Androa Racella, aka the Bloody Baroness, has imposed a reign of terror across the Mirabel galaxy. But the all-girl crew of her glass spaceship Marauder know her as somebody else entirely. When a ruthless bounty hunter tracks the Marauder down and another enemy lies in wait to exact revenge for the destruction of her people, ‘Andi’ Racella and her crew find themselves pushed to the limit. This is unfamiliar territory for them, and nobody can be trusted. If they make the wrong move, entire worlds and billions of lives could be forfeit.
Zenith was originally written as a series of rambling episodes that have now been collected together into one long rambling book full of characters with crazy names and incomprehensibly paper-weight motivations, all wrapped up in a disastrously dull plot that rips off every sci-fi franchise you can think of and does it without a semblance of style or self-knowing. From Andi, the protagonist who obviously wants to be an anime version of the Geena Davis character from Cutthroat Island and fails completely, to an impenetrable glass spaceship that sounds like a cool idea but actually isn’t, to a lame romantic subplot involving a dubious chancer from Andi’s past, to a host of aliens with ridiculous physical features possessing special powers that make absolutely no sense. And let’s not even get started on how Andi has got herself such a fearsome reputation when her weapon of choice is a lame electric katana.
Sometimes when you review a book you have to go in like it’s Zero Dark Thirty, take the subject out as surgically as possible and put the whole experience behind you like a bad dream. Thankfully that doesn’t happen very often. In the case of Zenith, the subject should be taken out with extreme prejudice. It’s awful, it’s boring, the writing is Z-grade, and how the cover of our uncorrected proof can claim it’s “The #1 New York Times Bestselling Sensation”… well, the New York Times must really be slumming it if that’s the truth. This is 511 closely type-set pages of uninspired fangirl dross, but because it’s the new year we’ll give authors Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings one curmudgeonly point for pulling the wool over their publisher’s eyes.
If you see this over-hyped nightmare in your viewscreen, dive into the nearest escape pod and hope it works. Unlike the escape pods on the Marauder, which apparently are designed not to operate when the spaceship is under fire. We know, that makes no sense, so maybe we missed something. We’re not going back to check.
ZENITH / AUTHOR: SASHA ALSBERG, LINDSAY CUMMINGS / PUBLISHER: HQ YOUNG ADULT / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW