I have this really odd relationship with super-power books: I like the thought of them more than the actual reading part. IT’S SO ANNOYING AND THE BANE OF MY EXISTENCE, TO BE HONEST. I gobble superhero movies and read comics and wear nerdy Avenger tee-shirts. But 99% of the time I find YA superhero books feel generic.
And for Zeroes, I wasn’t invested in the characters and I spent half the time totally befuddled. was seriously confused most of the time. It references all this stuff about “last summer” with inside referneces and jokes and HELLO, I DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED LAST SUMMER. WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?? I’m getting left out of my own conversation here, sheesh. Zeroes felt like a sequel! It’s great to cut straight to the action, BUT. Without backstory, I WAS SO CONFUSED.
Everyone had super cool powers, though. SUPER COOL. (Har har, get it? Super…and…okay, never mind. I’ll keep my cheesy jokes to myself.) Like controlling crowds and being unmemorable and seeing through other people’s eyes. IT WAS SO UNIQUE.
But even though that was cool…I felt exactly zlich for the characters because there. were. so. many. of. them. There were six narrators! SIX. And (since I read A Game of Thrones) I’m no stranger to books with millions of POVs, but I feel the difference here is Zeroes changes POV every few pages. So 67 million narrators getting, like, two pages each? I don’t get long enough in anyone’s head to really connect with them. PLUS IT’S SO HARD TO REMEMBER EVERYONE.
BRIEF LOOK AT THE MONSTROUSLY LARGE CHARACTER CAST:
- Ethan / Scam: We begin the book with him. He’s this kind of dorky, annoying, whiny kid whose power is this Voice that says what people want to hear. So he can basically talk himself out of ANYTHING. As a character, he was interesting and I think he went through the most development. But he was super whingey and selfish and…eh. An idiot. But then the entire book wouldn’t exist without his idiocy, so there you go.
- Kelsie / Mob: She’s not part of the Zeroes clique…YET. She’s this criminal’s daughter and her power is crowd-control. Seriously! She can make them rage or chill.
- Thibault / Anonymous: HE IS MY ABSOLUTE ADORABLE FAVOURITE. He’s anonymous! People literally forget him the second they see him. So not invisible…just totally unforgettable. To the point where even his family doesn’t remember him. (His name is pronounced Teebo, by the way.) HE WAS SU CUTE AND SAD AND I LIKED HIM.
- Riley / Flicker: What is the point of her face?? I don’t even know??? She was barely in the book so why was she even there? She’s blind but she can see through other people’s eyeballs.
- Nate / Bellwether: He’s The Leader, huzzah, bow to him. He’s totally absolutely booooring as all leaders must be. And I don’t understand his code name. (Bellwether?!?) I think he controls minds.
- Chizara / Crash: While her power was EPIC (she crashes technology!) I really care about exactly 2% about her and her chapters were dull.
…if there had been LESS POV chapters and more FOCUS on just a few of these characters (and therefore have time to flesh them out), I’d totally have engaged better.
It was a solid action book, but not memorable for me. I just wasn’t feelin’ it, folks. The whole “this is a sequel” vibe threw me off. And what is the point of these teenage mutants? They fought crime and mobsters, but only accidentally. I don’t get what the OVERALL point of them is. They’re not so much superheroes as average kids with powers.
My favourite part was finding out that “Thibault” is pronounced “Teebo”, and I swear ALL my children will be named Teebo because it’s the cutest name in the universe. Failing my children (since I have none, since I am young) I WILL NAME MY GOLDFISH TEEBO. (I have no goldfish either, but shush, I will overcome this.)
THANK YOU TO ALLEN AND UNWIN FOR THE REVIEW-COPY! Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti is published October 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 installment of a thrilling new series.
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