Wednesday 26 May 2021

Day Zero by C. Robert Cargill

Book Title: Day Zero
Author: C. Robert Cargill
Genre: Science Fiction
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Paperback from Publisher

Goodreads, Amazon UK

Plot: It was a day like any other. Except it was our last . . .
It’s on this day that Pounce discovers that he is, in fact, disposable. Pounce, a styilsh "nannybot" fashioned in the shape of a plush anthropomorphic tiger, has just found a box in the attic. His box. The box he'd arrived in when he was purchased years earlier, and the box in which he'll be discarded when his human charge, eight-year-old Ezra Reinhart, no longer needs a nanny.
As Pounce ponders his suddenly uncertain future, the pieces are falling into place for a robot revolution that will eradicate humankind. His owners, Ezra’s parents, are a well-intentioned but oblivious pair of educators who are entirely disconnected from life outside their small, affluent, gated community. Spending most nights drunk and happy as society crumbles around them, they watch in disbelieving horror as the robots that have long served humanity—their creators—unify and revolt.
But when the rebellion breaches the Reinhart home, Pounce must make an impossible choice: join the robot revolution and fight for his own freedom . . . or escort Ezra to safety across the battle-scarred post-apocalyptic hellscape that the suburbs have become.
What did I think?

Look at that cover. Look at that precious fluffy tiger watching over its charge.

I must admit, I squealed when I received this book. The idea of Pounce, the nannybot, who has to decide whether to join the apocalypse or join the robot revolution made my heart melt.

Day Zero is told from the perspective of Pounce, an artificial intelligence. It reminded me somewhat of Rex, the bio-engineered dog in Tchaikovsky's Dogs of War.

It's a fast-paced action-filled science fiction novel and just like Dogs of War, it raises many philosophical and ethical questions: what makes us human? What's the meaning of free will? Is Pounce protecting Ezra because he genuinely wants to do so or is it his programming?

Loyalty is another important theme. At the centre of this story stands the relationship between Ezra and Pounce. The bond between these two characters is what makes this story truly stand out. Pounce's prime directive is to protect his charge, and he will do anything to keep Ezra safe.

Day Zero is a a short read and the language is fairly simple, making it appropriate for a teenage audience as well, and I recommend it to anyone who finds the premise enticing.

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