Zeroes

by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti
First sentence: “More coffee?”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Review copy pilfered from the ARC piles at my place of employment.
Content: There’s some talk of drug use (none of it by teens), a smattering of mild swearing, and one (unnecessary, misplaced, and kind of glaring) f-bomb.

Who are the Zeroes?

They are six teenagers, all born in the year 2000, who have discovered, over the years that they have extra-ordinary powers. Bellwether can charm a crowd of people into believing whatever he wants them to. Crash is bothered by electronics, and she can make entire systems, well, crash. Flicker is blind, and yet she can see through every one else’s eyes. Anon isn’t invisible, but he is easily forgettable; his parents once forgot that he was deathly ill and left him (to die) in the hospital. Scam has this voice inside him that can talk anyone into anything he wants, which is what gets all the Zeroes into trouble.

With Mob, who can control a crowd’s mood, and her father, who is in deep with the Russian mob.

The question is: will the Zeroes be able to help them? Or are they just going to make things… worse?

It’s kind of hard to juggle multiple points of view in a book, and in this one they tackle six of them. Some of them — Anon, Flicker, Scam, and Mob come out with the best story arcs in the book — are really well developed. Others — Bellwether and Crash — aren’t so much. But, for the most part, the flipping between people helped push the story forward, and I found that I didn’t mind seeing the action from different perspectives.

And the story was pretty seamless, considering there were three authors writing. I was worried that it would be choppy, but whatever they did — editing, lots and lots of rewriting — worked.

It’s definitely a ton of fun.

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