synopsis from goodreads.com:
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.
my review! (spoiler-free section)
ZENITH IS HERE! I’ve been waiting for Zenith to come out for forever!! I pre-ordered it a while ago, as it was one of my most anticipated books of 2018. It was released on January 16th (again, I’m cursing my laptop problems for this late review). I have been following Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cumming’s writing journey for the longest time, and I can’t believe I can finally hold their published novel in my hands!! Sasha is one of my favorite booktubers (check out her youtube channel – abookutopia), and I LOVE Lindsay’s writing advice vidoes and how public she is about her Christian faith!! Congratulations to both of them, especially since Zenith made #7 on the New York Times Bestsellers list the same week it was published!
Zenith is the first in a new sci-fi duology called The Androma Saga, and it was just as good as I was expecting it to be!!! I rated it 4/5 stars, because it definitely wasn’t perfect, but I still really enjoyed it!
And I just wanted to quickly mention that this review is not at all biased because I love the authors. I went into this book like it was any other book, and that’s how I’m reviewing it! All thoughts on here are completely my own!
Y’all can probably already tell that I don’t read much sci-fi at all, which means that I don’t have much experience reading them and probably am not the most qualified to review a sci-fi book. But this was definitely a great sci-fi and one that I’ll remember for a while!!!
First, let’s talk about the writing. Now, this was written by a debut author and an author with some small young adult book series published. Therefore, the writing definitely wasn’t the best, and there were some things about it that irked me a little. For instance, there was a little bit of repetition. For instance, there were so many times where Andi or Dex would be thinking about their feelings for the other person and it was always the same exact stuff going on in their heads lol. So there were a few things a little off like that. But, for the most part, a lot of the writing was beautiful!!
One of my favorite things about the book were how many characters’ perspectives we got to read from!!! I think there were five characters who rotated telling the story (Androma was obviously the main character and POV), and each character had its own unique voice, which I loved. I especially loved seeing Queen Nor’s (the antagonist of the story) view of the war that was brewing!! Lindsay and Sasha did that very well!
So the world… it was INCREDIBLE! Like I said, I don’t know have much experience in sci-fi worlds. But the Mirabel Galaxy was so freaking cool. There are 5 different solar systems in the galaxy, and the front of the book has one of the coolest bookish maps ever!! I loved learning about all the different planets, the things unique to each one, and the part each played in the Cataclysm war! For instance, Andi is from the military planet, Arcardius, and her best friend, Lira, is from Adhira, which is a planet all about love and peace.
But my favorite thing about the book was the characters! I have to admit that it took me a while (like the majority of the book lol) to really connect to Androma Racella for some reason, because I feel like her character (the really badass woman fighter and leader who kills with ease) has been really overused in YA books lately. The fact that Andi kept tallies of all the people she killed, how she loves music and dancing eventually won me over, how she dances with the dead, and her deep regrets for killing her best childhood friend eventually won me over. Her backstory is one of the most intriguing I’ve ever read about – she and lots of other people are still haunted by it, and it really is what drives her to do the things she does. As for Dex, I really hated him in the beginning. I honestly don’t know why. He just made me laugh with how proud he is and how much he loves himself. But by the end, he won me over just like Andi did. I’m totally cheering for him and Andi to be together now!
Lira was my FAVORITE character in the book!! Probably because I related to her so much – she’s a pilot (the one job I’d love to have if I were at all skilled in that area lol), a huge reader, and has a thirst for adventure that led her beyond her peaceful planet to where she found Andi (in a fighting arena of course). The scales on her skin were so cool also – can I have some of those please? I loved her relationship with her brother, Lon, who was a great character as well! And her backstory was so interesting! Her and Andi’s friendship is fantastic!!!! Then there’s the strong Breck with her bullet-proof skin and the small but feisty Gilly. I just loved those four girls so much!
And can we mention Alfi, the AI?? He was just so hilarious the entire time!!! He was that random character who annoyed all the other characters but arrived in the middle of dire situations to help them. He reminded me a lot of Iko from The Lunar Chronicles. I feel like they would get along really well.
In my opinion, the strongest aspect of this book was the friendship between the four girls (Andi, Lira, Breck, and Gilly)! This gang of girl space pirates (a.k.a. the Marauders) made me feel all the feels – I laughed with them and I cried with them. Definitely a new favorite book squad!
“Family did things like that, made sacrifices when it wasn’t the first choice they wished to make. And now Andi knew that the Marauders were more than just a crew of skilled space pirates. They were family. She was theirs, and they were hers.”
And the strong girls in this book!!!! Even though the Marauders are girls, they are so tough and incredible fighters! Yet, we get to see their emotions at certain times throughout the story, which really showed the characters’ humanity and that it’s okay to be strong yet cry sometimes. The females in this novel are all so strong both physically and mentally – for instance, Queen Alira of the planet Adhira (a really great minor character!) was described as being gorgeous but having a heart and a mind that outshone her physical beauty. I loved that!!
Also, did anyone else feel a huge connection with the Marauder space ship? Because I totally did and it killed me every time Andi was without it.
Another thing I loved was how morally grey the characters were! Andi was the protagonist but by now means a good person. And that’s how it should be, because that’s just human nature! Lira and Dex both had some things they were dealing with as well. And Nor!! She’s the antagonist and evil queen of the story. But, she has people she loved! She’s just trying to do right by her planet, even if she is killing lots of people in the process. But her intentions are for the welfare of her planet… well and a little world-domination I guess. I really respected her as a character, and I love how she was written. Valen was the same way – he was one of my favorite characters until… well, I don’t want to spoil anything! But he’d been tortured for years in a Xen Pterra prison, and was very haunted by everything that had happened to him!!
I guess the last thing to talk about is the plot. Which was just genius the entire way through. The book gives us some glimpses of the past that ties into the present-day storyline, and it was so cool how everything came together in the end. A lot of things were confusing for most of the book (like how Klaren’s story related to the main storyline), but I slowly started piecing everything together. I mean I guessed what was happening behind the scenes, but I was still just blown away by the ending.
Those last 150 or so pages had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. They were so full of action and suspense. I knew what was going to happen in a way, but then there was a HUGE plot twist and I was practically screaming as I read! AND THAT CLIFFHANGER!!!!! Now I am just DYING for the sequel!! I was in complete shock. And that last chapter… just wow. So much emotion!
Well, I’m now emotionally involved in this world and the story, so there’s no going back. I wanted to write a section of this review full of all my spoilery thoughts, but I don’t have time for that considering there is so much I could write, and I have about a thousand book reviews to write right now. But, if you’ve read the book and want to discuss some spoiler things, you can DM me on Instagram or Goodreads, because I’d love to discuss this amazing book some more!
I highly recommend Zenith if you want a tale full of the coolest gang of girl space pirates, romance, an evil queen, planets, and war!!! I loved this book, and the next book had better come very soon! I hope you enjoyed my bookish babblings, and keep reading!!
Also, Sasha and Lindsay – y’all did amazing with this novel!!! I just have one request – can you guys come to the state of Georgia for your next book tour??
Lindsay’s website: https://www.lindsaycummingsbooks.com/
Sasha’s youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/abookutopia