X-Men meets Marissa Meyer’s Renegades when New York Times bestselling author of the Uglies series Scott Westerfeld teams up with award-winning authors Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti for this explosive trilogy filled with “cinematic nonstop action,” (Booklist) about six teens with unique abilities.
Don’t call them heroes.
But these six California teens have powers that set them apart.
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. 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.
About the Author
Scott Westerfeld is the author of the Leviathan series, the first book of which was the winner of the 2010 Locus Award for Best Young Adult Fiction. His other novels include the New York Times bestseller Afterworlds, the worldwide bestselling Uglies series, The Last Days, Peeps, So Yesterday, and the Midnighters trilogy. Visit him at ScottWesterfeld.com or follow him on Twitter at @ScottWesterfeld.
Margo Lanagan has been publishing stories for children, young adults and adult readers for twenty-five years. She has won numerous awards, including four World Fantasy Awards. Two of her books have been Michael L. Printz Honor books and she has been shortlisted for the Hugo and Nebula awards and for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the young adult division. Visit Margo at her blog, AmongAmidWhile.Blogspot.com, or follow her on Twitter at @MargoLanagan.
Deborah Biancotti has written two short story collections, Bad Power and A Book of Endings. She’s been nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award and the William L. Crawford Award for Best First Fantasy Book. You can find her online at DeborahBiancotti.com or on Twitter at @Deborah_B.
Read an Excerpt
Ethan jumped. It’d been a long night. “Okay.”
The waitress wasn’t even listening, the coffee pot dipping toward Ethan’s cup. Which was fine. The coffee was crap and he was already wired, but it gave him an excuse to keep sitting there.
He’d spent the last two hours hunched in a back booth of the Moonstruck Diner, staring out the window at the Cambria Central Bank. It was right across the street, and it opened at eight.
“Want anything else?” the waitress asked.
“I’m good. Thanks.”
He drank some more coffee. Still crap.
At least the bitter java gave him a reason to seem jumpy. Nobody would look at him and say, “Hey, that kid is real jumpy. Must have something to do with the army-green duffel bag under his feet.”
Nope. Nobody would blame the bag.
He glanced around the diner. Everyone was wrapped up in their own six a.m. thoughts. Nobody was even looking at him. Okay, one girl was looking at him. But she glanced away like she’d been caught staring. So apart from that one cute girl at the front of the diner, nobody was looking at him.
Besides, this was the middle of Main Street. Nobody would come rolling in to seize Ethan and his bag and haul them both out into the dawn. Nothing bad ever happened here in Cambria, California, population half a million during a college term.
The diner was filling up with delivery guys on breaks, respectable citizens in suits, and the occasional group of clubbers winding down. All Ethan had to do was watch the bank and wait for the doors to open.
Easy. As long as the waiting didn’t kill him.
“Seriously, it’s been five minutes. Can you stop with the coffee?”
The waitress looked stung.
“Sorry,” Ethan said. But she was already gone.
He pulled the duffel bag up and wedged it into a corner of the booth like a makeshift pillow. Which was pretty funny, given what was in the bag. It was the stuff in the bag that was keeping him awake. That, and the people looking for it.
He’d always known the voice would do this one day—get him into serious trouble. The voice didn’t care about consequences. The voice didn’t weigh up the pros and cons and then say, “Hey, Ethan, this is how you can get what you want.” The voice wasn’t sentient like that; it wasn’t smart. It didn’t negotiate. The voice just went for it. It lied and lied, and most of the time Ethan didn’t even know where the lies came from when they poured out of his mouth. How did the voice know half that stuff?
But Ethan had always known that one day he’d pay for all those lies.
Right now he was hoping today was not that day.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I may be a bit biased because I've loved all of Scott Westerfeld's young adult novels, but I thought this book was very good. Admittedly, the plot was nothing special. I felt this book was more of an introduction to the characters and world than a real plot-driven novel. The characters and their powers, however, are good enough to make this a very enjoyable read and I eagerly await more books featuring these characters.
