Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings

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Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings

Buy Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Teens
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: A crew of all-girl space pirates take on an impossible mission? Sounds awesome, but the execution of the idea really isn't so great...
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 368 Date: January 2018
Publisher: HQ Young Adult
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780008228330

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The Bloody Baroness is the captain of the starship Maurader, and she and her all-female crew wreak havoc wherever they go across the galaxy. On board, however, the bloody baroness is just Andi, the misfit crew's friend and protector. One day they are captured, something that just never happens to them, and they find themselves facing up to their past lives, that they have been trying so hard to run away from. Will they be able to face not just their fears but their own personal demons, as they are blackmailed into an impossible rescue mission?

I had high hopes for this book, which sounded like all-girl space pirates story! Cool, right? I wanted to know what was going to happen as I read, and there were, at times, some really good scenes. We're introduced to a few different worlds, with different species attributes, though personally I found that there wasn't enough information given, and I wanted to know more about the different species, and the environments they lived in. But mainly, I wanted to know about the crew, and I was forever waiting for them to get their cool space pirate act together! It seemed, unfortunately, that they got captured all too easily, and they never really seemed to get their act together and work as a team, which was disappointing.

With a name like 'The Bloody Baroness' there is, as you can probably imagine, a lot of violence throughout the story. It's definitely a book for older teens, or young adults, with some dark moments, and an awful lot of bloodshed. Whilst I could see that the authors were hoping that Andi would be an inspiring female lead (and her violence apparently comes only from necessity), I actually found her quite dull. I was never quite sure how to feel about her: she's soft and sweet, but she enjoys killing; she's the most fearsome murderer, but she suffers terrible guilt afterwards. The contradictions became entangled, and it was difficult to know who the real Andi was, or how I was supposed to feel about her. I found myself more interested in some of the sideline characters, such as Gilly and Breck on the ship, and I wished they'd had a bigger part to play rather than just empty background filler. I also wished there was more about Alfie, the AI who comes on board, though his love affair with the ship's computer came over as strange rather than sweet.

So, I did want to know what was going to happen as I read. But I also felt repeatedly frustrated or annoyed. The book is just far too long, and some judicious editing would not have gone awry. Whilst the central plot was intriguing, I felt that the writing style often let the book down, and for much of the book, nothing actually happened! Some parts of the writing were much better than others, and I wondered as I read how much of an impact having two writers had had on the text. The multiple points of view for the characters were distracting and difficult, and with six of them it did break up the flow to the story. Again, I found myself wondering as I read if the two writers had split the characters between them, and were writing separately as sometimes it flowed, and at other times it jarred. If I'd had anything to do with the edit I'd have suggested cutting 3 of those points of view, at least, and that would have dealt with the length issue too! The love story side of things ends up being a damp squib. The whole book is a 'will they or won't they' get back together between Andi and Dex, which went on so long, led to a passionate kissing session, and then they suddenly decided, no, they wouldn't get back together which just left me wondering what on earth the point of that had been! Perhaps in the sequel they'll start wondering again whether actually they might get back together? Though I'm not sure I could stand another enormous book of to-ing and fro-ing between them!

The you tube trailer for the book is brilliant, and I really wish that it had been made as a graphic novel with the artwork shown, as I think the ideas would have worked better, and the simplistic dialogue would have been lifted with illustrations to help it along the way. There is the essence of a good idea in there. Perhaps if it were distilled down to the bare minimum, and concentrated into one graphic novel then I would have come away raving about it. I did enjoy parts, but really it felt, to me, that it needed a lot more work on it before it was published, which was disappointing as the blurb had had me feeling really intrigued. YA readers who just want a trashy space adventure may be happy, but I'd suggest you try in the library before you buy.

Further reading suggestion: I much prefer the fearsome heroine, Katniss, from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins or you might like to take a look at Partials by Dan Wells

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Buy Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings at Amazon.com.


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