Review of Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings

Read: 6th November 2017 – 10th November 2017

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Spoilers in review: No

Androma, or Andi, is the captain of an all-girl space pirate crew. She has a vicious reputation as the ‘Bloody Baroness’ and is well known across the galaxy for the utter destruction she leaves in her wake. One day, she is forced to complete a mission that is both more dangerous than anything she’s done before, and intrinsically connected to her past.

I mostly enjoyed reading this. The main plot was entertaining, if a bit predictable, and there were some moments that I really liked.

However, there are some things that bothered me while I was reading. I had been hoping that we’d get to see more of the all-girl pirate crew before the inevitable boy is thrown into the mix, but they barely all get introduced before things start to go wrong. Most of the characters aren’t well fleshed out, either, and I couldn’t detect any character development from anyone. Dextro’s characterisation in particular is, in my opinion, inconsistent. He’s the ‘sadistic bounty hunter’ mentioned in the synopsis, and at first that’s exactly how he comes across. Except occasionally he’s the exact opposite, seemingly at random. While the explanation he eventually gives for his actions should make him seem more sympathetic, it’s really something that his internal monologue should have referenced before telling Andi about it. The authors prioritised having a reveal instead, which I think is a shame and hindered the effectiveness of the character.

Each chapter is from a different character’s point of view. This is pretty cool, I actually really like it when books do this! But the point of view should stick with the character named at the start of the chapter for the whole chapter. Sometimes it didn’t and that bugged me, but it’s not really that big of a deal

A pet peeve of mine when an unnecessary amount of time is spent going over something that happened earlier. This novel is a dual offender. A certain event in Andi’s past is talked about again, and again, and again, and while I appreciate its significance I’m sure that at least a couple of those references could have been removed. Also, the beginning of one of Lir’s chapters retell the events of her previous one, which frustrated me. I already knew what had happened because I had been reading the book!

This novel doesn’t end, it just stops. I am aware that this is the first installment of a series, and that the sequel is currently being written, but it seriously does not end. In my experience, the first book in a series should either be fairly self-contained and have a clear and satisfying ending, or it should have a massive plot-twist right at the end to form a cliff hanger. Zentih did neither. It has a slight cliff hanger, but nothing Earth-shattering. This had the effect of making it feel like a much longer story has just been cut in half, which I found disappointing.

It’s clear that Alsberg and Cummings have a rich universe built up, which this novel is just a glimpse into, which is really cool! But, while I do like being able to figure some things out for myself, a line has to be drawn. What is a ‘yielding’? It was referenced multiple times but I still don’t have a clue. In fact, I understood very little about Klaren’s chapters. This will probably be revealed more in the sequel but if that’s the case then maybe less time should have been devoted to it. (Maybe I’m just being stupid and missed something, in which case please explain it to me because I really don’t like being confused and would genuinely love to know.)

The protagonist and her best friend both have coloured streaks in their hair and I’m sorry I just can’t take that seriously I’m having My Immortal flashbacks.

I didn’t dislike this book at all! As I already said, I enjoyed reading it. It’s not deep or groundbreaking but it’s perfectly serviceable as a fun sci-fi read. I just can’t really justify rating it any higher, given the issues that I had with it.

I received an e-arc through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.

Review originally written in 2017

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