Author: Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti
Page Count/Review Word Count: 552
Disclaimer: While I aim to be unbiased, I received a copy of this for free to review.
This is one of the best books that I’ve been sent in a long time, and I’ve already been recommending it to my friends and family – I’m certainly recommending it to you! What’s not to love? This epic story follows the story of the Zeroes, a group of friends with superpowers. Just because they have superpowers, though, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re superheroes – in fact, the main characters are in their late teens, and each of them has to come to terms with their ability.
You see, each of the superpowers comes with a downside – the blurb puts it better than I ever could: “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 talking in the middle of a bank robbery and gets you into a whole heap of trouble.” Meanwhile, there’s a character who can manipulate electronic devices, but with the caveat that they get headaches whenever they’re around them. My favourite weakness, though, came with my favourite character – damn, what’s his name again?
It’s with this character that Westerfeld and co. show a serious level of genius, to me – there was a guy called Thibault, whose codename was ‘Anonymous‘, and his superpower was that people could forget him, even if he was in the same room as them. That comes with the worst drawbacks of all – he has no choice about whether people remember him, as he found out when he was a child and almost died after his parents took him to a hospital and left him there, and then forgot about him. How can someone like that ever be loved?
I won’t go too much into the story line, but suffice to say that it’s a rollocking tale of friendship and camaraderie, and I hope that the authors produce further books in the series for me to feast upon. Loosely speaking, though, it follows the Zeroes as they get embroiled in a bank robbery and Scam ends up getting himself into a little bit of trouble. Scam said some things, using the voice, and they almost tore the Zeroes apart. Can they find friendship again, when tested? There’s only one way for you to find out, and that’s to read the book.
Another interesting aspect to this was that it had a cinematic feel – I could imagine it working well on the big screen, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the film option has already been discussed. Now, I don’t normally go to watch superhero movies, but this would be different – as their name suggests, the Zeroes aren’t exactly Iron Man, and close combat isn’t their forte. These guys (and girls) live on their wits, and on the sheer strength of their personalities. There’s also another reason why they’re called Zeroes, but you’ll have to read the book to find that out – it worked well with the story though, and whilst it wasn’t exactly vital, it was an excellent touch. Definitely read this.