Hello, beautiful people!
It’s been quite a while since I last posted a review on this blog (*cough* November *cough*), but as I received an e-ARC of Zenith two months ago, I thought it would be the perfect time to share more reviews here. Now, I’ll tell you right away: Zenith wasn’t the book for me, but I have a feeling I wasn’t exactly the audience targeted. I’m going to be quite negative in this review, so be prepared.
Zenith (The Androma Saga #1) by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings
Publication date: January 16th 2018 by Harlequin Teen (US) // January 11th 2018 by HQ (UK)
Genres: young adult, science-fiction
Number of pages: 512
Goodreads summary: 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 shipor 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.
I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Quotes used in this review might have changed in the final copy.
I requested Zenith through Netgalley out of curiosity. Like many people, I followed Sasha Alsberg’s BookTube channel for years and I was curious about her writing, but it didn’t influence me in any way. The truth is, I might have loved Zenith, had it come out four or five years ago. I just feel like it wasn’t for me, that I read so many YA fantasy and sci-fi novels and it was a little too similar to so many of them. Because of that, this review will be quite negative, unfortunately, for I couldn’t help myself, but the thing is : it isn’t a bad book. It’s just a book I’ve read a hundred times before and I’m quite over it.
The plot of this novel was very slow to start and for a long time, I was wondering where the authors were going with this. The pacing was a bit off, as the main plot was resolved halfway through the book, so I didn’t really understand the point of the rest of the book. It was quite predictable and similar to popular fantasy novels (I mean, retrieving someone who’s been kidnapped in a high security prison which wasn’t high security AT ALL?Doesn’t ring a bell), except that it was set in space. It had some clichés scenes just like… A ball. Wow we’ve never seen it before, I totally didn’t see coming that you were going to make the protagonists dance together. *sigh*
(I have no choice but to only use gifs from Guardians of the Galaxy for this post)
However, towards the end, the plot became a bit exciting and the action picked up, but alas, it abruptly ended, which made me a bit sad, because I would have wanted Zenith to be like that for 500 pages. Besides, the novel often lost itself in subplots that didn’t seem necessary, maybe they were there to set the next instalment in the duology up, but it was quite clumsy. Some of the violence also felt like it was there without any purpose and it was forced:
“When we bring the galaxy to its knees,” Nor said, a smile slowly appearing on her rouged lips, “I’d like to repaint this room. With the blood of every man, woman and child who has ever lifted a finger against my planet.” Darai swept across the tiled floor to stand at her side. “My dear.” His voice was slippery, as if drenche
d in oil. “When we bring the galaxy to its knees, you can paint the entire palace in blood, if you wish it.” Nor closed her eyes and smiles.
She could see it, taste it.
And it pleased her.”
Yes, okay, but WHY ? They wanted us to see her as a psychopath,
but I wanted it to be shown to me by her actions, not told.
I don’t have a lot of positive things to say about the characters either, because they were either unmemorable or were pissing me off. The main character, Andi, was a rip-off of Celaena Sardothien and Kaz Brekker. She was supposed to have PTSD, but many reviewers pointed out that this attempt at representation wasn’t accurate at all and PTSD was only present when it suited the book better. I don’t know much about that, but as I’ve seen this in reviews, I felt like I needed to point it out.
*Taylor Swift’s voice* You were all I wanted, but not like this.
I was very excited because I felt like the book would have a Guardians of the Galaxy vibe to it, as it had a crew and I live for these dynamics. It was good in that sense at first, but Zenith had too many points of view and it was very confusing. I couldn’t get a sense of who was who as the characters’ voices weren’t very distinctive, it was even worse because the book was made of very short chapters (there are 98 chapters when the book counts 512 pages); I was often lost and it prevented me to care about any of the characters. Now, for Dex, Andi’s ‘love interest’, I disliked him so much. I love antiheroes and villains, but I couldn’t with him. His story didn’t add up, his lines made me roll my eyes because they sometimes were cheesy or forced and didn’t make sense with how he was portrayed. I would have loved for the secondary characters to be more fleshed out, but as there were too many of them, it wasn’t possible.
Last but not least, I didn’t really like the writing style. Zenith was first released as a sixty page novella and you can tell, as there were so many changes towards that point, starting with the writing style. In the beginning, it was quite metaphoric, which didn’t work very well because it made the book even more complicated to understand. Afterwards, I’m not sure the writing styles of the two authors mixed very well together and it felt repetitive. Besides, the authors often told us things, instead of showing them to us. I was intrigued by the world it was set in though, and I would have loved to learn more about it.
Overall, I really didn’t like Zenith and I know I am very negative in this review, but it just wasn’t the book for me (which is why I’m not even harsher in my rating). Had I read it in 2013, I probably would have loved it, but it felt so repetitive as I have read many YA novels. I still think people might love it and it will have success and I do wish for it to work out, but it really wasn’t for me.
Thank you for reading,
Lots of love,