Lindsay Cummings, Sasha Alsberg
Published date
HQ Young Adults

Zenith is a space opera written by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings. The main character is Androma Racella, a powerful mercenary and space pirate with a very catchy nickname, Bloody Baroness. She’s a captain of spaceship Marauder, and together with her crew of equally dangerous girls, they are flying across Mirabel Galaxy in search of well-paid jobs. Everything changes when they got caught by a bounty hunter Dex and got a proposal they can’t refuse. They must embark on a mission no one else in the galaxy can fulfil.

Zenith is quite a big book which can be a little intimidating at first. But it starts with loads of action, so you can quickly get dragged into the story. Unfortunately, it’s not action packed through a whole book. It’s a bit segmented, we have parts with loads of adventures, where events unfold quickly, but then it all slows down, and there’s like a hundred pages, where nothing exciting is happening. The characters just hang out, rests or thing about their poor life choices. For me, it was a bit too much. I prefer it when this kind of book has more action in it. I think the book could do well without at least a hundred pages.

But when the action was there, it was epic and spectacular. Guns and electric sword fights, homemade explosives, prison breaks, there is a lot of terrific sequences there. Zenith also has a lot of original world building. The planets which characters were visiting were reasonably well described, and each of them was quite different. What I lack was a bit more explanation about different races populating the Mirabel Galaxy. There were a lot of them, but mostly there were just a few words about their looks, not much about where they come from, specific customs, or even a language. It seems like everyone in the galaxy was the same, just with different shapes or blood colour.

The characters were easily likeable. Zenith is full of powerful independent girls and women. Andy’s crew is her only family, and they support each other in every situation. It’s good to see a good female friendship in YA book. There is also a romance between Androma and bounty hunter Dex, it’s typical love/hate relationship. I didn’t like it much, to be honest. For me, their feelings were described very chaotically. The chapters are from the different characters point of view, so we could see what each of them was thinking. And especially in the case of Dex, I was irritated. He was continually changing his desire between killing Andy and throwing her off the ship she stole from him to stalking her constantly and begging her with sad puppy eyes for a talk about their past and fixing their relationship. Honestly, it was really irritating for me.

I think I like the most parts about Nor, the Queen of the dying planet who is plotting her revenge on the whole galaxy, which brings destruction on her world. I liked the idea of the isolated system, which was left to die and still its people were fighting to survive, preparing for their great come back. And from here there will be a great threat for Mirabel Galaxy, which no one saw coming.

Even though we had to wait long for the last action sequence (literary a hundred pages, I was counting) it was worth the wait. It wasn’t exactly surprising but was well executed. All plans went to hell, and everything got thrown upside down. As you can imagine, Andy is not going to come back to her predictable space pirate life any time soon. While I was reading this book, I was not sure if I want to continue with the series, but after this ending, I’m curious what the authors will come up with next. So that’s a good ending. If you like sci-fi with strong female protagonists, you can give this book a shot!