Zenith – Sasha Alsberg, Lindsay Cummings

31394234It’s very nearly the end of the year. With less than two weeks left until Christmas, that means there’s less than three weeks until 2017 is over, and we’re starting all over again in a new year. I’m actually starting a new job on January 2nd, so 2018 is getting off to a start of big changes for me. But even though today I went out for lunch with my new workmates, and it’s only three weeks away, it really doesn’t feel like the start of this new job is that close – it doesn’t feel like the start of a new year is so close! Is it not still only about April of 2017? Where has the year gone?

In any case, with only a few weeks left in the week, there isn’t much time left for reviews. But Zenith, which has been on my to-read list since I picked it up at YALC, and was bumped up largely because it starts with a Z, so was helpful for my Title Challenge, is one that I finally finished this week, and really enjoyed… except for that ending.

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.

Zenith was one of the proofs that people queued for absurd lengths of time for at YALC. I was one of those people, not because I had heard all the hype about it, but because the queue was sitting down, and my feet hurt, so I was pretty pleased with getting a free book out of it as well. Zenith tells the story of an all-girl crew of space pirates – like Firefly, but with less sudden but inevitable betrayal.

Actually, is there less betrayal? Perhaps there isn’t.

In any case, the premise of Zenith is one that I could totally get behind. Four girls from different ends of the galaxy, all running from something in their pasts, scraping by on petty piracy jobs, and being boss friends. Which was pretty interesting. I would’ve liked a book about this space girl pirate crew. But that’s not really what we got.

I also think that I would’ve liked a book about what’s going to happen in the second book of the Androma saga. But what I didn’t really like was the book we actually got.

So this book was actually kind of a mess. There was one major plot thread running through it which was resolved about 50% of the way through the book, and then the following 50% was all a mess. There was a whole load of unresolved plot threads, and the rest of the book wasn’t particularly enjoyable.

Zenith ends on a massive cliffhanger – setting up for the second book in the saga. And to be honest, I was disappointed in it. There was some interesting relationships between Andi and her crew, some interesting discussion of the family that you choose for yourself.

But honestly, this book had too much backstory and too much faffing. The actual action was limited to the last hundred pages or so, and I was disappointed in that. This book could easily have been condensed down to half the size it was, and the second book in the saga probably tacked on to the end of it. I hate series which are unnecessarily extended into multiple books when they could be easily condensed down into a single, punchy book.

There’s a lot of other stuff I could probably criticise here, including the flimsy supporting characters and the lack of actual romance between the main and the romantic interest. But I don’t know how interested I am in that.

This book was co-written by a massive booktuber, with over 100,000 subscribers, and so it’s subject to a lot of discussion online about whether it’s written on the back of her fame, whether it’s any good, whether it’s ghostwritten, how much success it will have, etc. I actually had never heard of Sasha Alsberg, because I’m not into booktube at all, and have no opinions on her getting a book deal on the back of her booktube fame. So that’s a kettle of fish for someone else to deal with.

Zenith was interesting, but not brilliant, and I don’t know if I have any interest in reading the sequel. It seems like it’s a vehicle for a lot of controversy, and to be honest, it doesn’t really feel like it’s a good enough (or bad enough) book to have this much excitement over it.

 

Three Stars
***

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