Thursday, January 21, 2016

Zeroes - Scott Westerfeld

Summary: 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. (Summary and image from

Review:  Hmm.  Okay, I loved the Uglies series.  I haven't found a series from Westerfeld since that I've enjoyed nearly as much.  It was with trepidation that picked up this series, courtesy of Buzzfeed's ridiculous quiz (I mentioned it in an earlier post), but I was sort of intrigued by the idea.  Normal world, normal kids, normal lives, but supernormal abilities.

I couldn't tell if I didn't like this book because of my frame of mind (pained and bored), because of the language (holy swears!), or because the story wasn't quite good enough.  I didn't love it.  The characters were decently developed, the central conflict was frankly ridiculous, and the interpersonal relationships were eye-roll inducing.  I found myself so frustrated with the main characters, who blatantly ignored the slightest shred of reason because of a personal and misguided grudge that it was hard to care for any of them.

Don't get me wrong.  This isn't a book that's just been called in by Westerfeld.   He tries so hard, too hard, to get his readers to care for every single one of the Zeroes, even the smarmy ones.  But it just fell flat for me.  Frankly, it made me worry whether I was finally too old to get the whole YA genre.  I wanted to scream at the book, "USE YOUR WORDS, silly characters!!!  Listen with your ears, and use your words!! Ugh."  And yet, I kept reading.

I don't know if I'll pick up the next book in the series.  I just don't know if I can be brought around to care for these characters.

Rating:  Two and a half stars

For the Sensitive Reader:  Gang and mafia violence, drug use, drug pushing, ridiculous amounts of the F word ... I'd think long and hard before recommending this to someone who is sensitive.

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