Zeroes takes a different view on the superhero genre - the story is about powered teens, but it does not go into the 'great power great responsibility' trope. They are just regular teens who are living with their powers, however it benefits or inconveniences them. While being told from the perspectives of all 6 of the zeroes, the story starts when Scam (Ethan), who has the power to say whatever would give him what he wants, talks too much during an ongoing bank robbery, putting him in the crosshairs of the police, the bank robbers, and some drug dealers (whose money he had stole and was depositing in the bank during said bank robbery). Now, his old friends, all of whom have powers have to save him, despite tensions between all of them and their powers that come in the way of their friendship. The background of the relationships between the main characters is not told outright, and we unravel their troubled friendship as we go along the story. Each of them has a different take on their powers. Bellwether, their Glorious Leader, can manipulate people into following him, and has a gravity that they can't ignore. He is a bit shady, which Crash doesn't like - she actually comes the closest to the 'use powers for good' trope, but that is also because her power is one that is an inconvenience to her, and a danger if she lets loose. Same for Anon, who actually has an amazing power, but it leaves him isolated and is a psychological strain for him. Comparatively, Flicker is a blind girl whose powers actually allow her to see through other's eyes. And finally, a new player on the scene - Mob - can actually emotionally affect a crowd. When they all come together, they can band to get out of the sticky situation caused by Scam, and in the process mend their friendship. A central theme is about how they live with their powers - how they make it work for them, how they manage their downsides, how it affects their relationships with people, and how they can essentially be the only friends to each other. Even though Flicker has a twin, she feels more at home with the zeroes for the simple reason that the latter can understand what she is. The other arc - the robbers, the drug dealers, the on-the-run-from-police - played out well, while not grabbing attention away from building up the characters. Overall, it wasn't what I expecting but I liked it nevertheless.
I thought it was a good book, slow at times but a fun read nonetheless. I thought the storyline was a fascinating one. I liked how each character got their own chapters. I felt I got to know each of their personalities and powers better this way. I love how different they are from one another and how their different powers work well together. They were such a good dysfunctional group. Out of all the powers, Scam probably has the suckiest. It seemed to cause more trouble than help him out. Poor dude. lol. My favorites were Flicker and Anon. There was just something about them that made me love them. I just found all the characters great. I’m interested to see where these non-superheroes go and what adventures they come across next. Stayed tuned until then.
This book can only be described as art. Westerfield, along with his co-authors, create a vivid world with well planned characters inside. The action keeps you on your toes and the plot, while being nothing to special, is still presented in a exciting manner. A must read for all Hero's fans!
Short version: I loved this book. It is exactly the series I needed to read before getting to finish reading Brandon Sanderson's Reckoners series because I realize now I need a steady flow of new YA superhero novels to keep coming. Because they are awesome and exciting and full of fun in a way that is completely different from watching the latest Marvel movie or binge watching their latest TV show. If this isn't a thriving subgenre already, Sanderson and Westerfeld will have breathed life into that subgenre. If you are like my wife, who hates shifting viewpoints with each chapter, this book will drive you crazy. After all, there are six main characters who all share a portion of the spotlight over the course of the book. Some of them are featured in more POV chapters than others, which makes perfect sense as you get further into the story. But all of them seem to be rounded out as characters and I finished with a perfect sense of who all of them are and what it appears each one of them wants. The book begins with a team in dysfunction, having broken up a year prior to the beginning of the book. So immediately you sense that the arc is going to involve the team getting back together and becoming Zeroes again. But a lot of dynamics complicate this goal from being achieved, which leaves you questioning even until the end whether or not this basic objective will be accomplished. The coolest thing about this book is, by far, the powers that each of the six main characters have and how they interact with the world around them, and accomplish their objectives, using those unique powers. These are not your typical stock superpowers like super strength, invisibility, flight, telekinesis, or regeneration. Instead you have things like breaking electronics, controlling the emotions of large crowds, being able to see through other peoples' eyes, having a voice that knows the right things to say...some of the time, and being able to "disappear" by being forgotten the moment they look away from you. There is one thing they all have in common: they were all born in the year 2000, thus the name Zeroes. I loved the dynamics that groups played upon the powers throughout the story, where most powers got stronger in large crowds while others might work best one-on-one. The unpredictability of things, not only the powers but also the decisions and the way events unraveled, made this an interesting and exciting read. The entire book flowed well and made sense, beginning to end, which made for a completely immersive experience. That is exactly what you want from a fantasy book. Westerfeld, Lanagan, and Biancotti deliver an impressive novel that feels seamless from beginning to end. Unlike some other collaborations, there was no clear shift in quality or tone to indicate one of the other authors was writing. And that is what you hope for in a collaborative package.
I wasn't really sure what to expect, seeing as two other authors worked on this one besides Mr. Westerfeld. That being said, I really liked it. I couldn't figure out which chapters where written by whom, but I did enjoy the cursing in multiple languages. I'm looking forward to seeing what the Zeroes get themselves into in the next book.
Omg i just got it its sooooo good like yesssss