This review is as full of spoilers as the internet is full of pirated-music. And the entire universe, apparently. Anyway, spoilers abound! Beware…

Recommendation:¬†Grade B-, recommend it on the caveat that you don’t take it too seriously. This is fun, ironic scifi that is exciting, but not a thriller. You’ll get a kick out of it, especially if you grew up during the ipod/itunes generation of music.

Year Zero, by Rob Reid

I have mixed feelings on this book. It was an enjoyable read. The characters, both human and alien, were a ton of fun. Even ones that bored/annoyed me at the beginning like Polly and Pugwash, made me laugh at the end. The book is chock-full of inside jokes and ironies that will keep you smirking. I rarely laughed out loud, but I did smirk constantly. (Though I may have laughed out loud when the pluhhs went catatonic from fame. That was freaking hilarious!). I feel this is the perfect book for those of us who grew up in the 90s. The music references will make much more sense.

The concept of the novel is ridiculous to begin with, so you have to assume the solution will be equally as ridiculous. The fact that alien societies revolve around our music was corny, as was the reveal that Carly and Frampton were reality stars, not legal agents or diplomats. The evil alien plot was the one thing that did make sense — if all your money was frozen and society was on the bring of collapse, why not kill off the society responsible?

Amid its corniness (which I think may be better described as tongue-in-cheek), this book was an adventure when it wasn’t on Earth. I was thrilled by the adventures on the other planets, especially the visit to the pluhhs (not Pluhhs) and the Guardian homeworlds. I loved learning about all of these cultures. Reid’s world-building is exquisite, and I marvel at the detail he provides. Given the humorous tone of the book, it was an unexpected surprise.

My only real complaint was that I got bored towards the last 2-3 chapters. Back on Earth, it wasn’t as entertaining. It was never an amazing page-turner, but I’m glad I finished, because I enjoyed it. I would recommend it, with the warning that if you get bored, just keep reading, because it will pick up. Not for the hardcore sci-fi fan, or someone who wants a serious thriller. If you have a good sense of humor, I think you’ll enjoy it. I recommend at Grade C.


Confused by my grading scale, click here to find out how the grades relate to star-ratings you’re more used to seeing.