Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld/Margo Lanagan/Deborah Biancotti (Book Review)

zeroesDon’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.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Page Count: 546 pages

I went into this book, knowing barely anything about the plot. Apparently there were some teens with crappy superpowers, but that was about everything I had heard. It’s weird, but sometimes I just love going into a story blind (like with Star Wars Episode VII – am I glad I knew nothing beforehand), because in the end you just get surprised so much more.

So, I had no idea this was the first installment of a sort of urban superhero YA series or that there were a total of 6 POVs! By now, I am no stranger to multiple POVs, I’ve read Seven Ways We Lie this very month after all, but I am still not a huge fan of them. It is so tricky to balance them all, but Zeroes did a pretty good job on it. The book has a decent length, so you do get to hear everyone’s side of the story. The chapters were all fairly short and the POV changed so many times and I think what bothered me a little bit, was that not every character got the same amount of page-time (my version of bookish screen-time) as others. I can’t help but still wonder if it was truly necessary to give them each their own voice. I guess the answer to that is yes, even if I don’t really want to admit it, because otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to discover their powers firsthand!

The superpowers are some of the most original and coolest that I have ever seen! They were really well thought through and consistent in logic during the entire story, but since this is the first part of the series, there is still so much more to explore. However, the powers are way more personal than in some other stories, corresponding with the characters and their surrounding itself instead of being some sort of mystical thing. I thought about breaking the powers down into characters, but I am not sure I could properly explain them anyway. So, instead of trying to tell you what they can do, I will tell you what I liked or disliked about them!

  • Ethan/Scam: Everything comes into motion because of him and he is a bit of a tricky character. While he is whiny and always nervous, I think people don’t give him enough credit. Everyone criticizes that he can’t control himself, but the others can’t do it either, so I think that’s a little unfair of them.
  • Kelsie/Mob: Kelsie is the kind of girl that can really get a party started (in more than one sense in this story). She’s quirky and fun and really likable.
  • Nate/Bellwether: I am sorry, but I think I liked him the least. As leader of the group he was just really sketchy and sleek. I get why they all followed him, but I sometimes seriously doubted that his interest in the group.
  • Chizara/Crash: Like with Nate, I had some issues with her. While her moral compass is definitely pointing in the right direction, I thought she was just so self-righteous and a bit of a hypocrite. I have trouble liking those kind of people, but she does have a cool power.
  • Riley/Flicker: She is the sweet, blind girl that gets underestimated by the world. I loved her connection with her twin sister, but I did have a little trouble understanding her love life, since I interpreted some stuff different than I should have in the beginning. I usually never get romantic chemistry wrong, so this threw me off a little.
  • Thibault/Anonymous: DEFINITELY MY FAVOURITE OF THE BUNCH! He was the most developed in my opinion, while also being the one I wanted to know more about still. He is a good example for a character who didn’t get enough page-time, because his backstory was just so devastating, I would have loved to hear more of his thoughts.

In the end there wasn’t that much development, but a lot still happened. You can’t imagine what all can happen in a week! Even though I didn’t explain all too much, I hope my opinion still came across. I just want to say that I had a really good time reading this, but I think there is room for improvement in the next installments. Also, as cool as the powers were, I wouldn’t want to have a single one of them …

Fazit: 3.8/5 stars! A fun and really adventurous read as well as a great start to a series!


I am still totally slaying my TBR this month, even though I think I might make a couple of changes to it. Have you read Zeroes? What is your stand on it?

16 thoughts on “Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld/Margo Lanagan/Deborah Biancotti (Book Review)

  1. I’m happy that you enjoyed this, Kat! I hope that the future installments only get better. I’m probably one of the few people that don’t really care for the Marvel superheroes or superpowers type of themes. So I don’t have any plans to read this one, but Scott Westerfeld is a fantastic author. I really enjoyed his Uglies series when I read it as a preteen. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This cover is so much better than the one I had. XD
    I only like Anon though… 😛 I swear the only reason I finished the book was for him! He really didn’t get enough page time 😀
    Nice review!


  3. Great review! I went to a book signing with the three authors — they each wrote two characters but are keeping who wrote who secret. Scott’s name is just bigger bc he’s more famous here…the Australian version has all three names equally sized.

    I wanted to share that they said the characters with less chapters in book one will have significantly more chapters in the following books…which means Anon will be much more featured.

    Thought you might want to know!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for sharing! That is great news and also so intriguing. I wonder who wrote which character now …
      I wish I could go to book signings, but here in Vienna they are very rare … at least for the kind of authors I want to meet.


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