For What It's Worth

For What It's Worth

Monday, October 5, 2015

Review: Zeroes (Zeroes #1) by Scott Westerfield, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti



24885636Ethan, aka "Scam," has a way with words. When he opens his mouth, whatever he wants you to hear comes out. But Ethan isn't just a smooth talker. He has a unique ability to say things he doesn't consciously even know. Sometimes the voice helps, but sometimes it hurts - like now, when the voice has lied and has landed Ethan in a massive mess. So now Ethan needs help. And he needs to go to the last people who would ever want to help him - his former group of friends, the self-named "zeros" who also all possess similarly double-edged abilities, and who are all angry at Ethan for their own respective reasons. Brought back together by Scam's latest mischief, they find themselves entangled in an epic, whirlwind adventure packed with as much interpersonal drama as mind-bending action. ~ Goodreads

Source: ARC provided by the publisher (via BEA15) in exchange for an honest review

Review:   The first book in a series can be slower paced or a little scattered as the author (or in this case authors) set the stage for their world building and characters before it’s all tied together. I understand that but this it felt more like a set up for the next book in the series. And at 560 pages, with 6 different pov’s I was bored.

The biggest problem I had with Zeroes is that the entire premise is based on something that happened before the events in this book and we only get brief flashbacks. I guess that was supposed to help tie the group of “Zeroes” together and show that they had an already established bond. But it made me feel like we missed the origin story – which let’s face it – is always more interesting – and left me disconnected from most of the characters.

I’ll back up a little to explain.

The Zeroes are a group of 6 teenagers, born in 2000, that all have some type of cool power. Crashing technology, getting people to bend to your will, a blind girl who can see through other people’s eyes, invisibility etc…They went on training missions together although what these training missions were is never explained.

Ethan’s power is a voice that takes over when he needs to get out of a jam or helps Ethan get his own way. It’s a brutally honest voice – unlike Ethan’s natural wavering, insecure rambling voice. The voice knows facts about people that freaks them out and gets Ethan into trouble as often as it saves him. He has no control over it once it starts.

So “last summer” Ethan’s voice let rip with what seems like major truth bombs to the other Zeroes, highlighting their deepest truths and insecurities. The fight fractured the group and they went their separate ways. I think. It isn’t really clear. Maybe just Ethan left and they still trained? I don’t know.
Like I said, “last summer” sounded like a way cooler story. I would have loved to read how they met or how they trained. What their relationships were before.

Ethan gets into major trouble because of his voice and the team reunites for this one time mission to save Ethan, which snowballs into also saving a girl and her father.

I will say that the powers were cool. When they interacted and worked as a team it was a fun book. Unfortunately that didn’t happen enough and 6 different pov’s kept me from caring too deeply about any of them or the outcome. And they don’t work as a team very often.

The big threat (for this book anyway) has nothing to do with being super heroes. It’s just a catalyst to bring them back together so it was kind of boring. I didn’t really care about saving someone I don’t even know.

The Zeroes spend most of the book whining about how Ethan hurt their feelings. Boo fricken hoo. His voice was honest and - as fellow teens struggling with your own powers – a little understanding and sympathy for Ethan would have been nice. Do you think he wants to blurt out these things and lose his friends? He’s not perfect by any means but they can all do damage with their powers.

The one other thing I just couldn't handle was Nate, the leader of their group. He felt so cartoonish to me. And everyone calls him Glorious Leader. I. Just. can’t. With that. It seemed so cheesy that I giggled every time I read it. I just couldn’t take him seriously. At all.

If you love super hero stories and are a more patient reader than I, give Zeroes a shot. The premise is interesting, the powers very cool and I think the next book will pull things together. But for me, it’s way too long to wade through to only have 3-4 chapters that grab my attention.

16 comments:

  1. That is...I would have given up, but then I DNf freely these days

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    1. I'm getting better about dnf'ing but I wanted to see if this all came together and turned into something cool. It did not lol

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  2. I suppose the not-so-good things that bugged you would annoy me as well, if a little...but the good things you pointed out are still enough to make me want to read it. I'll take this one with a grain of salt, though. (I suppose...because sometimes I end up deleting books from my TBR list after months and months, if I haven't gotten to buy them yet. LOL).

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    1. Maybe a few less pov's or if this book was split up so we got the "before" and this would have worked better for me.

      I think the next book will be better now that they are working together.

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  3. I am not always the most patient reader, so maybe not for me

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    1. It's a looong book> I might have been more tolerant if it was shorter and moved faster.

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  4. Totally forgot to mention the last time I showed up, but I love the Halloween vibe!!! That cat totally digs the with hat hehe :D I have seen this series around the book blogging community, but haven't given any serious thought in to reading it. I hate that the entire premise revolves around something that happened before the book happened. I would feel disconnected, too. Those powers sound awesome though!

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    1. Thank you! The hat adds an extra yoga balance challenge lol

      It was weird because they keep referring to the training and drills they did and that sounded like so much more fun than the stuff Iw as reading about.

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  5. I couldn't get into The Uglies so this one isn't really even on my TBR.

    (but honestly...Glorious Leader? What on earth was the inspiration to these characters? They sound like stick figures!)

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    1. I think it was meant to poke fun at times butt hen other times I think he's dead serious. I can't read a teen being called Glorious Leader either way lol

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  6. Well, I may be able to deal with Ethan's winey-ness.... may. However, the problems with Nate? Um no. I cannot stand characters like that. I do think I'll pass. Brilly review tho! Happy Monday (well, we can wish it, right?).

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    1. I liked Ethan. Which is why I probably hated everyone else. lol They were always mad at him or bringing up how his "voice" hurt them. I really did understand but it's not like they were perfect with their powers either.

      Harumph! lol

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  7. I don't read this genre to begin with so I'm happy I'm spared of it :D

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    1. It sounded kind of interesting - maybe being 100 pages shorter would have helped.

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  8. This post made me laugh! Excellent review and very thoughtful.

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