Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter mobile phone number.
Swarm Kindle Edition
About the Author
Margo Lanagan has been publishing stories for children, young adults and adult readers for twenty-five years. She has won numerous awards, including four World Fantasy Awards. Two of her books have been Michael L. Printz Honor books and she has been shortlisted for the Hugo and Nebula awards and for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the young adult division. Visit Margo at her blog, AmongAmidWhile.Blogspot.com, or follow her on Twitter at @MargoLanagan.
Deborah Biancotti has written two short story collections, Bad Power and A Book of Endings. She’s been nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award and the William L. Crawford Award for Best First Fantasy Book. You can find her online at DeborahBiancotti.com or on Twitter at @Deborah_B. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
“YOU LOOK GREAT IN THOSE jeans!” Ethan said.
He handed the guy a flyer.
The guy did not look great in those jeans. It was abundantly clear he’d gone commando just to fit into them. His legs would probably never bend again.
But Ethan didn’t care. He was in a good mood, and the whole world was going to benefit. He moved on, scanning the crowd.
It was the last Saturday night before Christmas, and Ivy Street was buzzing. The clubs were about to open and everyone was ready to dance.
“Hey,” Ethan said to a young woman in a purple feather boa. “Don’t feel bad. Your boss is a total idiot.”
She took the flyer. “How’d you . . .”
Ethan shrugged. How indeed.
“And, girl, purple is your color!” he enthused.
She beamed at him.
He was practically singing tonight.
Of course, it wasn’t Ethan talking. It was his other voice. The one that always knew how to get Ethan what he wanted. And tonight all he wanted was for everyone to feel as happy as he did. So the voice was telling them whatever they needed to hear.
He moved on, feeling the happy. Letting the happy light him up from inside.
It was almost weird feeling this good, but for once his life was turning around. With the Summer of Suck in his rearview mirror, Ethan was free and clear. No more worrying about bank robbers and drug-dealing mobsters. No more being grounded by his mom. Even the other Zeroes were laying off their usual Scam bashing, treating him like part of the team.
And then there was Kelsie. After the kidnapping and the near-death experience inside the exploding building, she’d been pretty PTSD. Add in the despair of losing her dad and, well, it had been bad times.
But now she was on the up and up. Sometimes even happy. And if she was happy, then Ethan was too. Seriously happy.
“Your mom got you a Raystar 47 for Christmas!” Ethan heard himself say. He had no idea what that meant, but in front of him some guy’s eyes lit up like a pair of horny fireflies. He must’ve really wanted that Raystar.
“Hey, how’d you even—” the guy began.
Ethan gave him a flyer and kept moving through the crowd.
Kelsie had settled easily into the Zeroes. You’re my family now, she’d told Ethan shyly, and he’d practically gone supernova with pride. Kelsie liked being with other people who had powers. She liked DJing at the Dish, exploring what she could do with a dance crowd. She didn’t even mind Glorious Leader’s endless “training.”
One time Kelsie had said she was only in Cambria until she had enough cash to go find her mom in New Orleans. But she was still here, so maybe Kelsie had another reason to stay in Cambria. Someone she didn’t want to leave behind.
Ethan hoped so, anyhow.
“Hey, you!” the voice cried as Ethan handed some short-ass kid a flyer. “You should totally tell her how you feel! Love is in the air, dude!”
Ethan blinked, playing back the words in his head. Was that a sign? That was a stretch—the voice never talked to Ethan directly. But this was one of those nights when anything seemed possible.
Okay. He’d talk to Kelsie tonight, right after the Dish closed.
“Whoa.” The kid was wearing that familiar, startled expression everyone did when the voice plumbed their secrets. “You know about my stepmom?”
“I . . . wait. Your stepmom?” Ethan switched to his own voice. “Forget I said anything, kid. Seriously, abort. Abort!”
He snatched back the flyer. Kid was too young for the Dish anyway.
Glorious Leader—Nate—had sent him over to Ivy Street, telling him to rope in people who were young and ready to dance. But if some fourteen-year-old kid turned up at the Dish, they’d all blame Ethan.
It was a reminder to focus, to not get swept up in the happy. Especially later with Kelsie. If he used his Zero voice to confess his feelings, Kelsie would know. So he had to use his own clumsy, fallible Ethan Cooper voice.
This flyer thing was the perfect warm-up. Hitting all these people with good news made him feel expansive and confident. On top of the world.
In fact, he was doing such a good job that he was almost out of flyers. But it wasn’t quitting time yet.
