Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti
Series: Zeroes, #1
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Release Date: September 29th, 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository
Subversion, superheroes, and Scott Westerfeld are three of my favorite S's, so I was looking forward to see how this book would play out (also before anyone says anything about the last S, I know there are three authors but I am not familiar with the other two and their names are not S names so do not start with me).
I love stories where the main characters aren't, well, the heroes. I find it so enamoring exploring the multifaceted nature of people and the way they can be so much. I absolutely am here for the concept of a superhero that isn't the typical "fly around in a mask, tight suit, and cape and save the city from imminent disaster day after day" and I am so about the idea that your superpower might not be all it's cracked up to be. Everyone wants to be an Avenger, but what if your lot in life is a "reject/crappy" superpower? I like that this is a book about the other superheroes, the ones that aren't living it up in Stark tower anytime soon.
The powers themselves were pretty cool. Like I said, I liked that they were fleshed out and were hindrances as much as they were helpful. We had Ethan, who had another voice in him that could say whatever one wanted to hear and charm his way places, but the voice didn't shut up when the situations seemed like they'd be trouble; Kelsie; who can control the energy of a crowd, which can go happy or anxious; Thibault, who's got the invisibility with a catch: everyone forgets him; Riley, who's blind but can see through other people's eyes; and the leader, Nate, who can make people follow him.
I wasn't sure if I liked that there was a clear-cut leader just appointed like that. I usually prefer when groups exist in books and leaders emerge through character development. Also speaking of character development, I feel like the book was so long but there was so little fleshing of the characters? I can see why because there was a rotating cast of first-person narrators to switch between and that forced the authors to make some sacrifices, and it wasn't like they were static characters by any means. I just wished some aspects of their selves came across a little bit more.
My only other real negative is the pacing. I'm not sure if I would call it slow exactly but it didn't work for me 100%. There was just a lot of switching between characters and they each told tiny bits of things happening and then back to another character and while it did pick up towards the middle it took me a lot longer to read it than I anticipated, even though I did like the story a lot. However, both the pace thing and the character thing are still only enough to knock one star off, although I'm still mulling the book over.
Now that we've got negatives out of the way, I was super into the story! Throughout the whole book, you could really see the characters struggling to come together as a team, and I loved that the authors highlighted the problems with trying to be heroes. The plot raised a lot of questions about who to trust, which characters would act which way, etc and I liked that it wasn't assumed that once the team got back together they'd just cooperate and be best friends.
The characters I mentioned before, although they might not have been 100% what I wanted developmentally personality wise, their stories were brought to life quite well. I was engaged reading about how they influenced one another and the world around them, as well as how their powers worked. These aspects of the story were definitely well-thought out and well executed.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I thought it was a new and refreshing concept and I can't wait to see more from these authors.
Think carefully: if you had a superpower, what would it be?
Let us know in the comments!