One bag of stolen drug money.
One bungled bank robbery.
Six unique powers.
One action-packed week.
These teens have powers that set them apart. But don’t call them heroes. They are the ZEROES.
Ethan, aka Scam, has a voice inside him that will say whatever people 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 and lands him in a whole lot of trouble. The only people who can help are the other Zeroes, who aren’t exactly his best friends these days.
After Scam’s SOS, Nate, aka Bellwether – the group’s ‘glorious leader’ – summons the other Zeroes for a rescue mission. 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. Can they put aside their differences and work together to keep everyone safe – or will it be the worst week of their lives?
Joey @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts has been pestering me to read Zeroes for a couple of weeks now so I finally picked up a copy. My bookstore had signed copies so when I saw it, I had to pick it up. I’ve just finished reading the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children trilogy, so what better way to prolong my feels than to pick up another book about kids with superpowers?
Zeroes is the first book in a new urban fantasy series (does anyone know how many books?) with a diverse cast of characters. It was thrilling and exciting, and a really quick read. Despite being 500 pages, I finished this in almost one sitting because the chapters are very short. The writing flowed very smoothly and it was a joy to read. I also couldn’t tell which author wrote which chapters, which is a testament to how seamlessly the book was woven together and edited. This book is a multi-POV book, written from six perspectives, but it didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the book because it flowed so smoothly from one perspective to the next..
This book is set in Cambria, California in an urban setting. Because of this, there was very little world building required. I went into the book half-expecting it to be set in Sydney, Australia because all three of the authors are based in Sydney. But let’s be real… when are books ever set in Australia? It’s been a while since I’ve picked up an urban fantasy book though so I really appreciated the familiar setting in Zeroes.
I really enjoyed the pace of the writing for most of this book. The beginning of the novel was very eventful but the pace and excitement levels of it really dropped off for 100-150 pages in the aftermath of the rescue mission, as we were getting to know the characters. The writing became very reflective and it just felt slow and draggy to me. There wasn’t much action or plot during this section either, so I felt like I was just sitting there waiting for something to happen. Luckily it picked up at around the halfway mark when I started liking the characters more – it became a character-driven book rather than a plot-driven book.
The characters had some interesting and unique abilities that I’ve never encountered before. They were kind of mind-boggling at times but the authors did a great job at explaining them. I still had a little bit of a hard time understanding how Kelsie and Nate’s powers worked though. They both have the ability to control groups/crowds in some way, but I couldn’t grasp how these abilities actually worked. Most of their superpowers also seemed more like a curse than a blessing.
“Your power is a blessing. But as far as I can tell, the rest of these guys are pretty much cursed.”
I had a hard time connecting with the characters until about the halfway point. While the book is written from all six perspectives of the Zeroes, the first half of the book is mostly narrated from Ethan and Kelsie’s points of view, and I didn’t really like either of them until the very end of the novel. I didn’t like them individually. I didn’t like them together. My dislike for them just made it really hard for me to enjoy the first half of the book.
When Anonymous, the handsome and well-dressed guy of the group, finally made his appearance, I became enamoured with the book. He was by far my favourite character because his story was so interesting. He’s the guy who is invisible to the world – people forget about him as soon as they turn their backs to him. As the book progresses, he develops friendships with some of the other Zeroes and they were so heartwarming to read about. I also enjoyed Flicker, a blind girl who is able to see the world through the eyes of others. I really connected with her character and her perspective was my favourite to read from.
The other two characters, Crash (a girl who can control all things electronic and crash them) and Nate, the charismatic ringleader of the Zeroes, I could’ve done without. I have zero thoughts or opinions about Crash – her superpower is kind of cool though and she’s pretty much the one who saves the day each time. She barely appeared in this book and the only time we really got to see her was when she was rescuing everyone. And Nate… wow I just hated this guy. He wasn’t in the book very much either, but he came off as obnoxious and it appears that he has some selfish, ulterior motives.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. The plot was fast-paced and exciting but what stood out to me the most were the characters and the dynamics between them. I’m not sure if this needs to be a series though – I was thoroughly satisfied with how this book ended, and you can definitely read it as a standalone.