Readers' perception of Day One will ultimately come down to whether or not they enjoy mindless fun in their thrillers. I have never seen Cloverfield or watched the entire Terminator movie, so I can't comment on how precise the comparisons are. I have watched the Transformers movies which really reminded me of Day One by Nate Kenyon. Day One kind of reads like a Michael Bay screenplay in my opinion. Day One is filled with all of the classic Bay elements: tons (and tons) of explosions, thrilling chase scenes, non-stop action, collapsing civilization, and mindless fun.
Day One wasn't anything sophisticated at all, but it was a really entertaining book. I kind of expected a little bit more than the whole technology will destroy us theme. I have seen this theme portrayed in media so many times, that I feel like this theme has no effect on me. Day One is nothing new at all and there are so many books and movies that have the same exact plot with a few alterations.
Despite the fact that the plot's nothing new, I really was hooked on Day One. It took a bit of time in the beginning for me to really get into the novel, probably because I was a bit skeptic about reading another reiteration of the whole "tech goes bad". Once I got into the story, the pages really flew by and I had arrived at the conclusion. Besides the poorly paced introduction, Day One is an extremely quick and easy read that reads like a summer blockbuster on steroids.
The characters in Day One are just cardboard reproductions of characters from thriller movies and yet that didn't bother me at all. The MC is the typical husband/father who needs to reunite himself with his family in the middle of a crisis. Even though I really had zero emotional connection to the characters, that didn't really hinder my enjoyment of Day One. All these negatives really took the backseat for me because this book was so much fun in a nonsensical sort of way. Even if things weren't executed all that well or didn't make much sense, I was having too much fun to care.
Day One will enthrall readers from start to finish, but it's not anything spectacular. Beyond the fact that it's extremely addicting, it lacks substance. That being said, Day One was the perfect book for my mood at the time. This isn't one of the better thrillers that I've read to date, but it succeeds in being more of a mish-mash of notable ones. Without a doubt, Day One is going to be very hit and miss for most fans of thrillers.