Series: Zeroes, #1
Author: Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: September 23rd, 2015
Length: 546 pages | 12 hours, 28 minutes
Source: Borrowed from my local library
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 installment of a thrilling new series.
I know part of my rating here is a bias against the audiobook, which had a bad narrator (she couldn’t differentiate character voices, and her concept of “male voice” was to drop an octave and basically whisper/growl, so I couldn’t hear anything, plus her emotional range was at odds with what was being written, through emphasizing the wrong words). So maybe, without the audiobook side, this would be more of a B book? I’m not sure.
To be honest, having read things like The Darkest Minds, where teens have superpowers and the entire story is tense and fraught and emotional, and having loved the show Misfits, where teens with superpowers make bad life choices and it’s hilarious, I found Zeroes lacking. I only mildly cared about one character, because she had compassion. We’re not supposed to like Scam, of course, but his redemption arc felt forced. The ending, especially, threw me off. If Glorious Leader is supposed to be manipulative, controlling, and clever (possibly starting down the path to diabolical), why is he such an idiot at the end, and doesn’t even think to use his power? If that was intentional, to shake his confidence in himself, why does no one, not even Nate himself, consider it after that moment? It just felt rushed and pointless.
Overall, I say give this one a pass. Life is too short for mediocre YA.