Book Review: Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings

by - 8:28:00 PM

Title: Zenith: The Androma Saga
Author: Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings
Pages: 56
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Fantasy
Release Date: 21 June 2016

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 fearsome glass starship the Marauder, she’s just Andi, their captain and protector. 
When a routine mission goes awry, the all-girl crew’s resilience is tested as they find themselves in a most unfamiliar place: at the mercy of a sadistic bounty hunter connected to Andi’s past and a harrowing betrayal. Meanwhile, on the far side of 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 final 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 towards the unknown, and Mirabel hangs in the balance, the only thing certain is that in a galaxy run on lies and illusion, no one can be trusted."

All opinions in the following review are 100% my own and are completely unbiased. Enjoy!

Part one of Zenith: The Androma Saga is only 56 pages (44 if we're excluding the title page, blurbs, dedications, and acknowledgements) long, but grabs you from page one and does not let go until the very end. While I felt this was quite short, especially for an "opening," I did take into account that it is a serialized book and that the remaining installments are going to be released throughout 2016. Despite having only 44 pages of content to read, Sasha and Lindsay were able to hook me from the very first page of the prologue and have secured my interest in all future installments of Zenith!

The book begins with a prologue called Cell 377 and a character named Valen Cortas. There isn't much information given except that he's locked away in a prison and that he wants revenge. I was immediately curious as to who he was, and why he was locked up. Thankfully I got my answer by the end of part one! The rest of the book (with the exception of chapter eight) follows Androma Racella, or Andi as she is frequently called, and her crew of misfit criminals. Andi is the captain of the Marauder and is known across the galaxy as the ruthless Bloody Baroness. Her crew consists of Lira, Breck, and Gilly who are her second in command/pilot, and two gunners. While we are only given bits and pieces of information about the crew, I almost instantly fell in love with Lira, and found myself making parallels between Gilly and Sasha.

While I absolutely loved this book, there were a few minor things I found myself questioning. Throughout the majority of the book, there are multiple references to things found in the universe of Zenith, but little to no explanation as to what these things were. Now, I gave those things a bit of a pass because, this is the start/opening to this book, and I feel like the references will be touched on again as more of the story is released. Again, this is the very beginning of the book. It's hard to harshly judge the 44 pages of content because that's all it is. But within the 44 pages, I believe that Sasha and Lindsay did a wonderful job setting up the story and the universe to where they could very easily expand and explain in future parts of the book. I would love to learn about more planets/galaxies and some of the heists that Andi and her crew have done!

One thing, however, that did bother me, was Andi. She's supposedly the ruthless Bloody Baroness, but constantly talks about how much guilt she has in regards to all of the people that she's killed. I feel as if someone called the Bloody Baroness should be almost emotionless and brutal and not care about the number of people that she's killed. Mark up your katanas and move on to the next one, girl! Hopefully she fills the shoes of that title more in the later installments, because I would love to see her go full on Bloody Baroness! Other than that, I loved Andi so very much.

Am I the only one totally shipping Andi/Lira, by the way? No shame, I will go down with the ship.

Zenith gave off a very Firefly-esque vibe for me. I loved the idea of a rag tag group of criminals doing odd jobs to try and skirt by while avoiding the government that is constantly pursuing  them. Each character introduced in the book was very unique, and I really enjoyed the little things about all of them that made them stand out. Being able to connect with at very least the main character is a huge factor into whether or not I'll end up liking a book, and by the end of part one, I had either a connection or strong feelings about all of the characters introduced. I'm really interested in learning more about Valen as well as Nor Solis! Also, I feel like Andi working for the governor of Arcardius could turn out to be very interesting. Especially with them having a fairly rocky past. I smell a plot twist coming!

The writing all throughout Zenith Part One was absolutely beautiful. It was so descriptive, and I really felt like I was right there on the Marauder with Andi and the crew, or in Cell 377 with Valen, and even on Xen Ptera with Nor Solis. I enjoyed the small details written in, such as the space trash referenced several times that is said to be just randomly flying through space. I really got a kick out of that, for some reason. All of the writing flowed very well together, and both Sasha and Lindsay's writing was absolutely seamless. It felt like there was one author writing the book and I really loved not being able to tell which author was writing at what time. With such a strong start, I really can't wait to see what these ladies have in store for the rest of the book!

By the end, I found myself saying "Is that it?!" I was so hooked that I wasn't ready for it to end, but I feel as though it ended very strong, and left a wonderful open world for the story to branch out into. I am hoping for more of Nor Solis' storyline, as I feel like she could turn out to be vicious and a real threat to the galaxy. As far as Andi goes, I'm interested to find out just how she intends to get in and smuggle a person out of Xen Ptera. Fingers crossed for some really cool fight and flight scenes! All in all, this was a strong debut for Sasha and Lindsay as co-authors and it certainly has my attention! Now when does part two come out?!

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