Friday, June 19, 2015


by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti

Summary From GoodReads

Ethan, 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.

Thoughts on the Book

This was one of the books I wanted the most at BEA.  I loved Westerfeld's series, Midnighters, Uglies, and Leviathan.  I also really enjoyed Evolution's Darling, one of Westerfeld's adult novels, despite it's weirdness (it was very weird), and everyone of his short stories that I've read.  I was so excited to start reading this book.

My Review

Zeroes starts with Scam trying to get a ride home.  He ends up getting out of a bad situation into a worse situation, then because of that into an even worse situation.  The entire book revolved around saving Scam, his voice kept getting him into deeper and deeper trouble while his former friends, a haphazard group of self-proclaimed "zeroes" (since they weren't heroes) saved him.

The main problem with this book is that Scam was completely and utterly unlikable.  I honestly did not care about him at all, I get that he had to deal with the voice and try to not get in trouble.  But he's had it since he was 2, he was 16 in the book, you would think he would've figured something out by that point, 14 years of dealing with the voice trying to get him what he wanted.  He should've been more careful with wanting things.  The book starts with Scam out on a date that he apparently didn't want, but the voice got him into it and in order to get out of it he lied to her then felt like in order to get home he had to lie to someone to get a ride.  This was his logic, instead of ending the date and getting a ride home from the girl he ditched her to scam people.  For no reason what-so-ever.

The second main character, Mob, was slightly more likable than Scam, but again instead of doing anything with her life at all, even in the smallest tiniest bit - get an after school job to earn a little cash to help out her dad she loved so much, she went to clubs to dance instead.

As for the rest of the Zeroes, Nate was just as bad and unlikable as Scam and Mob, he was a selfish jerk, a born politician.  He manipulated absolutely everyone around him for the stupidest things, like finding a folder.  There were no redeeming qualities about him.  But there was also Crash, who stood up for herself and really cared about what she could do and tried her best to not harm others, and when she did she did her best to never do it again and to make it right.  Flicker was also a great character, right from when you first met her, she really cared about people and had her own serious issues to deal with, which she did, unlike Scam and Mob "dealing" with their issues.  There was one more character...I think...I thought I had a favorite...hmm.  I guess it was just Flicker's imaginary boyfriend Nothing that I'm thinking of.  Anon was by far my favorite character, I found myself hoping each chapter was would be one of his, only to be disappointed when it was anyone else, aside from Flicker.

The main driving force of the story was Scam's stupid mistakes that got more and more ridiculous.  And the ending screamed Veronica Mars to me, Thumper?  Old Shark Field?  Complete ripoff.  Every time the story got back to the main plot points I was just wishing for more of Anon's story or more of Flicker's.  Even if the main story was told more through their perspectives I think I would have enjoyed this book more.  The only enjoyable perspective of the main story was Crash's perspective (since Flicker and Anon really didn't focus on Scam's bs).

The story ended the exact same way as it started. The only character that actually grew at all was Crash, but even she, with all of her determination to leave Nate and his manipulative ways, she came right back and is a happy member of the group again.  But despite all of this I did actually enjoy the book.  It was engaging, and while I didn't care about half of the characters, I kept reading for Anon, and to a lesser extent, Flicker.  I really hope the sequel focuses on him.

I give this book a 7/10.  While not spectacular, having bland awful characters, and a less than interesting plot, the subplots and more minor characters really drove this book.

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