Book Review: Zero Day by Ezekiel Boone

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

Zero Day by Ezekiel Boone

Mogsy’s Rating: 3 of 5 stars

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Series: Book 3 of The Hatching

Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books (February 27, 2018)

Length: 322 pages

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Zero Day closes out Ezekiel Boone’s The Hatching trilogy, bringing an end to the spider apocalypse—though it’s anyone’s guess which side will prevail. Since emerging from an ancient egg sac unearthed beneath Peru’s Nazca Lines, these eight-legged menaces have multiplied into the millions, swarming the globe and paralyzing all aspects of life. In the United States, President Stephanie Pilgrim has carried out the unthinkable, targeting dozens of American cities with tactical nukes, but still the threat remains. All it would take is one single spider to get past their guard, and thousands more people would die.

The time has come for a more permanent solution, and humanity’s last chance lies in a theory postulated by Dr. Melanie Guyer who believes all the spiders in the world are linked through their queens. Her hypothesis is simple: kill the queens, and without their leadership, the rest of the swarm should lose their ability to coordinate their movements and die.

However, not everyone close to the President agrees with this plan, claiming that it is too risky. More drastic measures are proposed to destroy all the spiders and not just the queens, creating a rift within the U.S. government. Meanwhile, those around the world who have managed to survive the initial waves of death are continuing to hunker down or fight, doing what they can to prevent the further spread of what has been dubbed the “Hell Spiders”.

I had a fun time with this novel, but I’m also not going to lie; I expected more from a finale. Like the two previous volumes, this final installment is told through a number of different perspectives, showing us how the spider apocalypse is unfolding around the world. That said, most of the main storyline is centered on the American East Coast, where President Pilgrim and her allies face opposition and eventual revolt from dissenters within her own cabinet. As a result, many of the other POVs are greatly diminished, leaving some of the characters with no role in the conflict resolution whatsoever.

Needless to say, I found this disappointing, especially since a few of the characters I’ve come to love were only briefly mentioned or were given perfunctory page time just to remind us that they were still around. In addition, many of the POV transitions felt awkward and ill-timed, almost like the author was struggling to find a balance, and not entirely succeeding. Instead of flowing smoothly, the narrative kept being disrupted or derailed by these frequent POV switches, some of which didn’t even feel all that necessary.

Still, these issues paled beside the one flaw I could not overlook: there simply weren’t enough spiders! This distinct lack of arachnid-fueled action, especially in the first half, was probably my biggest complaint, and unfortunately, not even the ending which saw the spiders return in full force could really make up for it. Recall in my review of Skitter, where I had praised Boone for upping the ante by making things bigger, better, and bloodier. Compared to its predecessor, however, this book felt like a giant step back. Too much of the story was focused on the human vs. human drama, when the attention should have been given to the spiders (which, in my opinion, are the real stars of the show).

For these reasons, I felt Zero Day really missed its mark in terms of offering a satisfying conclusion. Not only did it skimp on the spiders, the plot also failed to bring anything new to the table, falling back on time-worn clichés like the Hive Queen trope and the good old military coup. And yet, for all its faults, the book was a quick read and provided solid entertainment, which is what saved it from a lower rating. All things considered, it’s probably worth finishing the trilogy if you’ve already come this far, because you’ll want to find out how things end. But while I’m not sorry I read Zero Day, it’s just a shame that the series didn’t end as strongly as it started, and I personally felt it was the weakest of the three books.

More on The BiblioSanctum:
Review of The Hatching (Book 1)
Review of Skitter (Book 2)

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23 Comments on “Book Review: Zero Day by Ezekiel Boone

  1. It’s disappointing when a final book just doesn’t deliver what the reader was looking for. I hate that. I do hope to read the first book later this month when I get my reading mojo back!

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  2. While I’m trying not to shudder at your request for “more! spiders!” 😀 I understand how you might have been disappointed by the end of the trilogy: when an author builds such a scenario, the conclusion must be on the same level as the buildup, and from your review it seems this is not the case. And not giving enough space to all of the p.o.v. one created sounds like a poor choice, indeed….

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    • Haha, I’m not a big fan of spiders either, but you’d figure with spiders being the selling point of your series, you’d give your readers…well, spiders! It almost felt like the author ran out of ideas for this one…

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  3. Skitter was my favourite. I didn’t really love the first one – in fact I was probably a little less than positive about it, but the second was great and action packed, loads of spiders (which shivering aside is what I wanted/expected). I think I saw the third book on Edelweiss and requested a copy but never received a response (or maybe it was declined – can’t remember)- maybe that’s just as well, I’ll probably buy a copy at some point but my track record of reading my own books doesn’t bode well for ever finishing this trilogy and it does sound like it’s gone down a similar track to book 1 which I can’t deny puts me off a little. Shame, after the second I was hoping for a fantastic finale.
    Lynn 😀

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    • Yeah, I’m with you. In retrospect, Skitter was probably my favorite too, edging out The Hatching just by a little bit. It had the most action in it, as well as the most spiders. All the POVs also seemed to gather steam in the second book, it was like the installment where everything important happened. Also, I think that publisher now declines all requests on Edelweiss, because they want book bloggers specifically to request from NetGalley instead. At least that was the message I got when I was declined on Edel, and sure enough, when I went to NetGalley to check, I saw that it was a Read Now!

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  4. I’ve added this trilogy but will definitely be keeping your caveat in mind. Disappointing to hear that the author didn’t keep the focus on the spiders.
    I get enough political oriented crap just going online…

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    • Oh yeah! That also played a part in my annoyance. The political crap was over something really dumb and cliched too, like this military general guy who couldn’t deal with taking orders from a woman president, attempts a coup. Like, please. Be more original.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Too bad, I just hate when a series ender falls flat. I’m personally not interested in reading this series EVER (spider issues!) But I feel for you.

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  6. Shame this didn’t deliver as much as you were expecting- although imo there can never be too few spiders! (see this is why I haven’t picked up this series, though I’ve heard it was good) In all seriousness, if that’s what you were hoping for, then I can see why this would have been a bit of a letdown. Great review!

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  7. As much as I hate spiders, I’ve been so disappointed reading reviews and finding out the spider action is lacking. I thought the last book in particular was trying to build to a terrifying spider filled finale. 😦 I’m having a hard time motivating myself into reading it.

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    • Me too, and that was what I’d been expecting – a spider filled finale! Imagine my dismay to find that it was more about the human drama and political conflict :\ I know I’m not alone either, I saw several other reviews pointing out the disappointing lack of spiders.

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  8. “Spider apocalypse” and “ancient egg sac”…horror, indeed! Haha. I’m sorry to hear this was a disappointing series finale, and although I’d never ask for more spiders (god forbid), I can see how their relative absence would be a let down!

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  9. Pingback: Mogsy’s Bookshelf Roundup: Stacking the Shelves & Recent Reads | The BiblioSanctum

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