If he was going to talk to Kelsie tonight—which he definitely was, no chickening out—he needed a huge, happy, agreeable mob in the Dish. Because then Kelsie would be so hooked into the passion and thrill of the crowd that she’d see the truth. Yes, Ethan, I’m totally in love with you, too. I always have been. Since the moment you showed me I wasn’t the only one in the world with a power!
Which sounded unlikely, now that Ethan played the words in his head. But if she didn’t say exactly that, at least she probably wouldn’t say anything too soul-crushing.
Kelsie would never make him feel bad.
More flyers, then, to amp up the Dish tonight. So many flyers.
Ethan headed for the Office-O on the next block.
* * *
The place was practically empty.
He passed an old dude dozing behind the counter and headed to the back, where the copiers were lined up under the fluorescent lights like small armored vehicles. There was a young couple, Ethan’s age, dressed for a night out in Ivy Street’s club scene. The guy had a funky half-shaved haircut, and the girl wore a black frilled skirt.
Not Ethan’s bag, but definitely the kind of people that Nate wanted at the Dish. Once he had more flyers, the voice would make their day telling them how awesome they looked.
He paused at the first copier, but it was flashing PAPER TRAY EMPTY. He tried the next copier. Same. Ditto the third. He scanned the row of copiers. All the red lights were flashing.
Okay, that was irritating. He looked around for someone in a blue Office-O shirt to help him.
Then he heard the ka-chunk of a paper drawer being slid out, and he turned to the young couple. The guy emptied the copier tray and took the paper to a paper cutter at the end of the row. The girl lined up the pile and began slicing.
What the hell?
Ethan stepped forward and cleared his throat. “Um, guys? They sell paper here, you know. You don’t have to take it from the copiers.”
“Don’t have any money,” the girl said.
Ethan frowned. Like they could walk out of here with a thousand sheets of Office-O paper under their arms for free?
But if Ethan started arguing, he’d disturb the happy that filled him. So he smiled and let himself have a moment of wanting paper. Wanting the guy to give him some paper, and be glad about it.
The voice took over. “Dude, I need to make some copies. And you’ll be interested in why.”
The guy pulled the paper drawer from the last machine, ignoring Ethan. He was skinny, but tall, and carried himself like he wasn’t afraid of anyone.
“There’s this club that’s special, if you know what I mean.”
That got the guy’s attention. Ethan held up his one remaining flyer.
“Coolest underground place in Cambria,” the voice confirmed. “With the hottest DJ and the sweetest crowd. Just help me out with some paper so I can make sure there’s a super-big party there tonight.”
The guy smiled, like Ethan was suddenly an old pal. “That sounds great, buddy. Knock yourself out.”
He slid the full tray back into the last machine and stepped back with a bow.
“Hey, thanks,” Ethan said in his own voice.
That was the thing to remember about the voice. It didn’t have to be a brutal weapon to do its thing. It didn’t have to cut people down. As long as Ethan maintained a high level of affection for all humankind, the voice was happy being a sweetheart.
Maybe that was the key to superpowers. Not taking them too seriously. Not taking yourself too seriously.
Like, using your power for good or something.
He laid down his last flyer, swiped Nate’s credit card along the card reader, and let the machine do its thing. While it rattled off a few hundred copies, Ethan slipped a lozenge from his pocket and stuck it in his mouth. A voice-induced burn was building in his throat.
But getting a good crowd for Kelsie was worth it.
Six months was a record for him. His previous longest crush—Mari Prendergast, freshman year—had lasted about a week and a half. So this wait made him even more certain that Kelsie was the real deal.
He’d almost blurted out his feelings a dozen times in the days and nights after her dad died. But grief had given her a kind of thousand-yard stare, like she was lost inside her own skull. Trying to talk romance at a time like that would’ve been cruel and unusual.
So he’d waited until things had calmed down for everyone.
The copier clattered to a halt. Ethan gathered his flyers and handed one to the couple at the paper cutter. He unleashed the voice to give them a last dose of happy.
“You’ll love it, guys. And best of all, they’ll never see you coming!”
Okay, that was pretty out there. But no weirder than the voice’s stepmom advice earlier.
