Book Review: Zenith (Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Pages: 534

Release Date: January 16th 2018

Summary (from Goodreads):

Most know Androma Racella as the Bloody Baroness, a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her glass starship, Marauder, however, she’s just Andi, their friend and fearless leader.

But when a routine mission goes awry, the Marauder‘s all-girl crew is tested as they find themselves in a treacherous situation and at the mercy of a sadistic bounty hunter from Andi’s past.

Meanwhile, across the galaxy, a ruthless ruler waits in the shadows of the planet Xen Ptera, biding her time to exact revenge for the destruction of her people. The pieces of her deadly plan are about to fall into place, unleashing a plot that will tear Mirabel in two.

Andi and her crew embark on a dangerous, soul-testing journey that could restore order to their ship or just as easily start a war that will devour worlds. As the Marauder hurtles toward the unknown, and Mirabel hangs in the balance, the only certainty is that in a galaxy run on lies and illusion, no one can be trusted.

Review:

I really enjoyed a few YA sci-fi last year (The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, Revenger) The description made me think of a female-based Firefly which sounded right up my street!

Androma Racella is known across the galaxy as the Bloody Baroness, an infamous mercenary who terrorises the skies with her band of girls. But to her friends she’s just their captain, their leader and a girl with a dark past. When familiar faces from Andi’s past demand she carry out a mission for them, the stakes are higher than any of them could realise.

This book took me a long time to read. It’s over 500 pages – I’m usually a quick reader but a lot of the time I didn’t want to pick this up. It’s not that it’s bad, so much as I wasn’t really that interested. The pacing seemed off and some things dragged while others went by too fast: the mission the book is about was almost over at the halfway mark, then there was a lot of feet dragging and then WHAM BAM the end.

The end was probably my favourite bit: I didn’t see the twist coming until late and enjoyed seeing everything unravel. It was a tense punch in the gut moment that I didn’t see how they could recover from, which was great. The worst part was realising this wasn’t going to be wrapped up in one book, when I just wanted to see how it would all end.

I didn’t really see the need for the different POV chapters. Valen’s few didn’t add much, nor did Lira’s, other than back story, and I could have done without Dex’s too. My favourite’s were probably the background one’s which built up the evil queen plot. The rest seemed unnecessary.

While I wanted to love this band of all girl space pirates, 50% of the crew were really underdeveloped. Gilly and Breck didn’t receive as much page time as the other and had next to no backstory: it felt like they were there just have enough people for a crew (I just had to search a ton of other reviews to find Breck’s name so she clearly made no impression on me). Lira was probably the most interesting. Her ‘passing out from emotions’ thing was brought up early on and very clearly going to be the cause of an accident later but she did seem to have a lot more character than the rest.

Then there was Andi. She just didn’t feel enough to be a main character for me. I liked the idea of the Bloody Baroness. I liked the idea of that all being an illusion. What I didn’t get was how Andi could be both these things: the murderess who laments every kill. Stop doing it then! Half the time it didn’t even feel like she needed to. And we couldn’t go a few pages without being reminded about her terrible past and the guilt she feels. It just felt a bit overkill.

The writing seemed odd at times too. Whilst some description was great, there were a lot of cliches and odd phrases that just didn’t make sense to me. The romance subplot was neither here nor there to me either: it wasn’t terrible but I don’t think it added anything new either.

I’ve actually criticised this a lot more than I thought I would, but overall I didn’t think it was a bad book. There was an interesting story there, behind the weird metaphors and similes and a few dull characters. Unfortunately, I think this one just wasn’t for me and I won’t be carrying on with the series.