Review: Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti



This book is absolutely fantastic. It takes the description of hero to a whole new level. Being written by three authors this book has a level of deep cohesion that I hadn’t expected.

Zeroes Scott Westerfeld Margo Lanagan Deborah BiancottiFirstly, let me introduce you to the Zeroes.


Nate a.k.a Glorious Leader
Codename: Bellweather
Power: Ability to draw the attention of people towards a particular purpose.

Codename: Scam
Power: Has a voice that will say whatever in order for Ethan to get what he wants. Even if that means knowing things Ethan possibly couldn’t.

Codename: Flicker
Power: Is blind but can see through other people’s eyes. Literally.

Codename: Crash
Power: Has the ability to crash anything electrical from phones to entire building’s power systems.

Codename: Anonymous
Power: Can cut his consciousness from other people in order to disappear. This is not a conscious thing. The bigger the crowd, the harder it is to remember him.

Codename: Mob
Power: Can take the emotion of a crowd and amplify it. This also works in reverse.



Zeroes is a story about a group of friends brought back together by the person who tore them apart. Scam gets himself into a mess that he can’t talk himself out of and needs their help. This spirals out of control to the point where the group are lead into perilous danger and at the age of sixteen, they handle it beyond their years. Without giving too much away, this book is heavily set on character development and the Zeroes getting to know both themselves, each other and their powers to a greater extent.



*Please note: I received this book gratis in order to provide a review. This review is my honest opinion and is unaffected by the receipt of this for free.*

This book was incredible. A whole 546 pages of brilliant authorship. I would love to know the exact split of how each author contributed to the creation of this novel in more depth. The book is split into over 80 chapters and at the beginning of each one, it is made known from which of the Zeroes perspectives you’re seeing through. I’d be very interested to know more about the writing process and how the book was split between the three authors. If they split the characters evenly by taking two each or if they all worked in tandem on each character. I’d like to think the former rather than the latter so that the characters represent the different writing styles and personalities of each of the authors.

Overall, I loved this book. Specifically because each of the characters powers were flawed rather than put forward as omniscient. Scam wasn’t able to stop the voice from saying whatever it wanted. Flicker was blind as a result of her power. Anonymous was so forgettable he practically lived a solitary life. Crash couldn’t handle being around too many electrical devices without crashing them or suffering mentally. Mob couldn’t control the blend of her emotions with a crowd. Finally, Bellweather couldn’t make his charm work one on one or over the phone. Each of the Zeroes was subject to their power’s limitations and this was a big part of their development. Learning to control and understand their powers gave them a greater affinity towards each other and themselves.

I felt that a large proportion of the book centred around Anonymous. Despite the fact that everyone was always forgetting his existence, it comes to light that he is the epicenter of the group. Most of the group are brought together in the first place because of him before the narrative begins and during the narrative there is a heavy focus, especially from Scam and Flicker’s perspectives, on getting to know and remember Anonymous. His power is certainly the most heartbreaking and I was pretty happy with the sub-plot romance that occured between him and Flicker. Normally, romances feel like an add on but in this situation it was an integral part of Anonymous testing the strength of his power and pushing beyond it. What better motivator is there than love? As he said himself:

Wisdom is knowing I am nothing,
Love is knowing I am everything,
and between the two my life moves.

Only the first two lines are used in the book but I found the Zen mantra very moving and highly apt as an explanation of Anonymous as both a person and a power.

The plot itself comes together quite nicely, the narrative and foreshadowing are woven so tightly that you don’t even notice it’s happened until you’re reading a chapter and start to see the breadcrumbs left previously. A very cleverly written piece of YA literature that I would easily recommend to anyone who loves this genre.

If you liked the shows Heroes, Sense 8, and any superhero related book, comic or drama. You’d enjoy this book. I guarantee it!

You can purchase Zeroes here:

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