Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti

I’m a big Scott Westerfeld fan and was pretty psyched to start reading Zeroes. It is the story about 6 teenagers who each have a unique, special power. I wouldn’t call them “super powers,” though they were pretty cool:

  • Flicker is blind but can see through other people’s eyes.
  • Crash is able to “feel” electric and electronic fields and manipulate them.
  • Mob can influence the mood of a crowd.
  • Anonymous is someone who people immediately forget about.
  • Scam has a “voice” that always knows what to say to get what he wants.
  • The Glorious Leader can make a crowd listen and trust him.

Early on Mob’s father makes some bad choices and Scam’s voice generates some trouble. The group ends up trying to deal with and fix those things. The powers are different (no flying or super strength) and have built-in limitations. However, when they work together, as they end up doing in the story, then they can do incredible things.

The story has a lot of promise.and I found myself judging it based on its potential rather than its actuality. Whenever comparing an ideal with the real, the actual tends to come off worse, which was true for Zeroes. The story switches between the six characters, telling us what is going on from different perspectives. The point of view, problems, and goals of each character is unique, but I would have liked the book more if it focused on one of the characters instead of being a revolving perspective. As it was, you got the chance to kind of like all of them but didn’t get the chance to really like any of them.

I was pretty excited when reading the first few chapters, but my interest waned because the pacing and story were uneven. This was a book that took a few months to finish, with several others read during that time. I had purchased the Kindle ebook edition of Zeroes and there was an upsell to add the audio for a small price. Maybe I could finish the book by listening to it on my phone while walking the dog? I listened to a few chapters of the audio version and thought the reader was good but ended up finishing it at the beach after reading my other books.That gives you a clue about my evaluation: it was good enough to finish but wasn’t gripping.

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