The couple looked surprised too, but Ethan just nodded and smiled like everything was normal. He headed for the door. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B01A5TWZQ2
- Publisher : Simon & Schuster Children's UK (27 September 2016)
- Language : English
- File size : 2269 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 465 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #806,398 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Review this product
Top reviews from other countries
So after the events of the first book the gang have opened up an nightclub where they can test their powers safely as a group on the crowd that arrives, mostly by making everyone have a good time with Mobs ability. But then something happens that causes everyone to go nuts, some zeroes from out of town who enjoy doing the opposite of what the gang do and leave people in terrified confused recks. The gang decides to track them down and stop them before they seriously hurt someone. And then they learn about Swarm, the titular character of this book.
I still really like that other than Ethan the Zeroes powers are all based around crowds and perception of crowds, its just so very different to most super powered stories. I also really love the idea of Ethan's voice, some all knowing entity that in the right situation and questions could answer all of their problems if only Ethan could think of what he wanted to make it say. The new powers are also really interesting and stay within the theme of messing with crowds of people.
OKAY ENTERING SPOILER TERRITORY!!
All the gang are back with their own problems going on outside of the swarm issue, and im not gonna lie Thibault's story is always the one i want more of and although he and flicker now have a very close relationship and she tries really hard to get others to remember him too, his situation is still so tragic to read about. You just want the guy to be happy. There is not as much of Nate or flicker herself this time around and what there is of flicker is usually part of the main storyline or helping Thibault with his issues. I felt there was a missed opportunity for her that could have lead to something after she witnesses swarms method of killing through the eyes of its mind controlled victims. We kinda get that with Kelsie as she can feel how the swarmed crowd feels carrying out the act and it unnerves her, but it would have been good to include that with flicker and maybe have those two talk about and work through it.
Speaking of swarm it certainly makes an impact when it shows up for the first time (referring to it to hide gender) and has interesting repercussions for Kelsie aka Mob who has a similar ability to influence crowds. When it is finally revealed though It is kind of disappointing what little info we get about its origin and how it started killing other Zeroes, you can probably guess it after you realize how its powers work but i would have liked one point of view chapter so we could understand its character a little more.
I really can't talk more about this book without spoiling everything but Scott Westerfield if you read this you are a brilliant author. But I swear to god if that issue isn't resolved in the next book (and you bloody well know what i mean) you may be the cruelest author ever. Brilliant but cruel. god trying to find a way to write about how it made me feel but even that would be too big a spoiler. you'll just have to read it for yourself.
And I enjoyed the first book of Zeroes, because while I hate superhero movies I LOVE books and movies about super powers, and I really enjoyed the obscure but interesting powers that the Zeroes themselves have.
So I'm going to get right into it and avoid spoilers. I think the story and pacing of this book was better than the first. I think we got to understand the Zeroes better. And I will be buying the third book.
Here were my issues. Predictability is a problem. Not in where the story will go necessarily, but the prominent love plot of this book could be seen A THOUSAND MILES AWAY. Maybe it's just because I expect my YA novels to force-feed me a love subplot but I knew it was coming. THAT SAID, the love plot is really sweet, tastefully done, and the LGBTQ+ community will be vair, vair excited.
The other minor love subplot near the end of the book, also predictable, but so it goes. Apparently every YA character has to have a love interest or else the whole story is moot. IT'S OKAY TO BE SINGLE! But I digress.
Ethan continues to be THE ABSOLUTE WORST, Chizara continues to have the BEST super power, Kelsey continues to be a whineosaurous and it can be really hard to get through some of her scenes. Nate is fairly absent, Thibault continues to pull on my heart strings, and Flicker is still the coolest girl around.
Of course when everything hits the fan, only people NOT in the main cast get blown to bits. This continues to be an ineffective way to write stories! I know it's YA, I KNOW, but when things get as serious as they do when this crazy Zero rolls in killing other people, you'd think that at least ONE of the main Zeroes would be in actual danger. But nah, let's try to pretend it's a really big deal, but put into danger only a few minor characters who were just introduced and who the readers don't care about at all. That's silly. I don't want the authors to pull any punches, I want things to get REAL and have there be REAL STAKES. But that tends to be the issue with superhero movies and books in the first place; you know the main characters will be fine because they're the heroes. I just need more.
I would give the book overall a 3.5, but I did enjoy the ending, there's a lot of new developments with the super powers and we're getting a better understanding to the whole Zero situation, so I'll bump it up to a 4. I'm excited to read the next one. I'd really like to see these Zeroes try to understand their powers more and experiment more, which is why the beginning of the book really hooked me--yes, they were experimenting! They were figuring out their powers! Things are happening! So more developments in that area would be great. That, plus some real risk to the characters, and maybe not pairing off every character to be in a relationship, would be really solid.
Looking forward to the next one!