Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld

Although written by multiple authors, Zeroes finds its own voice and is consistent throughout. Using the Spiderman theme of, “With great power comes great responsibility”, the story follows the POVs of six characters who have inexplicably developed very unique abilities. The book remains grounded by making sure each power has both advantages and serious disadvantages; fortunately, none of the teens are sociopaths so we avoid a lot of cliches of the ‘kids with superpowers’ genre.


Story: Several teens who have powers have banded together loosely. Calling themselves “zeroes” (they were all born in 2000 and zeroes rhymes with heroes), they are working together to develop their unusual talents. Belwether, the leader, can inspire and influence. Scam has a ‘voice’ that can tell someone exactly what he needs to hear to give Ethan what he wants. Flicker is blind but can see through the eyes of others. Anonymous simply disappears and Crash can take down electronics. When Scam gets into trouble, the group find they have to save him; but doing so has consequences and people are hurt. As Scam accidentally gets them deeper and deeper, they will need to figure out their own place in the world in order to save each other from lethal drug dealers, exploding buildings, and some very interesting romances.

I really enjoyed all the characters. They were well drawn and there were none that I wanted to skip or whose viewpoint I found annoying. That’s important in a book with several POVs; usually, I find I like certain characters more than others and so POV changes were very irritating. But here, every POV change was welcome and I even looked forward to each new chapter.

Appreciably, the super-powers are not the usual X-Men variations. No telekinesis or mind reading here. And obviously, each of the characters has to learn to deal with the downside of their power. E.g., being anonymous means your parents don’t even remember you; Scam’s ‘voice’ knows exactly how to cut to the bone with words if he gets mad at someone; Crash is in severe pain around electrical systems. Interestingly enough, the powers seem to magnify in crowds – except Scam’s Voice and Crash’s electronics.

The story unfolds organically and moves briskly despite the somewhat large page count. The dialogue is natural and certainly little world building is needed since it is set in the modern day (though we never learn about why some y2K born kids have powers). There is a clear arc and the book ends on a satisfying note but with room for continuation. In all, a great read and one I enjoyed. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

This entry was posted in urban fantasy, YA and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld

  1. Great review! This is one of my most anticipated books of the fall. 😊

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