Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld book review

It’s Heroes to Zeroes in this book from Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti

If the words ‘Save the cheerleader, save the world’ means anything to you then it is imperative you make Zeroes the next book on your to-read list.

Not only will it stir up memories of a time when Zachary Quinto was the most menacing character on television, it will introduce you to an unusual group of teenagers with superpowers they have no idea how to control.

Estranged ‘Zero’ Ethan finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. The voice within him takes over, but scamming his way out of trouble only serves to unleash a catalogue of events that he cannot deal with.

Reluctantly Glorious Leader, Nate dispatches the other Zeroes to help, but having not seen Ethan or his spiteful voice for over a year, emotions are high, and superpowers are not easy to keep in check.

Aimed at the young adult market, Zeroes is the first of a collaborative trilogy, with this first instalment introducing us neatly to the main characters and their codenames that represent each of their bizarre abilities.

Scam, Crash, Anon, Flicker and Bellwether – for those with little farming knowledge, the lead sheep in a flock – lead the narrative in turn, with so many viewpoints that it’s not easy to bond with the characters.

In truth some of them are not likeable at all. Scam in particular is a sneaky, pain in the ass with a bad haircut, while Flicker and her sight-through-other-eyes ability is creepy and voyeuristic, quite an achievement for a 15-year old.

Annoying characters aside, there is so much to love about Zeroes and not just the unavoidable comparison with Tim Kring’s Heroes.

The children are vulnerable, things rarely go their way, and parents ask too many questions; reality isn’t suspended just because this is science fiction. Bring on book two.