thriller, cold-case mystery, and hard sci-fi tale, Zero World is a smart, action-packed thrill ride of a book. Jason Hough is redefining storytelling with his new novel.”—Ted Kosmatka, author of The Flicker Men
“Zero World deftly blends the best elements of sci-fi and spy thriller with blistering action and a depth that unfolds itself in surprising ways. Hough is a master.”—Jay Posey, author of the Duskwalker series
“Fast, fun, and full of action, Zero World melds a spy thriller with science fiction to excellent effect. If you’ve ever wished Jason Bourne would tackle a mission involving wormholes and mirror worlds, this is the book for you.”—Courtney Schafer, author of the Shattered Sigil trilogy
“Electrifying and addictive, Zero World is a page-turning sci-fi thriller that had my pulse pounding.”—Adam Christopher, author of Made to Kill
About the Author
- ASIN : B00RKO3UEW
- Publisher : Del Rey (August 18, 2015)
- Publication date : August 18, 2015
- Language : English
- File size : 5041 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 592 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #505,596 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I was very excited to dig into Zero World after having read his previous trilogy that started with Darwin's Elevator. Like his previous works, Jason demonstrates in Zero World a talent for steady, thoughtful character development, building a suspenseful story arc (usually several interlinked), and punctuating it all with quick action scenes that don't drag down the plot.
I read it with absolutely no knowledge of the storyline and came away delighted -- and eager for more (semi-spoiler, the story leaves the reader with threads continuing onto much bigger story, presumably over a couple of books). Plenty of other reviewers provide a decent enough plot synopsis, so I'll offer some comparisons instead:
Zero World has the basic plot of Vernor Venge's "Tatja Grimm's World" (with a better twist and a better ending) combined with both the commando-level action scenes and the solid character development of John Scalzi's "Old Man's War" (or maybe more like "Ghost Brigade"). Despite the comparisons, Zero World is it's own book. The character's motivations, for me, were completely reasonable and the main protagonists had moments of fear and concern yet they maintained composure in crazy situations. Many sci-fi action stories that I've read seem to degrade down to either "who has the biggest guns" contest or "the antagonist has an unbidden epiphany or undisclosed skill that saves the day". Boring! Hough does a great job at foreshadowing enough that everything that comes up seems reasonable. Early into the book, you know the characters well enough. They aren't complex, but they are complete and consistent. Important for me, they are allowed to change their minds as the plot throws new information at them.
Overall Zero World is a light read -- this plot does not plumb the depths of any major social issues or high-level sci-fi concepts, though Hough does a great job at imagining a world where many of our current social issues (racism, misogyny, etc) are better managed than in the real world and the tech tools and weapons he describes for his characters to use are completely acceptable and interesting.
My one pique with the book is perhaps a stylistic thing. A couple of times while reading, I had to backtrack to make sure I didn't miss something when, apparently, there was a sudden and inexplicable shift in either the scenery or the time of day, or both. Weird enough to notice, not bad enough to affect the story line. I feel like the problem is more in the editing; in many books, such mid-chapter jumps are usually indicated by some icon or other visual break. Not so here in Zero World.
That little problem was just enough for me to ponder the difference between 4 or 5 stars. I went with 5 because the story simply delighted me so much. I loved the plot twist in the middle of the book (because suddenly a whole new set of plot arcs opened) and I especially loved both the main protagonists. The bond they form during their encounters starts out contrived -- because hey, sci-fi novel -- but ends up being endearing and the perspective they provide to give the reader a real sense of the world(s) was nicely done. Well done, overall, so 5 stars.
On the one hand, it's was a very good story. Interesting, engaging and exciting.
On the other hand, it's shot through with little plot logic errors like the author lost track of items they had in play. The first example of this you may stumble upon is the heroine's "backpurse." When she dressed up to go to the party, she opted to leave it behind because it was too big and cumbersome... opting instead for a small handbag. But then, when she's trying to complete her mission... she suddenly loses her backpurse in the water... despite not having it with her. LOL There are multiple instances of continuity problems like that spread throughout the story. It made me a little bonkers... and it's the only thing stopping me from giving this novel 4 stars.
