Title: Swarm

Author: Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti

Series: Zeroes, #2

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Release Date: September 27th 2016


Four Stars

X-Men meets Heroes when New York Times bestselling author Scott Westerfeld teams up with award-winning authors Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti in the second book of an explosive new trilogy about a group of teens with amazing abilities.

They thought they’d already faced their toughest fight. But there’s no relaxing for the reunited Zeroes.

These six teens with unique abilities have taken on bank robbers, drug dealers and mobsters. Now they’re trying to lay low so they can get their new illegal nightclub off the ground.

But the quiet doesn’t last long when two strangers come to town, bringing with them a whole different kind of crowd-based chaos. And hot on their tails is a crowd-power even more dangerous and sinister.

Up against these new enemies, every Zero is under threat. Mob is crippled by the killing-crowd buzz—is she really evil at her core? Flicker is forced to watch the worst things a crowd can do. Crash’s conscience –and her heart –get a workout. Anon and Scam must both put family loyalties on the line for the sake of survival. And Bellwether’s glorious-leader mojo deserts him.

Who’s left to lead the Zeroes into battle against a new, murderous army?

– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com

This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“You’ll love it, guys. And best of all, they’ll never see you coming!”
Okay, that was pretty out there. But no weirder than the voice’s stepmom advice earlier.
The couple looked surprised too, but Ethan just nodded and smiled like everything was normal.

After facing off against the police and the Russian mob last summer and coming out on top, after saving the lives of two of their own in the nick of time, it seems like there’s nothing that can touch the Zeroes. A team once again they work on training and expanding their powers, using an illegal nightclub to attract the crowds they need to fully explore what they’re capable of. But then two new Zeroes walk in, and turn the Dish from a controlled experiment into a disaster zone.

Managing to stop Glitch and Coin before they cause too much damage the Zeroes try to come up with a plan to deal with them. Nate wants to talk, to get these new powers to join their team, but Glitch and Coin don’t care about anything but their own connection and wrecking havoc. As they take more and more daring risks, putting people’s lives in danger, it’s up to the Zeroes to stop them.

“Something’s coming. Something really, really bad.”
Kelsie felt it roar through her body. Something had hooked into the greed and confusion of the crowd, dragging them into a deep, hungry rage.
It was a knife in her brain, pulsing with every heartbeat.

However, unknown to the Zeroes there is another threat on the horizon, another Zero with the power to take over crowds and turn them into murderous mobs. After barely escaping with their lives last summer when the mob was after them the six Zeroes are facing a bigger threat than they ever have before, and as they learn more about their individual powers they’re also forced face their own doubts and limitations.

Everyone is left shaken after their first encounter with Swarm, and they start wondering whether running and hiding would be the best option, to save their lives rather than take on a enemy they have no chance of defeating.

There is a lot happening in Swarm and the stakes are so much more higher. This book threw a much bigger problem into the path of the six Zeroes, and as dangerous as last summer was for all of them it felt like child’s play compared to facing up against Swarm. Everything they’ve had to do to keep out of trouble, every illegal action they’ve taken, seems to come back to haunt them; and as they realise how powerless they are in the face of these new Zeroes they seem to start fracturing at the seams.

…The Characters

“Everyone looked at Ethan again, and Nate could feel their fear curdle into anger. They blamed Ethan for his voice, for the way it dragged them all in whenever he went down. They always would.”

Ethan has changed a lot since the events of the last summer. Back working with the Zeroes he tries to control his voice, using it to help rather than just further his own ends. He is still scared, still thinks of himself first, but at the same time he doesn’t run from his problems and leave the rest of the Zeroes to pick up the flack, he stands by them even with a deadly threat on the horizon.

“She leaned against the wave of eagerness from the crowd. She needed this. It was only here, in the DJ booth, that she forgot about the stupid mess of her life. The flashbacks to last summer stopped when the vinyl was spinning.”

Kelsie is suffering after losing her father and nearly losing her life. The only time she feels a real purpose is playing at the Dish. When she discovers what Swarm can do Kelsie is forced to face some harsh truths about her own power, and she starts doubting her own morality. Her struggle was very interesting to read, and the fact that she’s just lost her father only seemed to make her more vulnerable.

Ever since he first saw her Ethan has had a crush on Kelsie, and in this book those feelings had a resolution. It wasn’t where I expected with I first read Zeroes but it was a good choice for both of them. Ethan still makes stupid mistakes when it comes to Kelsie, lets his emotions rule his voice and spouts some harsh truths which hurt her, but at the same time he is one of her loyalist supporters when she starts doubting herself.

