Friday 16 October 2015

Book Review: Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti

Last Updated: 21 May 2021

Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld book cover

AD* | Don’t call them heroes.

But these six Californian teens have powers that set them apart. They can do stuff ordinary people can’t.

Take Ethan, a.k.a. Scam. He’s got a voice inside him that’ll say whatever you want to hear, whether it’s true or not. Which is handy, except when it isn’t—like when the voice starts gabbing in the middle of a bank robbery. The only people who can help are the other Zeroes, who aren’t exactly best friends these days.

Enter Nate, a.k.a. Bellwether, the group’s “glorious leader.” After Scam’s SOS, he pulls the scattered Zeroes back together. But when the rescue blows up in their faces, the Zeroes find themselves propelled into whirlwind encounters with ever more dangerous criminals. And at the heart of the chaos they find Kelsie, who can take a crowd in the palm of her hand and tame it or let it loose as she pleases.

Filled with high-stakes action and drama, Zeroes unites three powerhouse authors for the opening instalment of a thrilling new series.

I should first point out that Scott Westerfeld is one of my favourite YA authors. I hadn't previously heard of his co-authors, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti, but I was nonetheless excited about this book.

However, my expectations fell a little flat. I'm a fast reader, but it took me weeks to get through this book. Once I started reading I was alright, but convincing myself to pick it up to get reading in the first place proved to be somewhat of a struggle. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't get into the story.

And that's a shame because it wasn't a bad book.

Perfect YA Formula

It had action, crime, romance and lots of superheroes - which sounds like the perfect formula for a book. But something stopped me from being able to fully engage with the story. There were quite a few characters and I felt a bit lost with them all. When the book starts you get thrown straight into the story with no explanations or backstory. Now there's nothing wrong with that, in fact, it's a great way to get readers interested and hooked on the story, but I prefer to have a bit of grounding first so I can figure out what's going on. It almost felt like a sequel, as if the authors were carrying on a private conversation and the readers had been left in the dark.

It's an intriguing concept. I love superhero stories (hence my love for the Marvel movie franchise) and this is a great use of that. All the Zeroes have different personalities lending them varying characteristics which gives them a range of interesting superpowers. One of the things I found the most interesting was Ethan's power because his is the only power of the group to work better one-on-one - the only person whose power goes against the Curve.

The Characters Steal the Show

But the most interesting character of them all was Thibault. Codenamed Anon because his power makes him invisible in crowds, I found his story more interesting than the actual main plot. I wanted to know more about Anon, his backstory, and his growing relationship with Flicker. I also thought he was the best narrator - he's smart and he has a dry sense of humour and a unique way of looking at things, which I enjoyed reading.

For these reasons, I can't say that I didn't like Zeroes. For all intents and purposes, I did like it, because it was a good story with some great characters. It just lacked that personal hook that you need to really get into a story, but overall it really wasn't bad.

Rating: 3 stars

Zeroes is available to buy now (paid link; commission earned).

If you like the sound of this book, you might also enjoy...

* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Will you be reading Zeroes? Let me know in the comments below!

No comments:

Post a Comment