Zeroes

zeroes


Title: Zeroes

Author: Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti

Series: Zeroes, #1

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Books

Release Date: September 24th 2015

Rating:

Four Stars

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.

– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

He’d always known the voice would do this one day – get him into serious trouble. The voice didn’t care about consequences. The voice didn’t weigh up the pros and cons and then say, “Hey, Ethan, this is how you can get what you want.” The voice wasn’t sentient like that; it wasn’t smart.

All Ethan wants is a ride home, and with no friends he can call he resorts to using the voice. The voice has been part of Ethan ever since he was born, in fact it started speaking before Ethan did, and he’s used to falling back on it to get what he wants. However while the voice always seems to know what to say it has no mind of its own, and more often than not it will get Ethan into trouble.

A night that starts off with Ethan hitching a ride from a Russian mobster ends with him in the middle of a bank robbery, a duffle bag full of drug money at his feet. When he’s hauled in by the police for questioning the voice has nothing to say to get Ethan out of the mess he’s found himself in, and having no one else to turn to Ethan has no choice but to call the Zeroes for help.

“These things we have, they aren’t mental issues; they’re powers. Like superheroes have.”
“You think?”
“Sure. We just suck at them right now.”

Freeing Ethan from the police station and destroying all evidence of his voice should be no problem, but things quickly go wrong. Instead of just taking out the electronics needed to free Ethan Crash, a.k.a. Chizara, crashes the whole building, opening the holding cells and letting all the criminals free. Among them is the man who held up Ethan at the bank, Kelsie’s father.

Like the Zeroes Kelsie has a gift, but unlike Ethan she doesn’t have anyone she can trust enough to help her when her dad escapes jail. She is determined to find Ethan, believing he was somehow in on the robbery gone wrong when her dad reveals what Ethan’s voice said to him. Ethan on the other hand is desperate to stay hidden. He has the Russian mob and the police on his tail already, and after the robbery he disrupted he is almost certain one of the escaped bank robbers could be after him too.

When I first read the blurb for this book I thought it sounded amazing. A book about a group of teenagers who suddenly have these strange powers no one else seems to, a book that explores the gritty side of the superhero genre with characters who don’t fit the typical mould of superheroes. Sign me up. Zeroes was a book that jumps into the action from the very first page; with six very different characters, all with their own POV chapters throughout, there was a lot of character development needed but the plot never once fell in the wayside.

…The Characters

“Ethan had always known that one day he’d pay for all those lies.
Right now he was hoping today was not that day.”

Ethan, a.k.a. Scam, seems selfish and reckless when he first meet him. He doesn’t seem to care about much other than getting what he wants, and when things get too tough he always falls back on the voice. However he has the capacity to be so much more, which is shown as he works with the other Zeroes again and becomes part of a team.

Kelsie, a.k.a. Mob, on the other hand, wants nothing more than to help her father. She isn’t blind to his faults, although she seems to gloss over them more often than not, but he’s all she has and she loves him in spite of everything so when he needs help she does everything she can for him. Even if that means going up against the Russian mob.

When they pulled apart, it took a moment to speak again.
“Whoa,” she finally said. “Was that the first time? Our first kiss, I mean?”
“The first one like that,” he said, sounding breathless and a little amazed.

The friendship between Ethan and Thibault, a.k.a. Anon, was one of my favourite parts of this book. They don’t get along at first; Ethan’s greed and selfishness is the opposite of Anon’s Zen mindset, but the more time they spend together the more they bond over their pasts and their strange powers. Ethan works so hard to remember Anon, despite the others power, and it shows us a different side to Ethan’s character, someone who is willing to make amends and prove he is more than the voice.

The relationship between Anon and Riley, a.k.a. Flicker, was another of my favourite parts to Zeroes. Anon was abandoned by his family when he was thirteen; he has a heartbreaking story because his power means he can’t form lasting attachments, not when everyone forgets him as soon as they look away. But Flicker seems to see him when no one else does, despite being blind, and she becomes intrigued by Anon. She uses her sister’s stories to help her remember him and the two start to form a strong bond, the connection between them growing as she continues to remember him.

