Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld

Challenge 10 ~ “A book by an author you feel you should have read by now.”


★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I remember the time when the Uglies series seemed to be all that anyone in the book-world was talking about, and even then I marked Scott Westerfeld as an author I wanted to check out sometime. Then a few months ago adverts started appearing everywhere for Zeroes, and I made sure the book ended up on my reading pile – it sounded like a cross between I Am Number Four and The Power of Five, and I was definitely ready to embrace such a tale.

At first, I was a little disappointed, not because the writing was awful or the characters 2-dimensional, but because the novel clearly wasn’t going to be the action-packed thriller I had thought from the blurb and (let’s be honest) the opening chapters. Nevertheless, I was still pulled into Westerfeld’s world, and soon realised that the book was instead jam-packed with suspense and thrills to pave the strong basis for a series. (Mind you, I assume it will be a series – if not, my entire perspective on the book may just change.)

It’s difficult to form a series and both provide an enticing first book, and one that adequately introduces and explains the concepts for the rest. So much so, that very few of those I have read have a 5 star opening book – not even my favourite series ‘The Power of Five by Anthony Horowitz’ managed that with Raven’s Gate!

When I look at Zeroes, however, there is no denying it such a position. Westerfeld flawlessly manages multiple perspectives from the outset without creating confusion, crafts a suite of complex and realistic characters, and provides plenty of excitement to keep the adrenaline-levels high. All the while, he smoothly sets the ground for greater exploration into each of these as the series continues to develop. The reader is left with many a question at the end (‘why is Ethan different from the rest?’ and ‘how many zeroes are there?’ to name but a few), yet Zeroes is a complete novel, tying its loose ends and concluding as if it were just a stand-alone book. In fact, the ending was one of my highlights, being especially fond of how Westerfeld subtly navigated it back to the journey home.

Series are always difficult to assess (and write!) Ideally books should be stand-alone, but at the same time there should be continuity from one to the next, which makes every novel within it that bit more difficult to write. Zeroes is merely the first in a series (and I cannot wait for the rest to be released.) Westerfeld avoids the pitfalls of opening novels in such a way that makes it look like child’s play, enticing the reader throughout with an informative but thrilling read. From a talked-about author comes a(nother?) stellar read you’d be a fool to miss out on!

Recommended for fans of:

  • Raven’s Gate by Anthony Horowitz
  • Thirteen Days to Midnight by Patrick Carman
  • I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore





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