Review Blog

Jan 07 2016

Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti

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Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781925266955
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. 'Every Power Has A Price'. Reading this book is like reading a graphic novel, with the pictures all unfolding in your head as the images take the story and literally run. Impossible to put down, this is a story told seamlessly by three authors, creating a world that is believable and extraordinary.
Is there anything special about being born in the year 2000? This book tells us there might be. We meet ordinary teenagers with extraordinary powers. Every power has a price, with some more costly than seem bearable. They refer to themselves as 'Zeroes, not Heroes' and the book places the reader right in the middle of the action as the reluctant heroes are coming to terms with their abilities.
Ethan (Scam), Nate (Bellwether), Thibault (Anonymous), Kelsie (Mob), Riley (Flicker) and Chizara (Crash) each tell the story from their perspective. This is well crafted and leaves the reader feeling empathy and compassion for these flawed and thoroughly engaging characters.
This is a book that explores the themes of acceptance, forgiveness, friendship and trust. Kelsie and Thibault have complicated and conflicted relationships with family that invite the reader to ponder the necessary and difficult act of forgiveness. All characters have a part to play in expanding on the nature of consequence. The heroes grapple with the consequences of their powers and the reader is compelled to think more deeply about the implications of wielding great power.
An important additional theme in the book is the power of collaboration. The social super powers of the group are the subject of ethical and moral consideration by the characters in this book. From the understanding they are being manipulated by their 'glorious leader', to the crowds that seize the super power and take it beyond the control of the teen characters, this book presents food for thought in our current social media environment.
Linda Guthrie

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