Author: Lindsay Cummings and Sasha Alsberg
Series: The Androma Saga, #1
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: January 16th 2018
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.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
My Thoughts On…
After years on the run for an accident which saw her branded as a traitor on her home planet, years to build a fearsome reputation as the Bloody Baroness, Androma’s past has finally caught up with her. At the mercy of General Cortas Andi and her crew of marauders are offered a deal; travel to Xen Ptera, to the cruellest prison in the galaxy, to save the generals son and all their crimes will be wiped clean.
The writing at the beginning of Zenith felt very choppy, and I struggled to get into the story. There are a lot of different POVs in Zenith – Androma, Dex, Lira, Valen, Nor, and Klaren – and that mixed with the short chapters meant I found it hard to connect with the story and the characters. It seemed like whenever I got used to one character the narrative was switched to another characters’ story which left me lost a couple of times.
Across the galaxy the ruthless Queen Nor of Xen Ptera is preparing for war. Her planet is dying and she seeks revenge on those who brought about Xen Ptera’s destruction, who murdered her parents and poisoned the air of her home, mutating her people. Meanwhile, forced to work with the bounty hunter who broke her heart and betrayed her years before, Andi and her crew prepare to break into Lunamere, the deadliest prison in the galaxy, a job which could just as easily reignite war as it could offer them all their freedom.
It took me a while to get into this story, and while some of the quick POV chapter changes pulled me out every so often, I did end up enjoying Zenith. It was a good story, plenty of action with a lot at stake for Andi and her crew to keep me hooked. Granted this wasn’t the best sci-fi book I’ve read, it was missing that spark which made it stand out, but I thought Zenith was a solid start to The Androma Saga and I’ll be looking forwards to the second book.
Androma lost everything when she was branded a traitor. She was forced to find a new home and a new family, which she eventually did through the Marauder and her crew. Andi doesn’t think about her past, blocking everything that happened to Kalee and later with Dex from her mind, but the mission they find themselves on starts dredging up those emotions as she’s surrounded by her past.
I thought Andi was a great character. She does what needs to be done with seemingly no remorse but she still cares, about her crew and about the lives she takes. The confidence she has in her skills is a quiet confidence, she knows how good she is and doesn’t need to prove it to anyone by being brash or reckless or arrogant.
Dex is supposed to be a great bounty hunter, the mission he joins Andi and her crew on offers him a chance to be reinstated as a Guardian which is what he has worked to his whole life, but I saw no evidence of this. Despite the fact that Dex is a formidable hunter, that he taught Andi everything she knows, most of his POV chapters were full of him moaning and brooding over his feelings for Andi.
The relationship between Dex and Andi bored me a little. I liked their characters well enough separately but their scenes together, when their feelings and their past together stood in between them, just seemed to drag. It felt like a standard relationship template that could be in any book and I had no real interest in whether they’d end up together again or not.
Zenith spent a lot of time with Andi’s crew aboard the Marauder, but I felt the development of Breck and Gilly was really lacking. We knew a lot about Andi and her second-in-command Lira through their POV chapters, but honestly looking back I couldn’t tell you anything about the other half of the marauders’ that doesn’t feel like simple surface information.
Nor was another character I loved. The Queen of the dying Xen Ptera wants revenge, she wants the rest of Mirabel Galaxy to pay for what they did to her planet in the name of their war before leaving Xen Ptera and its people dying after the peace treaty was signed. Nor is brutal and cruel, she has had years to put her plans into place and she has used those years very well. Throughout the story we discover more about Nor’s heritage, learn more about her parents, which gives further development to Nor’s character and the journey she is on in Zenith.
Through Andi’s ship we travel all over the Mirabel Galaxy with the marauders’ in Zenith. However the strength of the world building in this book is the history the authors have created. The war between Xen Ptera and the rest of the planets that makes up the Olen system was detailed and well-written; giving us the necessary background to understand the real risks as Andi and her crew travel to Lunamere on the edge of Xen Ptera territory, and to further develop Nor’s desire for revenge. That’s not to say the planets we explored alongside the marauders, the utopia world of Arcardius and the ruined planet of Xen Ptera, weren’t well written either, it was just that the history in this book stood out for me more.
There are a fair few mixed reviews out there for Zenith so I did go into this book with lowered expectations, but in the end I thought it was still a really good story and a solid start to a new series. The beginning of Zenith was hard to get into, but once I got used to the POV changes and got to know the characters a little better I was hooked on the action and adventure.
What did you think of Zenith? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.
All quotes have been taken from an ARC and may differ in the final publication.