Before I dive into the actual review, I want to let you know that I partnered up/I am part of SocialBookCo' Book Review Programme, it's my first time working with them. SocialBookCo is a "mini company/website" that compares books from all vendors and it's supposed to help help you save money on books. They work with Amazon, eBay, Book Depository, Waterstones, etc. I do get a small commission-from 2-4%, depending on the retailer-every time you click on my link and purchase the book I'm reviewing.

Today, I'll be reviewing DAY ZERO by Kresley Cole
(Click on DAY ZERO ^ to purchase book)

Day Zero (The Arcana Chronicles 3.5)
by Kresley Cole 
Valkyrie Press | August 1, 2016
Source: Social Book Co, thank you!
      Ashes to ashes . . .
      Evie Greene’s story of the Flash is just one of many. All over the world, those connected in some way to the lethal Arcana game—like Death, Jack, and Fortune—must first survive a horrifying night of blood and screams. 
      We all fall down.
      Some will have to grapple with new powers; all will be damned to a hellish new existence of plague, brutality, desolation, and cannibalism. Find out who they lost, why they endure, and what they sacrificed in order to live past Day Zero.
A while back, I reviewed Arcana Rising (The Arcana Chronicles #4) and I really enjoyed it. Luckily, I was approved to read Day Zero.

Day Zero made me feel like I was reading Poison Princess for the first time because I was acquainted, or reacquainted, with the characters all over again. It was eyeopening to say the least to see how certain characters lived before the games started. Some characters knew about their powers/had some affinity to it and it was cute seeing it. It's clever how everything was coincidental. I loved seeing the characters hone in on the powers. Honing in your powers = character growth in my opinion. The story also provided "the other side"-some characters didn't want to play the game and wanted to escape it. We've always seen the characters as serious fighting machines, but seeing them reject the game made it seem normal and more realistic.

I loved most of the perspectives, but I thought Kresley should have focused more on the characters we've never seen. I already know that Death knew about the game, was building alliances, and pining for Evie/The Empress. It felt unnecessary to read his perspective AND Evie's because we read it in POISON PRINCESS, or we know it from the parroting in the series! It's repetitive! Instead of reiterating, why not provide a newer and fresher narrative?!

Narratives I consider worth mentioning are:
1) SELENA's! Her perspective shocked me the most. A HUGE truth bomb. It was the most informational, character wise, in my opinion. It had me shook. It seemed really teenage girl rebelling against society because she doesn't want to conform. It's triggering for certain people though...
2) Kentarch's. I found his character really interesting. I think a lot of people will like him too/this series because he's "diverse" and the whole series is "diverse".
3) Tess'. Out of all the characters, I thought her powers were the coolest. After the Flash wasn't the best place to "showcase" her power, so it was really nice to see how her powers would work at her full potential. I also found her story quite heartbreaking. All the perspectives are dark and heartbreaking, but I found Tess' really saddening. The whole situation... The dialogue... It's just so sad. All I was think was, "those are AMAZING parents." (I'm not even being sarcastic or a troll when I say that, they genuinely are!)
4) Circe's. I thought Circe's backstory was cute and whatever, but it's when she comes into her powers that's amazing. Circe is this AWESOME lady of the sea. She has a trident, tentacle legs, blue scales and fins! She has cool powers and she's the most visually interesting. She leaves a lasting impression.

The other narratives were in the middle. Sure, I learned a lot, but I didn't feel drawn or particularly connected to the character. Kresley could have wrote about the "interesting" characters that didn't get a lot of air time: Guthrie, Vincent & Violet, Arthur, and Ogen. These are considered the "villains", but I think their stories would have been really cool because it would have your skin crawl. They're all sick, twisted people. 

I do appreciate how Kresley mentions the game's origin. I thought it was super interesting and it gave me a whole new perspective. I saw details lining up in the most interesting way. It's fantastic how everything connected! It was a very smart idea.

I don't have much to say on the writing, it's a guide after all, but the same "flaws" I noted in my Arcana Rising reviews were in here too. The author tried to relate to teens (the audience) by implementing teen-speak, but it seemed really forced. Everything was still romance driven. Yes, the guide was somehow able to be romance driven despite not having a "real" plot! I think it would have been better if it was pitched to the NA/Adult audience. 

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