Thursday, November 29, 2012

Book Review: "Year Zero" by Rob Reid

Year Zero review
Author: Rob Reid
5 out of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Science Fiction
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Fans of humorous stories, science fiction, people who like music.

Disclosure: I received an ARC paperback copy of this book from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: Low-level entertainment lawyer Nick Carter thinks it’s a prank, not an alien encounter, when a redheaded mullah and a curvaceous nun show up at his office. But Frampton and Carly are highly advanced (if bumbling) extraterrestrials. And boy, do they have news.

The entire cosmos, they tell him, has been hopelessly hooked on humanity’s music ever since “Year Zero” (1977 to us), when American pop songs first reached alien ears. This addiction has driven a vast intergalactic society to commit the biggest copyright violation since the Big Bang. The resulting fines and penalties have bankrupted the whole universe. We humans suddenly own everything—and the aliens are not amused.

Nick Carter has just been tapped to clean up this mess before things get ugly, and he’s an unlikely galaxy-hopping hero: He’s scared of heights. He’s also about to be fired. And he happens to have the same name as a Backstreet Boy. But he does know a thing or two about copyright law. And he’s packing a couple of other pencil-pushing superpowers that could come in handy.

Soon he’s on the run from a sinister parrot and a highly combustible vacuum cleaner. With Carly and Frampton as his guides, Nick now has forty-eight hours to save humanity, while hopefully wowing the hot girl who lives down the hall from him.

My Thoughts: “An alien advance party was suddenly nosing around my planet. Worse, they were lawyering up. . . .” This book is hilarious. Seriously, if I started throwing in quotes, this review could end up going on to pages – I ended up reading huge sections of it to my husband wherever we happened to be, because it was so funny I couldn’t stand to keep it to myself and wanted to share it with whomever around me would listen. It’s amazing I didn’t end up going downtown, standing on the street, and starting a performance as I read it, truly.

A good example is a scene a bit past the halfway point in which Nick and his neighbor Manda are in a cab and are mistaken for top-secret government agents.
America Good!” the driver said obsequiously, apparently confusing us for government operatives... As we started to roll, the driver muttered into his cellphone in a language that had a spectacular density of consonants. After listening intently for a few seconds, he turned to me. “North Vietnam?” He shook his head derisively. “Very, very bad.” He listened some more, then denounced Brezhnev. Apparently someone on the other end was now mining an old history book for statements that he could use to prove his loyalty to the secret agents in his cab. After sitting through heated condemnations of Kaiser Wilhelm, the Mexican troops at the Alamo, and King George III, I pulled up a picture of Pugwash... As I opened the taxi door, a loud, shattering sound came from the top floor... and [I] saw something large and Pugwash-shaped accelerating toward the ground... The driver was denouncing the Algonquian tribe to me (they apparently fought against us in the French and Indian War), so he was facing my way and saw everything. Already plenty rattled, that was it for him, and he took off.

You see? A single quote and it doubled the amount of rambling I had already done! Imagine that times about 100 and you’ll figure out how much of this I was tempted to quote at you. And maybe that would be a more effective review than my excessive fangirling... but I don’t want to spoil things, you know? Anyway, no one would have time to read that review, so you’ll just have to trust me – this book is absolutely filled with hilarious stuff. And it also effectively explains exactly how Windows has saved the world, which you won’t want to miss. That bit is right at the end, though, so I can’t tell you more of that. There are also individual playlists for several of the characters at the end of the book which reminded me of several songs that I want to add to my own collection.

So, highly recommended for fans of humorous books, science fiction, and music. Definitely check this book out!

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