I'm going to say again that the story was very good though, and I do intend to go forward with the other books in the series. So if knowing that helps you make a decision... there it is. :)
I loved this book. I stayed up far too late reading it on several days. It’s well worth owning and enjoying. It’s a very different take on parallel universes, and it reads like several books with different topics (cyberpunk assassin on mission, space exploration maybe first contact, parallel world, and clandestine spy novel) all at once- mixed together excellently.
My lone quibble is that it ended too soon. At 77% read, it ended, and the rest was bonus materiel.
Please write another!!
Top reviews from other countries
Protagonist Peter Caswell is the forgetful assassin charged with tracking down and eliminating Alice Vale, who fled a weapons research spaceship with all of Earth’s technological knowhow and escaped into a parallel universe, because, Caswell is told, she wants to play God to the other Earth’s inhabitants, who suffered an extinction event and are in the midst of their own Cold War.
Zero World is unrepentant in its set pieces, with Caswell, who meets up with purple eyed Southern spy Melni Tavan, murdering anyone who gets in his way. He doesn’t pick sides but picks off henchman of both the Northern and Southern factions as he and Tavan, who wants to kidnap Vale so her side can learn of the inventions she has gifted the North, leap from trains, take down airships and beat many a guard to death. It’s at times unbearably brutal, but Hough doesn’t hang around, eager to move on to the next violent escape, and ramp up the body count.
The sheer level of action makes Zero World repetitive at times and the story fails to move forward on numerous occasions. Add to this a transparent twist, over teased too early in the story, and the novel struggles to grip when it isn’t gunning down foes. But a novel twist on the parallel dimension story means that linguistic differences and local food keep the protagonists’ feet grounded when they’re not dismantling hordes of assassins.
The finale promises sequels and reveals a larger plot at play that suggests Hough will move further into spy territory and away from assassins and murder-by-numbers. There are other worlds to explore, offshoots of humanity to kill and different political environments to deconstruct and spy on, so here’s hoping that Hough embraces a bit more of the spy in him, and considers his lust for murder satisfied.
Worth noting that the Kindle edition (at least the one I got) only takes up about 3 quarters of the book, which made the abrupt ending even worse and confusing as I thought I still had about a quarter of the book to go (this is actually taken up by the Dire Earth novella, which I admit was a pleasant surprise).
Car voyez-vous, chacune des missions de Peter Caswell est sa première ! Car un compte-à-rebours vient effacer toute mémoire de ses missions.
Sa seule tâche consiste à s'entraîner pour cette première mission.
Peter Caswell est donc l'arme absolue, une arme braquée par quelqu'un d'autre, une arme qui ne s'enrayera jamais car sans culpabilité et volontairement denuée d'esprit critique.
Nous suivons donc une mission de Peter dans laquelle il doit infiltrer un vaisseau de secours qui doit récupérer une lointaine épave disparue des radars depuis 12 ans.
Nous assistons à ses premiers crimes, tout frais, il se console en se disant qu'il aura bientôt tout oublié. J'aime bien l'idée. Sauf que ce Thriller SF se transforme rapidement en SF tout court lorsque les maîtres de Peter modifient les conditions de sa mission en l'envoient ... ailleurs pour assassiner une scientifique en train de faire évoluer à toute vitesse une culture scientifiquement en retard par rapport à nous.
Je ne rentre pas dans les détails, disons que Peter se retrouvera dans une culture dont il ignore tout, où son physique le dénonce et où eau et nourriture disponible lui sont inassimilables.
J'ai trouvé la réalisation de ce monde étonnamment bien faite puisque notre héros s'y trahira de multiples fois, ne serait-ce que par ses expressions inhabituelles, ses références inconnues là-bas, jusqu'à sa façon d'honorer les morts ou de taper trois fois à la porte (signe de mort).
Par contre je m'y suis régulièrement ennuyé, j'ai également été régulièrement gêné par des incohérences et ce qui m'a fait lâcher l'affaire c'est le long info-dump vers le milieu du livre où nous apprenons d'un seul coup la réalité vertigineuse de la situation de la Terre ...
Pire, cette longue justification est parfois vraiment absurde.
C'est dommage, les belles constructions d'Univers ne sont pas si fréquentes !
There were a few spots in the book
Where I had to suspend my belief
System the action sequences were
Interesting and Melni was a great
I would definitely buy book two