Review: Zeroes

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One bad of stolen drug money.

One bungled bank robbery.

Six teenagers.

Six unique powers.

One action packed week.

These teens have powers that set them apart. But don’t call them heroes. They are ZEROES.

Ethan, aka “Scam,” has a way with words. When he opens his mouth, whatever he wants you to hear comes out. But Ethan isn’t just a smooth talker. He has a unique ability to say things he doesn’t consciously even know. Sometimes the voice helps, but sometimes it hurts – like now, when the voice has lied and has landed Ethan in a massive mess.

So now Ethan needs help. And he needs to go to the last people who would ever want to help him – his former group of friends, the self-named “zeros” who also all possess similarly double-edged abilities, and who are all angry at Ethan for their own respective reasons. Brought back together by Scam’s latest mischief, they find themselves entangled in an epic, whirlwind adventure packed with as much interpersonal drama as mind-bending action.


This book is dauntingly long. It’s about 500 pages long, but I guarantee you, you will love every single one of those pages. The first thing I thought when I looked at this book was: “Ew. Not a superhero book. How clichéd”. I feel like superhero books have done their time. The coming of age story where the country kid learns that he’s telekinetic, and practices his skill on tyres, only to be picked up either by the government or by other superhero kids? Old. The story about a band of teenagers who form a crew to save the world from another kid with superpowers? Old.

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But this though. It should be old. A band of kids who have superpowers train and fight bad guys. But no. This is something completely different. And here’s why.

The powers. The powers are completely different from anything that I’ve ever heard of. Instead of the girl who can read minds and the boy who can set things on fire, it’s the boy with a voice and a girl with no eyes. On the note that comes with the book (at least, for us reviewers it says this), Scott says that he’s spent a few years thinking about these superpowers and I totally believe him because they’re different, they’re unique, and they’re damn interesting.

But good ideas mean nothing if you can’t write them down well, and how do three of the most experiences YA writers botch up writing? Well, they don’t.

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The writing is beautifully detailed, and moves along at a tremendous pace. The powers are described extremely well, and in complete detail until we are brought into the body of the character themselves. We live in the character, and we feel what the character feels. Especially the emotion-focused powers. I won’t say much, in avoidance of spoiling the book, but the book is absolutely superb when it comes to dealing with describing emotion-manipulating, and abstract powers. Job well done, and credit where credit is due.

At the start of the book, I don’t like Ethan. He’s self-centred and money obsessed. He never thinks of the consequences of his actions, and does things for his own selfish reasons. He’s even trying to hide something from the people who just saved his life! However, as the book progresses, we seem him slowly mature and become less self-centred. Which is good, because you know how I feel about selfish, arrogant characters in books (ahemDemonRoadahem).

I think there were a few flaws with the book, the biggest one being the unnecessary instant love between two certain characters. Actually, you know what, now that I think about it, nearly every single character had a love story going with another person in the Zeroes. This was probably unnecessary and seemed to be there just to fulfil the required love story of a YA novel.

However, a good aspect of this book was the way everybody had their own story, their own plot line. Rather than everybody working towards a common goal (although this was true as well), and everybody just being actors in the “Common Goal’ movie, it was more like “here are my characters, and they all have backstories and plot graphs but they also all happen to be connected by this Common Goal.” The Common Goal wasn’t the only plot in the story, and this took the story to a new level. Many individual complicated plot points, tied together with a Common Goal?

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Thank you to Allen and Unwin for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest opinion!


Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆ 9/10


Zeroes is out now. Buy at your local bookstore.


The Info:

  • Title: Zeroes
  • Author: Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti
  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse  (September 23rd, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1481443364
  • URL: GoodreadsAmazon, Scott Westerfeld
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