“The Zeroes, they’d called themselves as a joke. Like heroes, but not. They’d even tried to act like superheroes, with stupid training exercises and code names. But at least they’d all been friends.
Until he’d let the voice lash out.”

However, the downside of having so many different voices in one story is that it can be hard to give them all the necessary amount of character development to make them feel real. I feel that Chizara and Nate, a.k.a. Bellweather, were kind of left in the shadows of the other four. I can’t really say I liked or disliked either of their characters, but I’d like to learn more about them. They both have a lot of potential, and two very interesting powers to explore more as well.


Zeroes was a fast paced and addictive read. I can’t fault the plot or the character development too much but I do wish we’d discovered more about how their strange powers came to be, it’s theorized but never confirmed. The powers we’ve seen so far have been incredibly unique and interesting to read about so I’d love to see more in the next book.

What did you think of Zeroes? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

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31 thoughts on “Zeroes

  1. I actually have this book on my shelf, although I have the uglier American cover of it. This does sound like a fun read, but man 6 different P.O.V. sounds overwhelming. Had a feeling that some characters might have been slightly less developed as you mentioned. Great review though! 😀

    – Lashaan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah when I first saw this book I saw the US cover first, this is a rare-ish case when I definitely prefer the UK cover! The six POVs could be a little overwhelming at times but the majority of the characters were well written so it was easy to distinguish their voices from one another. That helped but yeah would have been better if all the characters had been well written.
      Thanks Lashaan. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely review, Beth! This seems like a really interesting read! I’m not a huge fan of Westerfeld as an author (as I never finished the Uglies series) but I know he’s a pretty amazing writer with some truly unique ideas. I love how the characters don’t really have the kind of superhero powers you would expect. They all seem strange but considerably fun to read about it. And even though I love multiple POVs, it can definitely be a pitfall in terms of characterization. Lack of character development can be a huge problem. Hopefully the authors manage to delve into everybody’s stories a bit more in the next installment. I love books that start out with a bang so I’ll definitely have to add this one to my list! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Azia, and yes interesting is definitely a good way to describe this book and the story. Oh that’s a shame, but I agree he has some amazing ideas and Zeroes is definitely another one. None of the superpowers are ones you expect and even the characters are not what you expect either.
      The lack of character development was only really an issue for two out of the six characters which wasn’t all that bad in my opinion, for the other four there was actually a fair bit which really made them stand out and made their voices different from the others.
      Luckily the next book was a little better, and that’s great to hear. I hope you really enjoy this book Azia. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The powers were so great to read about! I feel like Ethan (Scam) doesn’t get enough credit though. 😂 All the characters are so quick to hate on him! Though I suppose he got them into the mess, so there’s that…
    having so many POVs and characters definitely makes it hard to relate/connect/like them on a more substantial level! It can be tricky to manage, for sure.
    Great review, now heading over to see what you thought of Swarm! 😋❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think Ethan is very good at getting the other characters into the mess but he’s also good at sticking around and helping when he can. Plus he puts his life in danger and does use his voice for good as well so there’s that.
      It’s tricky to manage for sure, and in fact there’s only one other book I’ve read with six POVs that I thought was written well. I tend to find that the more POVs the less well written the development is. Zeroes wasn’t that bad considering there was a lot going on in terms of the plot as well.
      Thanks Analee! 😀 ❤

      Like

  4. This sounds like a really good book, Beth! I think I have a copy somewhere and I remember reading the first chapter, but I didn’t manage to get into it for lack of immediate interest. Now I’m wondering if that had been a mistake, haha – from your review the characters sound SO MUCH MORE INTERESTING, and I always love superhero tropes. It can be a juggle though managing six characters at once, and it does sound like not all of them gets equal attention. Hopefully the next book will make up for it! Have you read it/are you planning to soon?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought it was really good. I guess maybe there are just some books that it takes you a little longer to get in to. Hopefully if you do decide to pick up Zeroes again you get further than the first chapter and end up really enjoying it as well.
      I loved the superheroes trope in this book, it kind of reminded me of the TV show Misfits (not sure if you’ve seen that show). They weren’t standard superheroes by any means.
      I actually have already finished the book. One of the characters was much better developed with I loved but the second again not as much. I guess I have hopes for the third book now! 🙂

