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Zero World by Jason M. Hough
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Zero World

by Jason M. Hough

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Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
Very enjoyable. ( )
  josh513 | Feb 3, 2018 |
I liked the concept of this novel but would have enjoyed it a lot more without all the detailed descriptions of fighting. Felt like it was written for a movie. Skipped many paragraph/pages to move the story along. ( )
  andsoitgoes | Jun 2, 2017 |
Zero World is pretty much the ultimate sci-fi/spy intrigue novel hybrid. In a technologically advanced future, Peter Caswell is an assassin for hire... with a twist. After each job is complete, his mind is reset to before the job even took place, leaving him with no recollection or memories of the assassination or the events surrounding (although plenty of scars to show for it). Living in a plush apartment in Hyde Park, Caswell is not really close with anyone, living a pretty isolated life of solitude. Caswells next mission must be high priority because he is offered triple pay and four weeks vacation if he signs on. A previously thought lost spaceship has been found adrift in space, crew dead, except one. Caswell is to find and dispose the missing rouge crew member. This mission takes him through a rip in space and time to what appears to be Earths twin. With the help of a native, Melni, Caswell must make his way undetected in this world to complete his mission and along the way makes frightening and life changing discoveries about the corporation for which he works, and the universe as a whole.
I can't sing the praises of this book enough. Not only was the whole concept so well thought out and interesting, but the writing was intense and the plot action packed. There was seriously not one dull moment. Everything had me tense and my mind was blown by more than one revelation throughout the course of the book. I love Hough's attention to detail in his writing, the futuristic world he brings to the reader is so alive and believable I was almost taken aback when I set the book down and came back to my reality and realized I wasn't inside that universe. He's that good people. I really enjoyed how Caswell and Melnis stories intertwined and I was left absolutely wanting more at the end of the novel. I hope this is one of a planned series, I need more! ( )
  courtneygiraldo | Sep 4, 2016 |
I received this from Netgalley (a LONG time ago!) in exchange for an honest review.

This one started out strong, but fell off after the halfway point for me, and I struggled to finish it.

Peter Caswell is an assassin sent to a planet in an alternate dubbed "Duplo" because of its similarities to our Earth. Traveling in a spaceship with pre-programmed destination and return routes, Caswell is only told what his handler thinks he needs to know to carry out his mission: who the target is and a general idea of the potential difficulties and challenges. Caswell's body has been enhanced with sophisticated technological devices: implants that can temporarily increase his hearing and fighting capabilities or make him forget anything connected to a previous mission, including the number of people he has killed.

In the first encounter with his target, Caswell meets a woman named Melni. These two central characters learn things that make them wary of each other, but the knowledge acquired about Earth and Duplo drives the novel’s world-building and introduces a major plot twist later on in the book. I did like Melni, a strong female character and an outstanding undercover operative, but I didn’t think it very realistic in the way she immediately trusted Caswell, which seemed really out of character for her. Speaking of Caswell, I was completely indifferent to his character. I just didn’t connect with him at all.

Just like the books to which is has been compared (The Bourne Series, James Bond, etc.), it is fast-paced and packed with violent scenes. There are a few shocking surprises that propel the plot in twists that didn’t really work, leading to a messy ending that left me quite dissatisfied. ( )
  ssimon2000 | May 31, 2016 |
A sci-fi spy thriller with the feel of an action movie.

'Zero World' starts off strong, introducing us to Peter Caswell, a spy and assassin. To do his job, he relies on an implant which allows his handler to 'erase' all the memories of his missions, assuring that guilt and doubt never catch up with him. He approaches each assignment as a freshly trained, gung-ho agent, confident that he'll never have to ask questions or face the moral consequences of his actions. All he knows is that so far, he's killed 206 people.

It's not a surprise to the reader that this mission might up that body count significantly. This assignment, Caswell is sent out into space to investigate a derelict spacecraft. He doesn't find out until he's there that his assignment is to track down the sole surviving crewmember, Alice Vale, who has somehow traveled through a 'Conduit' and discovered another world. Not all goes as expected, and soon Caswell finds himself having to reassess and improvise, teaming up with a local spy/agent, Melni, and getting involved with a whole new set of politics.

