EPIC ZERO for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

If you have someone in your household or school in the 8-14 age group, you may be familiar with the Nickelodeon comedy called The Thundermans. It’s about a family of action heroes – two parents and five children who each have their own super power. On the big screen you’ll find another super family with The Incredibles and the planned Incredibles 2 movie franchise.

EPIC ZERO has a similar premise but it reaches a much more dramatic level. Twelve-year-old Elliott, older 26088116sister, Grace, and a mom and dad, make up this super powered family. Well almost… Elliott is the only one who doesn’t have a super power. He’s just a zero. The family lives deep in outer space, but their crime fighting and schooling occur right here on Earth with other Freedom Force members.

Elliott narrates the story with charm, several amusing moments, and always questioning his place in this family and beyond. It’s an enjoyable read with many exciting moments and a welcome sequel is in the works.



Elliott Harkness wants nothing more than to join his family as part of the Freedom Force, the world’s greatest super-hero team. There’s only one problem, he’s a “Zero,” that’s super-speak for powerless. Frequently abandoned by his crime-fighting family, teased by his older super-sister, and picked on at school, Elliott is miserably ordinary in his heroically extraordinary family.

All of that changes when a mysterious new girl comes to town. She believes Elliott is far from ordinary. In fact, she thinks Elliott is the only one capable of capturing a strange and powerful orb that crash-landed on Earth before it falls into the wrong hands. To succeed, Elliott will have to do more than just find the orb. He’ll have to fend off menacing supervillains, face globe-conquering aliens, and figure out who’s truly on his side. But when Elliott realizes he’s the planet’s last hope, will he find the power within himself to be the epic hero he’s always wanted to be? Or, will he always be just an Epic Zero?


  1. Scattered throughout the book are full page color profiles of the superheroes and villains. Fun to read about their physical and mental characteristics that make them super – whether it be for good or evil.
  2. Young people with an irritating older sibling will sympathize with Elliott and his older sister. It was nice to see change in their relationship as the story progressed.
  3. There’s a family dog who disappears. Not in the run away sense, but Dog-Gone can make himself invisible. He’ll do what you want but only if you bribe him with treats. A fun change of pace from the other superpowers.
  4. If you are a bit overwhelmed by the super powers, a good place to learn more is the addition at the end of the book. There’s a full glossary of all the Meta Power Classifications and Profile Characteristics. A great resource to prepare yourself for what lies ahead.
  5. The messages put forth in EPIC ZERO are perfect as they center on family, loyalty, and never giving up. We each have special talents that sometimes take a little longer to surface.


See, I know my life probably sounds glamorous and all, but trust me, it’s not. Living with a bunch of do-gooders comes with some major drawbacks. At the top of the list is the fact that while superheroes are really great at the big things – like thwarting the forces of evil – they really stink at the little things.

Like, for example, remembering their kid’s birthday.


“While Epic Zero certainly features crime-fighting adventure, at its heart is a story about growing up and searching for your place in the world. The reader reaction to Epic Zero has been so positive that I’ve locked myself in my new Fortress of Solitude (also known as my office) to pen a sequel, entitled Epic Chaos.”

For more insights see R.L.Ullman’s web site.


Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. Just click on the Comments word above. You’ll find it right under the title of this post.

Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.


About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...writing middle grade novels.
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12 Responses to EPIC ZERO for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

  1. Sounds like a great book that kids would really like. And I really liked the quote you chose.

  2. Always looking for a good superhero story.

  3. I really love your favorite lines. Like crime-fighting superheroes that focuses on family, loyalty and not giving up. Excellent review.

  4. This sounds like a lot of fun. I’ll put this on my list. Thanks for the review.

  5. Arrgh! Too many good books, too little time! lol This one sounds fun, and I’m kind of a sucker for an upbeat super hero story. Thanks for the recommend of it, and happy MMGM!

  6. R.L. Ullman says:

    Greg, thanks for giving my book a read! I’m thrilled you enjoyed it!

  7. Wait: there’s an Incredibles 2 coming??? I loved that movie! (Will the sequel live up to it?)

    I have a thing for superhero stories, so I’ll keep my eyes open for this one. (I also love the sound of his sequel: Epic Chaos. I think I can relate!)

    • You’ll have a lot of time to ponder the quality of an Incredibles 2 as it is not due out until 2019. Gives you plenty of time to read superhero books like EPIC FAIL. I appreciate you stopping by.

  8. Sorry to come late but this looks wonderful!

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