      Like

  5. This is the first I’m hearing about this one and I’m thinking I’ll have to add it to my TBR. It sounds so interesting! For some reason I kept getting Misfits feels while reading your review. I guess because of the ordinary people suddenly having powers and the fact that they don’t exactly get along at first. It sucks that two of the characters didn’t seem to get as much development as others. That can definitely be a downside in multiple POVs sometimes. Hopefully the second book makes up for that. Great review as always, Beth!! 😊♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a great book Melissa, and Scott Westerfeld is one of my favourite authors as well so it almost made it even better for me. 🙂
      Yes, I actually put in my first draft of this review that it had a Misfits vibe but I took it out because I wasn’t sure anyone outside of the UK would understand that reference. This book is something I would definitely recommend to all Misfits fans out there! 😀
      It can happen in multiple POVs, I’ve read it a few times in other books and it wasn’t as bad here I guess.
      Thanks Melissa. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I always hear great things about Scott Westerfeld’s books but have never read any of them myself. I remember when I was in middle school everyone loved his Uglies series and told me to read them but I didn’t. 🙈
        Yay for Misfits! I so would have gotten the reference if you would have left it in your review lol. But yeah, at least US wise, it isn’t as popular as it is in the UK. I will definitely have to read it just for that fact and because I like how the book sounds in general. 😊
        You’re welcome, Beth!! 💕

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I feel like I’m definitely one of the people saying amazing things about his books. And actually I think I was in high school when his Uglies series was kind of big. I think that was how I was introduced to the series so to speak.
        I’ll remember that for next time then I guess! 😀 And if you liked Misfits I think you’ll like this book as well, it has some Misfits vibes when it comes to the powers and the things the Zeroes get up to. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I could be wrong and even though I haven’t read his book it kind of seems like his were the start of the whole YA dystopia craze. They were so popular for a while and after that it was The Hunger Games and then everyone was loving the genre.
        I have a feeling that I will too. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I read and LOVED the Uglies series by this author, it’s one of my favorite series of ever, so obviously I wanted to try and read that book…ages ago, then new ones came around and I kind of forgot about it? This is so bad haha, but I’m happy I have you to remind me 😀 I’m glad to hear you overall enjoyed it, but yeah I understand that with so many POV it’s sometimes hard to give attention to everyone, or at least the attention and development they all deserve :/ Lovely review, Beth!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes the Uglies series is one of my favourites as well. I actually need to re-read because I haven’t in so long that I can’t remember anything that happened. I do remember I loved it though. 🙂
      I forget about books as well. It happens I guess, but this one is good. Despite the issues I had with some of the character development, which like you said is understandable given how many characters there were with their own POVs, it was still an amazing read.
      Thanks Marie! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve read this book and found the characters really interesting and the powers were so cool and the plot wove together well but it still felt like something was missing. I’m interested as to where the second book goes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree the characters were amazing, and I loved how their powers weren’t the standard kind of superhero powers either, they were more unique than that.
      I actually finished the second book earlier this week, I thought it was amazing. The plot was a lot better as well so maybe that’s something you’ll enjoy more as well. 🙂

      Like

  8. I’ve been seeing a few comments on Zeroes but I hadn’t looked into it until your review! Sounds like a pretty fun read. I love the concept of ordinary people with extraordinary powers, especially ones that aren’t necessarily always helpful. Great review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t seen much of Zeroes around on WordPress actually, but it is a great book I think. The powers the Zeroes all have were wonderfully written. They’re not the standard powers you’d think superheroes would have, and yeah not always helpful, but it just made the story all the more interesting. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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