The book is primarily action-adventure, but it does a nice job setting out layers of plots and revelations in a way which gradually increases the scope of events and the increasing ramifications of what's at stake.

My biggest complaint is that the worldbuilding seemed a little lazy. There was no convincing explanation beyond some brief handwaving for the strange similarities between Earth and the newly-discovered world, and the differences don't make cultural sense [in that we never see how the society we're shown developed in the way it did through its history]. The differences amount to a few random vocabulary words and 'reversals' (Long hair is 'masculine', women are expected to take the social lead, the discriminated-against refugees are blonde and pale.)

There's also a character who shows up solely to give a big, long, important speech about critical background and events, before being eliminated from the book. The section feels extremely forced; like the author just couldn't think of any other way to reveal this information to the characters.

As a whole, though, I still found the book highly entertaining. There's room for a sequel - but it ends at a satisfying, conclusive juncture.

Many thanks to NetGalley and DelRey for the opportunity to read. As always, my opinions are solely my own.


( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553391267, Hardcover)

Published in rapid succession, Jason M. Hough’s first three novels, The Darwin Elevator, The Exodus Towers, and The Plague Forge, earned mountains of praise and comparisons to such authors as James S. A. Corey and John Scalzi. Now Hough returns with a riveting near-future spy thriller that combines the adrenaline of a high-octane James Bond adventure with mind-blowing sci-fi speculations worthy of Christopher Nolan’s Inception.
 
Technologically enhanced superspy Peter Caswell has been dispatched on a top-secret assignment unlike any he’s ever faced. A spaceship that vanished years ago has been found, along with the bodies of its murdered crew—save one. Peter’s mission is to find the missing crew member, who fled through what appears to be a tear in the fabric of space. Beyond this mysterious doorway lies an even more confounding reality: a world that seems to be Earth’s twin.
 
Peter discovers that this mirrored world is indeed different from his home, and far more dangerous. Cut off from all support, and with only days to complete his operation, Peter must track his quarry alone on an alien world. But he’s unprepared for what awaits on the planet’s surface, where his skills will be put to the ultimate test—and everything he knows about the universe will be challenged in ways he never could have imagined.

Includes the complete bonus novella The Dire Earth, a prequel to the bestselling sci-fi adventure The Darwin Elevator.
 
Advance praise for Zero World
 
“[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)
 
“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

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 10 Jul 2015 03:33:42 -0400)

How long must I wait for the sequel!?"--Raymond Benson, former James Bond novelist and author of the Black Stiletto series Praise for Jason M. Hough's The Darwin Elevator "A hell of a fun book."--James S.A. Corey, New York Times bestselling author of Abaddon's Gate "Hough's first novel combines the rapid-fire action and memorable characters associated with Joss Whedon's short-lived Firefly TV series with the accessibility and scientific acumen of [James S.A.] Corey's 'Expanse' series."--Library Journal (starred review) "The story unfolds with just the right balance of high adventure, espionage, humor, and emotional truth. As soon as you finish, you'll want more."--Analog "A debut novel unlike any other. This is something special. Something iconic. The Darwin Elevator is full of majesty and wonder, mystery and mayhem, colorful characters and insidious schemes."--SF Signal "Full of compelling characters and thick with tension, The Darwin Elevator delivers both despair and hope along with a gigantic dose of wonder. It's a brilliant debut, and from now on Hough can take my money whenever he writes anything."--Kevin Hearne, New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Druid Chronicles"--Technologically enhanced superspy Peter Caswell has been dispatched on a top-secret assignment unlike any he's ever faced. A spaceship that vanished years ago has been found, along with the bodies of its murdered crew - save one. Peter's mission is to find the missing crew member, who fled through what appears to be a tear in the fabric of space. Beyond this mysterious doorway lies an even more confounding reality: a world that seems to be Earth's twin. Peter discovers that this mirrored world is indeed different from his home and far more dangerous. Cut off from all support, and with only days to complete his operation, Peter must track his quarry alone on an alien world. But he's unprepared for what awaits on the planet's surface, where his skills will be put to the ultimate test - and everything he knows about the universe will be challenged in ways he never could have imagined.… (more)

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