Justin Tadlock

Epic Zero

Epic Zero book cover

One of the things I like to do between epic reads is to cleanse the mental palate for a day or so before diving back into a deeper work of fiction. Sometimes that’s with shorter, adult-level fiction. Other times, I like to pretend I’m a kid and simply enjoy a work for younger readers.

That’s how I came upon Epic Zero: Tales of a Not-So-Super 6th Grader. It sounded like an easy read that might bring back memories of the kind of heroics I enjoyed around the time I was in 6th grade.

The premise sounded interesting. The world is full of “metas.” Everyone in Elliot Harkness’ family is a superhero. However, he’s a big, fat zero. Even the family dog has powers. But, not Elliot. Of course, that means that we’ll get to watch him somehow save the day. We know the destination, but the journey really didn’t pay off for me.

Instead of cleansing my mental palate, I was just frustrated with the poor execution. I found the work to be boring, clichéd, and downright silly. I wasn’t expecting a Pulitzer-worthy work of fiction, but I was expecting more.

The book is listed for Grades 4-7 on Amazon, but I’d say 4th grade is the upper limit. When I was in 6th grade, I was reading books such as Lois Lowry’s The Giver. Maybe my standards were just higher.

For something better at a similar reading level, I’d highly recommend Story Thieves by James Riley instead.

⭐⭐/5 stars.

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