“Attention lines flashed everywhere.
None came to rest of Thibault, of course. No different from his brother’s birthday parties. He shouldn’t have let Flicker talk him into coming. Things were already bad enough without reminding himself what he’d already lost.”

Anon is probably my favourite character of all the Zeroes, and I loved the development of his character in Swarm. There is a lot left unresolved for Anon, mostly because of his power, especially when it comes to his family but that starts to be rectified in this book. Anon learns so much more about his power in Swarm and it just makes me feel for his character that much more.

In Zeroes one of my favourite parts was the friendship between Anon and Ethan, unfortunately that wasn’t nearly as present in this book. There weren’t many scenes where the two of them were together, and although they still maintained they were friends I didn’t see much evidence of it. The relationship between Anon and Flicker was properly explored though. Despite all of Anon’s doubts Flicker remains the positive voice of hope he needs at times.

“And it came again, that feeling of his power failing. The glistening lances of attention that crisscrossed the table all focused on him, but he sat there powerless and astonished, feeling the full, unbuffered weight of his families expectations.
He could never live up to them.”

Nate was one of the characters I felt was left a little undeveloped in Zeroes, but that all changed in Swarm. He’s always seemed untouchable, the glorious leader with all the answers, but in this book that all turns around and we see some of his doubts, fears and insecurities rear their ugly head. It was so incredibly written I couldn’t help connect with his character more than any other.

Chizara however is still a character I couldn’t connect to at all. Despite all the turmoil the other Zeroes face she seemed almost untouched by it. She was always the one offering the voice of reason, always the one who seemed to bounce back the fastest, and it just made her too convenient in my mind. Hopefully that’s something that will change in the next book, I certainly have hope either way.

Swarm takes the story and the characters we were introduced to in Zeroes and really runs with them. If anything this book was so much better; the Zeroes come up to a real turning point and it was interesting seeing how they all dealt with it. After the way Swarm ended I can’t wait for the next book in the series; there was so much turmoil and tensions I’m not sure what will happen next.

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

12 thoughts on “Swarm

    1. Oh definitely, actually I do tend to find that with most series I read actually. The second book is much improved from the first. I hope you do decide to pick this series up one day, but actually yeah may be better to wait until closer to the release date of the third. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes there would have been kind of spoilers for Zeroes in this review. Not massive ones but you’d be able to guess how it ends from what I said. I think Swarm was even better than the first book actually, I hope you enjoy both when you pick them up. 🙂


  1. Ah I definitely need to start this series! It sounds like a really enjoyable read. Also, I’m glad that the authors seemed to improve on their characters. I’ve be adding this one to my list too! Hope you enjoy the final book once it’s released! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d highly recommend this series, the second book is much better than the first but the first is still a good read.
      The character development in this one is improving, I’ll be interested to see if that carries on in the last book as well.
      I hope so too, thanks Azia! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved this review! I agree on so many things. Anon’s character was SO great, one of my favourites for sure (the ending though??!) and so was Nate. I didn’t connect with Chizara as much either, but I do appreciate the diversity. The stakes were so much higher in this one, definitely! I can’t wait to read the next book. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Analee. Oh Anon has been amazing throughout this series, and yes that ending. I almost hope it’s not resolved too quickly in the next book because it’s something interesting that’s happened to his character.
      Oh yes the diversity is great to see in this series but it would be better if Chizara’s character has been better written in my opinion.
      Here’s hoping it’s not too long of a wait for the next one! 😀 ❤


  3. Finally, someone has read this book! I am honestly really impressed with this series because it is so original and diverse. Yeah, it has its flaws, but it’s such a fun read. The one thing I can’t wrap my head around was what the hell happened to Anon??? Do you understand what happened? Because I reread that section multiple times and I couldn’t figure it out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I haven’t seen many reviews for Zeroes, and actually none for Swarm on WordPress. But as soon as I finished the first book I need to get started on the second right away. 😀
      I’m still a little confused by what happened to Anon in the end as well. I think after he leveled up which enabled people to actually remember him seeing the Craig dead kind of turned him completely the other way, but instead of going back to normal he went too far and ended up completely erasing himself from everyone’s minds. Going completely anonymous rather than just part. At least that’s what I thought.
      I hope there are answers in the third book, and I hope someone remembers him soon as well (Maybe Nate given their powers are opposite of each other and kind of similar if Nate turns his opposite as well)!

      Liked by 1 person

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