Author: Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti
Series: Zeroes, #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Books
Release Date: September 24th 2015
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.