Before I start this review, let me state that I read the two prior books in the series and enjoyed them alot. Feel free to check out my review of Forging Zero and Zero Recall.
Now, I have to admit that I read some negative reviews of Zero Returns before I went ahead and read it myself. I probably shouldn’t have done that since negative reviews can sometimes negatively affect my reading experience. The review I read stated that the reader absolutely hated Joe Dobbs.
After reading the third installment of Zero’s series, I could see why.
Joe Dobbs in Zero Returns is not the Joe Dobbs of Forging Zero and Zero Recall. The Joe Dobbs in this book is suicidal, horribly negative and, seemingly out-of-the-blue, has decided he hates Congress. The author does mention some exciting sounding adventures that probably led up to this change of character and emotion – but the reader is completely left out and hears about it after the fact. This is not only disappointing, it left me – the reader – feeling disconnected from the Joe Dobbs in this book. Joe, in the first and second book had major flaws as well as likeable qualities.
The Joe in this book has Zero. (Pun intended – sorry!)
His story line throughout the book seemed contrived and his interactions and hardships with Twelve-A left me feeling as though the writer had run out of adventures and came up with a unimaginably obtuse character (Twelve-A), with the sole purpose of plaguing Joe. In this book, Joe Dobbs actively contemplates beating the crap out of his love-interest. He would never have done that in the first and second installments of this series. He also talks about sexual subjects in front of a child in this story – something I doubt he would have done in the first two books, either.
In fact, the secondary storyline focused around his brother Sam Dobbs a.k.a. Slade a.k.a. Ghost, is much more interesting. Which I found ironic because Slade has always been and still is an exceedingly despicable character in the series. Slade is so disgusting that only the act of sex moved him to change his ideas surrounding cannibalism and the forced slavery of women. But I digress.
While the book held my attention effectively – I was able to complete the book at least – I was truly disappointed with this installment and I hope that the author invests more into the characters of said characters in the upcoming book Zero’s Redemption.
The book held my attention, but left me with a slightly icky taste in my mouth.
2.5 out of 5 stars