Good Enough

ZeroesJust because you’re blessed with superpowers doesn’t mean you have to hang out in dark alleys and bust crime. Unlike all the do-gooders living in Central City and Star City, you could choose to lead a private, uncomplicated life.

The temptation to don a domino mask would always be there, however. Case in point: Nate, Chizara, Thibault, Riley, Ethan (and eventually Kelsie). They were six high school kids with an odd assortment of mutant powers. They called themselves the Zeroes as a joke. “Like heroes,” said Ethan, “but not.” They even tried to act like their favorite comic book characters, with training exercises, code names, a secret lair, and everything else.

But if someone were being kidnapped or assaulted, you would call the police, not a bunch of teenagers with fuzzy superpowers. Even the Zeroes understood that. They had the good sense to keep things on the down low.

Until one day when Ethan got tangled up in a botched bank robbery. His super bullshit powers derailed the heist but caught the attention of the authorities. Suddenly the Zeroes became embroiled in a complicated caper that involved drugs, dirty money, and murder. They had no choice. They had to become heroes.

After a few bumps in the road, the kids eventually discovered that they functioned best as a unit. Individually, each of them had a unique but limited skill set. But together they became the first superhero team fortified with crowdsourcing pep. Call them the Kickstarter Six, if you will. “If we stay connected,” explained Nate, the self-appointed leader of the group, “we can make each other stronger.”

We wonder if the three authors of this novel felt the same way. Like the Zeroes, did Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti possess a unique but limited skill set? Was the finished manuscript better for their collaborative efforts? Are three authors better than one? Who knows? Perhaps the answer to these questions can be found in Chapter 84 (yes, that’s right, there are 84 chapters in this book). “We did the best we could,” said Nate. Reading between the lines, that statement might very well be a thinly veiled admission from one of the writers three. Final verdict: good enough.

[Zeroes / By Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti / First Printing: September 2015 / ISBN: 9781481443364]

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