Author: Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
Publication Date: 23rd September 2015
Rating: 4/5 stars
Thanks to Dymocks Books for the review copy!
Introducing ZEROES – featuring six unique superheroes, one bag of stolen drug money, one bungled bank robbery and a whole heap of trouble. All adding up to one outstanding YA series by three extraordinary writers.
Don’t call them heroes. But these six Californian teens have powers that set them apart.
Ethan aka Scam has a voice inside him that’ll say whatever people 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, aka 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. 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 absolutely adored Scott Westerfield’s Uglies series when I was younger and, while I haven’t read anything from his co-authors, I was stupidly excited for this book! Then I discovered the launch was in Sydney, and THEN I won a copy of the book from Dymocks – my enthusiasm for this book was just meant to be.
The book is pretty EPIC – these three authors have done the most amazing job at maintaining a cohesive narrative. There are six main characters – Scam, Mob, Flicker, Crash, Anonymous and Bellwether. Each author wrote two, but they aren’t saying who belongs to whom! It’s made me want to read everyone’s other works and see if I can pick it!
My personal favourite was Anon – imagine having a ‘superpower’ which makes you invisible, to the extent that even your own family forgets about you. His backstory was very sad, but he had a great sense of humour and persevered to make his world a better place. His character development, as his connections to other characters grew, was just so nice to observe.
The pacing of this book was excellent (pacing has been a big problem with the books I have been reading lately, so this was very refreshing!) The Zeroes were close last summer, but Scam’s voice threw all their deepest secrets back in their faces and they fell apart. Bellwether is a bit lost without a crew to follow him – he loved taking them through ‘training exercises’. Mob doesn’t know the Zeroes but becomes involved quickly after Scam ousts her Dad in the middle of a bank robbery.
Three of the characters’ ‘superpowers’ suck pretty hard. Scam’s voice responds to his emotional reactions, often lashing out and getting him in more trouble than he intended. Anon isn’t noticed much, practically invisible, but it means that no one remembers him, not even his family. Crash has the power to destroy anything electrical, but she is also basically allergic to electricity.
Mob, Bellwether and Flicker like their powers. Mob loves the feel of a crowd and can amp their feelings – whenever she is in a club, the night goes wild. Bellwether can strengthen the connections people feel towards him, making him an obvious leader for the group (who affectionately call him ‘Glorious Leader’). Flicker is blind, but she can see through everyone else’s eyes – this one was a little CREEPY in my mind; no one knew she was there, but she was using their eyes.
This book was a fantastic take on the superhero trope, emphasising the difficulties of everyday life rather than their power to act for the greater good. There was never a dull moment, and despite the huge number of viewpoints, the book was incredibly cohesive and just BLOODY BRILLIANT!
The launch night at Kinokuniya was also AMAZING – all the authors were brilliant speakers, and we had a fantastic MC in Justine Larbalestier (who also happens to be Scott’s partner, and spent some of her time very humorously ripping into him). Plus, all of the authors were unbelievably friendly – I really hope they have a launch for their second book! Any excuse for a party! I also ran into a whole heap of book bloggers and had the most excellent night talking about our favourites! This included Alison and Bec, who run the awesome YA Chronicles monthly book box! Next month’s box is set to be AMAZING, so definitely check it out!