Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Teen for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: Available Now
Synopsis: 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.
From it’s gorgeous cover to the science fiction premise starring an all girl crew, I really thought I was going to love Zenith, but for me it turned out to be a bloody mess.
First, a trigger warning and a spoiler. There’s a female character who for some reason that’s never fully explained, has the power to compel people. And in one scene, she compels a male character into having sex with her. It’s technically not aggressive, nor is it explicitly described, but to me that’s rape, pure and simple and I feel like it would have been remiss of me not to bring it up. There’s also a lot of violence, so this is definitely meant for older teens.
As for the rest of the story it has way too many characters and POVs (six) that sound too much alike leaving me utterly frustrated. The worst one of all is Andi who simultaneously looks forward to killing people because of the sense of power it gives her, yet wrings her hands and bemoans her actions, until the next time that is. The other characters are for the most part no better, and many of their actions made no sense and bordered on being ludicrous.
As far as the plot goes, nothing, absolutely nothing happens until the last 40 pages or so. This made it tortuous to read and to be honest I would have given up before the halfway mark, except that I was sent this by the publisher and felt obligated to try to finish it. Adding to all this is lazy, derivative, uninspired world building in which I could easily pick out scenes that were eerily reminiscent of ones like for instance, the Mos Eisley cantina in Star Wars.
I could keep going, but I’m stopping now because I’m getting steamed up again just thinking about it. I think you all know by now that I hate slamming a book like this. These two authors no doubt spent a lot of time creating this. In my humble opinion though, Zenith had no business being published in its current form. The only reason I can think of that could explain why it was pushed through, is because Sasha Alsberg is a celebrity Booktuber. The co-author, Lindsay Cummings is a fairly well established YA author and I’ve read a few of her books and enjoyed them, so I’m not sure what happened here. I’m absolutely floored that the editor gave their stamp of approval to this. I’m giving Zenith 1 star for the admittedly cool concept and pretty cover. Otherwise, I’m sorry. I simply cannot bring myself to recommend this to anyone. Needless to say I won’t be picking up the sequel.