Book Review – Zero by J.S. Collyer

“A little faith wouldn’t go amiss, Commander.”

Zero by J.S. CollyerDisclosure: I received an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of this novel directly from the author.

Zero is the debut novel from author J.S. Collyer and the first in a series of what promises to be a restless, back-of-your-skull-pinned-to-the-seat ride for classical science fiction aficionados. If you’re looking for hard sci-fi, look elsewhere. Zero is more Star Wars than 2001: A Space Odyssey.

When an introductory quote is pulled from Tennyson’s The Charge of the Light Brigade, the hint is there: expect a messy affair in which there are players and in which there are pawns.

We begin with Captain Kaleb Hugo, a recently disgraced soldier of a military organization referred to only as “The Service.” By questioning his superiors, Hugo violates Tennyson’s simple role assigned to the soldier and winds up on their sh*tlist.

Of course, the normally disciplined Captain is good at what he does and the Service makes use of him on their privateer team. As new Captain of the Zero (the previous ones didn’t last long), Hugo must lead covert missions while butting heads with his flippant second-in-command, Ezekiel Webb.

By chapter two, Collyer has us by our Service pins and doesn’t let go for the rest of the book. She pulls us through a frantic plot involving intrigue and subterfuge, building and destroying relationships in the process.

The only “bad” thing I have to say about the book is that I would have enjoyed more background on certain peripheral characters. Webb and Hugo become as familiar as old friends by the middle of the book, but I would have loved to get past the surface for the rest of the crew. Then again, too much reflection would likely slow things down, so I’m betting Collyer knew what she was doing.

Zero is due for release on August 16th. The Service requests that you purchase a copy. You wouldn’t want to disobey them or you may find yourself sharing a bunk on The Zero (on second thought, that could be fun).

-Phillip

14 thoughts on “Book Review – Zero by J.S. Collyer

  1. Thank you for such a great review, Phillip, as well as taking the time to read as well! I’m so pleased with what you have said here! And thanks so much for the feedback on the characters – I sometimes take less is more too far, so it’s very good for me to know when the balance could be better. This is really good to know for future projects. I’m*very* pleased that you wanted to know more about the characters than less though so that’s good!

    Thanks so very much! Consider yourself promoted to commodore :)

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    • You’re welcome Jex! I loved it and am looking forward to the next installment in the Orbit series.

      And I know what you mean about the “less is more” thing. It seems a hard bit to nail, but I think overall, you succeeded. It wasn’t something that took away my interest from the book, but like you said, I was MORE interested to learn about them!

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  2. I’ll echo everyone else and say, “Great review, Phillip!” I don’t tend to read science fiction, at least not on purpose. But I’ll read a good story regardless of its genre. I’m looking forward to getting my copy of Zero :)

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    • Thanks Marie. It’s not easy to leave our genre comfort zones, but maybe that’s another reason why we should do it. My next read is a Western Romance…WAY outside of my comfort zone. ;) But I’m hoping I can learn a few things on nailing the ‘romance’ aspect of any writing I do.

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  3. Great review! I love the careful attention to the peripheral characters–what you would have liked to see more of. I’m glad to know that it’s toward the Star Wars end of the spectrum than 2001: A Space Odyssey (which I found a little boring).

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