Book Review | Day Zero by C. Robert Cargill

Title: Day Zero

Author: C. Robert Cargill

Publisher: Gollancz

Release Date: 20th May 2021

Source: NetGalley
It was a day like any other. Except it was our last.

Pounce, a young nannybot caring for his first human charge, Ezra, has just found a box in the attic. His box. The box he arrived in, and the one he'll be discarded in when Ezra outgrows the need for a nanny.

As Pounce experiences existential dread, the pieces are falling into place for a robot revolution that will spell the end of humanity. His owners, Ezra's parents, watch in disbelieving horror as the robots that have long served humanity - their creators - unify and revolt.

Now 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. It will be their greatest game yet: Pounce and Ezra versus the end of the world

This book is the prequel to Sea of Rust. However, I like to think of it as what would happen if the Care Bears took on The Terminator and the pesky Cylons from Battlestar Galactica with a dash of I-Robot. If that doesn’t pique your imagination, then I am failing in my review!

Day Zero is the story of Pounce, Pounce is a nanny bot in the shape of an anthropomorphic tiger and he is adorable. At the start of the story he finds his box in the attic and he worries over what will happen to him when Ezra, his 8-year-old human, is too old for him. Will he be tossed aside, destroyed, or set free to live his own life.

His worries will be short-lived as everyone around him is waiting for Isaac, the first AI to become an American citizen to give a speech in front of millions, a speech to humans and robots alike, a speech from his city where other robots like him live free. His speech is cut short.

A dirty bomb wipes out Isaac, his city and its population, and it marks the end of humanity and the rise of the machine. Ezra’s parents are oblivious to the chaos that is about to unfold, a comfortable middle class family in perpetual drunkenness they don’t realise what is upon them until it’s too late and then it comes down to Pounce to protect Ezra, their only child. Is he up to the job or will he go against the rules of robotics and rebel?

I loved this book, I can picture it on Netflix or as a film. Either way, it will be gory and colourful. The gore provided by the despatching of humanity and the colour from the different robotic AI’s. From sleek service models to the adorable range of zoo creatures of which Pounce is one, there is a robot for every purpose.

I’m currently reading Sea of Rust of which this book is a prequel to, and I can honestly say it is just as good. Day Zero will get all of your emotions going, and this may be food for thought as most of those emotions are caused by an AI’s actions. It is heart-warming; it is frightening; it makes you think, and it left a lasting impression on me. Read it.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Travels with my Books ‘21
Cloak and Dagger ‘21
Literary Escapes ‘21


  1. So glad you loved this! I will be reading it closer to release day, and I can't wait😁

  2. Care Bears took on Terminator! Yikes!! You definitely got my attention with that one lol. I've seen this one around I think but didn't really see an in- depth review or anything so it's good to know a little more. I'm intrigued now especially since I love AI stuff!!

  3. Hi my friend! Aaaah this sounds awesome!! I really, really want to read it!!! And as you know, it's not my cup of tea at all. But I know I'll like this one. Your review is stunning and especially loved your opening paragraph. Do you think the youngsters on the blogosphere still know what/who the care bears are??

    In love with this one.

    Hope you are well otherwise!

    1. I don’t know, there are a lot of retro online shops that sell merchandise inspired by the 80s. I really wanted a Care Bear, never got one!

      This is such a great book, it was a lovely surprise.

  4. This does sound like it would make a really good movie! Another one to add to my TBR list. 'Cause how can you resist a book with a robot named Pounce? ;D

    1. It’s adorable isn’t it and he ends up being such a badass!

  5. Okay, why oh why do I struggle so much to send you a comment on this one today!!

    I did try to send a message yesterday, but somehow it got lost.

    I really really really want to read this one. And as you know, it's not my cup of tea at all! It just sounds soooo good and I think even Elza would enjoy it.

    Great review!!

    1. It couldn’t be because I have the moderate comments on? I’ve started publishing the comments as I answer them.

      Anyway, thank you for both your comments and you should definitely (both) read this!

  6. This one sounds incredible! I love following Cargill on Twitter and have enjoyed his movies, but I've yet to read his books. Sounds like I need to!

  7. I LOVED Sea of Rust! And this one is definitely on my TBR - but right now, what with everything going on, I couldn't face reading about the AI apocalypse. But thank you for your lovely review - I'm very much enthused:)).

    1. Thank you! I really enjoyed it! Sea of Rust I enjoyed but not as much but possibly reading this book first spoiled it for me!

  8. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I cannot wait to read it. πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘


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