Division Zero by Matthew Cox | Book Review

May 30, 2014 Reviews 2

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Division Zero by Matthew Cox | Book ReviewDivision Zero by Matthew Cox
Series: Division Zero #1
Published by Curiosity Quills Press on March 7, 2014
Genres: Mystery, Science Fiction
Pages: 282
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher

Most cops get to deal with living criminals, but Agent Kirsten Wren is not most cops.

A gifted psionic with a troubled past, Kirsten possesses a rare combination of abilities that give her a powerful weapon against spirits. In 2418, rampant violence and corporate warfare have left no shortage of angry wraiths in West City. Most exist as little more than fleeting shadows and eerie whispers in the darkness.

Kirsten is shunned by a society that does not understand psionics, feared by those who know what she can do, and alone in a city of millions. Every so often, when a wraith gathers enough strength to become a threat to the living, these same people rely on her to stop it.

Unexplained killings by human-like androids known as dolls leave the Division One police baffled, causing them to punt the case to Division Zero. Kirsten, along with her partner Dorian, wind up in the crosshairs of corporate assassins as they attempt to find out who – or what – is behind the random murders before more people die.

She tries to hold on to the belief that no one is beyond redemption as she pursues a killer desperate to claim at least one more innocent soul – that might just be hers.

My Initial Reaction…

I really liked the characters in Division Zero and the world was fascinating. It was a bit more procedural than I expected or typically like, but if that’s your thing you’ll probably like it even more than I did.

The Characters…

The main character in Division Zero is Kirsten Wren, a psionic with many gifts. She’s not only able to communicate telepathically, but she is able to control people psychically, see ghosts, and has this psychic whip that makes ghosts heel. So yeah, her powers are freaking cool and what drew me to Division Zero. She’s a pretty complex character, though, too. Her mother used religion as an excuse to abuse her “demonic” daughter and Kirsten is incredibly scarred by the experiences that led her to run away from home and eventually find safety with Division Zero as a small child. I loved learning her backstory and seeing how it had shaped her as an adult – especially in some really fantastic moments with small children. My only complaint would be that sometimes her character development seemed a bit jarring – all of a sudden an action sequence would be over and Kirsten would be crying or thinking about her past and I just was like “whoa! how’d we get here?”

The only other character we get to know very well is Dorain Marsh, Kirsten’s partner. He is one big mystery (which I’m pleased to say I figured out before the big reveal) but the hints are there if you’re paying attention and it’s a pretty neat twist for the story. I was kind of on the fence about him but what I liked about Dorian most were the conversations he’d pull Kirsten into about religion and God – including her mother. Needless to say, her childhood has left a bit of a sour taste in Kirsten’s mouth about religion and Dorian is her constant Devil’s Advocate – no matter what she’s thinking, he pushes her to see the other side. I absolutely loved the way they took on such serious topics – especially from the vantage point of the futuristic world they live in.

I really would have liked to get to know some of the other characters much better, but they’re well enough defined for the story. I suspect future books will let us get to know them better.

The Story…

The story for Division Zero just didn’t pull me along – but that’s because it was very procedural, not because anything was wrong with it. When I read the synopsis, I think I got so excited by the supernatural/sci-fi elements that I completely missed that Kirsten was a cop and what that would mean for the kind of story this was. And I just get bored with procedural story lines – but if that’s your thing, Division Zero is for you. The elements that pull the crime investigation along are well done and managed to keep me engaged – particularly with some great action segments – despite my general preference for other types of storylines – so that’s saying something.

I have to say, Matthew Cox did a really good job establishing this world. We’re in 2418 (I LOVE that he gave us a date, by the way. I hate it when it’s just randomly “in the future”) and technology has progressed in a really believable way/extent. People have the ability to do all sorts of physical/technological surgeries to add weapons or computer interfaces to their bodies. Cars can drive on the road or float through the air. Drive-through restaurants are now floating places that you can hoover up to. And dolls – robotic people – are part of society. I loved the way these dolls came in so many different levels. You have the sentient, basically people dolls that look 100% real. And you have the dolls that are clearly not human. And every level in-between. There’s marvelous attention to detail in the world building that really hooked me.

Concluding Sentiments…

Division Zero has complex characters and a solid, detailed world to keep you engaged. If I were more of a fan of procedural plots, this probably would have been a 4+ book for me, so it may be perfect for you!

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About Matthew Cox

Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.

Hobbies and Interests:

Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it. He is also fond of cats.


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Berls has been a book lover her whole life. She reads pretty much every genre and is currently working hard at making her childhood dream of becoming an author come true. She loves sharing her thoughts about books, blogging, and just random fun stuff. She's a challenge and read-a-thon junkie, so it's no wonder that she loves co-hosting the COYER reading challenge. Leave a comment, Berls is always happy to chat!

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