Reviews

Swarm by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti

They thought they’d already faced their toughest fight. But there’s no relaxing for the reunited Zeroes.

These six teens with unique abilities have taken on bank robbers, drug dealers and mobsters. Now they’re trying to lay low so they can get their new illegal nightclub off the ground.

But the quiet doesn’t last long when two strangers come to town, bringing with them a whole different kind of crowd-based chaos. And hot on their tails is a crowd-power even more dangerous and sinister.

Up against these new enemies, every Zero is under threat. Mob is crippled by the killing-crowd buzz—is she really evil at her core? Flicker is forced to watch the worst things a crowd can do. Crash’s conscience—and her heart—get a workout. Anon and Scam must both put family loyalties on the line for the sake of survival. And Bellwether’s glorious-leader mojo deserts him.

Who’s left to lead the Zeroes into battle against a new, murderous army?

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Song For This Book: Fight For Your Right by the Beastie Boys

4/5

I received an advance reader copy of this book from Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review.

I hadn’t been completely sold on Zeroes. I enjoyed it, and I was looking forward to getting a sequel, but it wasn’t the greatest thing I’d read. It wasn’t even close. So when I received a copy of Swarm for review, I was a bit hesitant, expecting something along the lines of what I had gotten with Zeroes.

However, that was not at all the case. We’ve all heard of the second book slump, but this book takes it the complete opposite direction. This book is so much better than the first! It was exciting, high energy, the relationships and the characters were more developed, and the pace keeps you racing towards the end of the book. A second book success, for sure.

This book picks up about six months after the events of the first, and the Zeroes have been up to a lot since then. But when things start getting crazy again, they find themselves facing a challenge they never would have anticipated. Each of them are faced with some moral issues, trying to figure out their powers, and dealing with the fact that someone is trying to kill them. It’s a recipe for a great story, honestly.

The Good Points of Swarm:

The pacing is so much better in this book. I can only imagine that the pace is a tricky thing to coordinate between three authors, and that showed a bit in the first book. But this one moves along quick enough to keep you engaged, but not so fast that you lose track of anything.

Every romantic relationship in this book is fantastic. I have a favourite, but I’ll keep it to myself for fear of spoiling part of the book. There is a lot of opportunity for romance to take over the story and ruin all the superhero stuff, but the authors keep it under control, leaving it as a treat here and there.

Despite the fact that this book revolves around a bunch of teenagers who haven’t a clue what they’re doing, the characters handle some common but major teenage issues very well. There is a lot of family drama, identity issues, and morals that come into play in this book, and the characters handle them in a great, realistic way. The characters in this book could be your best friend from high school for how real they seem.

As I commented on in my review of Zeroes, I love how this book goes against many of the tropes that are common in young adult fiction. Yes, these kids have superpowers, but in all honesty, they kind of suck at them. The romance is realistic, and how the characters react to the various situation is true to how teenagers tend to react.

The Downsides of Swarm:

Some things that happened in this book seemed to be a little forced. In the first chapter or so, we find Sonia Sonic thrust back into the story, and it just feels too convenient. This happens a few times through the book, never with major plot points, but the details seem pushed on us, rather than that it just happens naturally.

I’m not a huge fan of the ending. It was just left a little too open for what I wanted in this book, and while it sort of works with another book on the way, it also would have been nice if there had been some sort of conclusion, rather than just a period of time finishing.

There were a few points in this book where it felt like we were getting a series of events, rather than a plot. Some parts of the book just felt like filler until we reached the point in time where the next plot point took place.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book. It was so much better than the first one, and it’s got me really interested to see where this whole series is going. Even if you weren’t totally sold on Zeroes, you should give this one a go, as the authors seem to have really hit their stride, leaving us with a great book.

Swarm hits the shelves tomorrow, September 27th! Be sure to grab your copy, and let me know what you think!

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8 thoughts on “Swarm by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti

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