Zenith (The Androma Saga #1) doesn’t live up to its name

Zenith (The Androma Saga #1) doesn’t live up to its nameZenith (The Androma Saga, #1) by Sasha Alsberg, Lindsay Cummings
Narrator: Caitlin Davies, Jane Oppenheimer, Jordan Claire McCraw, Michael Rahhal, Nicol Zanzarella, Stephen Dexter
Published by HarlequinTeen
Published on 16 January 2018
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 534
Format: eBook
Source: my local library
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RRP: $16.99
2 Stars

There is darkness sweeping across the stars.
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 powerful bounty hunter connected to Andi's past and a harrowing betrayal.

2.5 stars but leaning more towards 2.

I don’t know how to spell anyone’s name because I listened to the audiobook.

Zenith

noun
  1. the time at which something is most powerful or successful.
  2. in astronomy, the point in the sky or celestial sphere directly above an observer.
OK honestly??

I can understand why a lot of people would DNF this. The writing… not competent. I’ve certainly read worse, but if all the repetition were cut out this could have been reduced by about a third. We are constantly reminded that Andi has white and purple hair. We are constantly reminded how sad/ruthless/awesome she is. We are constantly reminded of Lira’s Otherness with her blue skin and flashing scales. We even had two almost identical scenes of Andi waking up in the cargo bay of a spaceship, and I actually had to go into a bookshop and check in a paperback copy to make sure that it actually happened, that the recording wasn’t a mistake or that I hadn’t accidentally skipped backwards on my audiobook. Nope, it was there. So weird.

By the way, what kind of competent captain would hire a pilot who passes out under pressure? Don’t you think a life of supposedly successful pirating, allegedly spreading terror through the galaxy, would make piloting this spacecraft just the TINIEST bit stressful? No? Lira only passes out when it’s convenient to plot? YOU DON’T SAY.

Speaking of Lira, her POV and the POV of the other characters just seemed so redundant. First of all the series is called the Androma Saga, so you’d think it was about Androma. But we get SIX POV in this book. SIX. From the supposedly ‘evil’ queen (who never actually did anything evil?) to her own mother, to Andi’s ex-lover Dex and the boy they’re sent to save, Vallen. But when the story would have been best told from someone else’s POV, we miss out. We get utterly pointless chapters told from Nor’s POV, basically only to show that she enjoys intimacy with her lover (which could be a form of slut shaming?), then she disappears for about half the novel, only reappearing again right near the end. Vallen’s POV is redundant, Lira’s is equally as useless, and Dex’s is only there to reinforce how awesome and desirable Andi is. The only other vaguely interesting one is from Nor’s mother Claren, and that takes place in the past. To top it all off, everyone’s POV is all in third person, so we don’t even get any kind of intimacy or real connection and understanding with the characters.

Basic concepts seem to be wilfully misunderstood, like murder and galaxies. The book’s inciting incident is a crash several years ago that Andi was allegedly responsible for (though that’s not confirmed) that killed the General’s heir Kaylee. Since it happened on a military planet and the General is the leader of the planet, the death of his heir is seen as treason, therefore making it murder, and sentencing Andi to death. Everyone keeps referring to Kaylee’s death as murder, even though by definition murder has to be premeditated, and Andi did not plan Kaylee’s death at all. At most it would be manslaughter. You can argue that Earth laws don’t apply in sci-fi and whatnot but the reality is that everyone calling a clear accident murder makes everyone look like a dumbass. Andi also keeps calling the incident ‘a mistake’ instead of ‘an accident’ which really annoyed me. Like she chose to crash the ship from bad judgement rather than whatever it was that caused the crash (which I’m still not clear on, despite getting several flashbacks from Andi’s POV about the incident). It’s all about choice: Did Andi choose the crash the ship? No. It was an accident, not a mistake. Did she choose to kill Kaylee? Not, it was an accident, not murder. I mean, we learn this basic concept in The Lion King:

Shout to my husband for making me this gif because I could not find this exact moment anywhere.

SCAR: It’s your fault he’s dead. Do you deny it?

SIMBA: No.

SCAR: Then you’re guilty.

SIMBA: No, I am not a murderer!

And look, yes, obviously the General is in charge and he wanted Andi dead for Kaylee’s death and they’re going to do it because of who he is, but this obstruction of justice was never addressed. I can even easily imagine some non-Constitutional monarchies in this world pulling the same shit and not letting justice get in the way of revenge, but like I said, this is never addressed. Andi’s just a murderer and the crash was a mistake, not an accident.

Not only is this basic concept completely reinterpreted, but the characters in this book also get the basic concept of a galaxy wrong. Multiple times it is inferred that a planetary system is a galaxy, that that by making the planetary system safe they are making the galaxy safe. They refer to interstellar or interplanetary meetings as intergalactic. Intergalactic means between galaxies. This basic misunderstanding really annoyed me I mean jeez, this is a sci-fi, at least get the scientific terminology correct.

This book also contradicts itself. The supposedly impenetrable ‘glass’ spaceship has metal shields to protect it from space fights and becomes junk once it crash lands on a planet, and people easily gain entrance. Not so impenetrable hey? If you want to show me a POV that actually matters, how about one that shows how anyone gets past a military planet’s supposedly impenetrable security? Like…. Nor’s? She was a useless POV earlier, could have utilised her now. No? Would it give too much away? Or would it explain it and make it easier to suspend my disbelief, and build dread and anticipation while the other main characters have no idea?

Another point where the book contradicted itself was Andi. She was supposed to be this ruthless badass killer, notching tallies on her swords and slicing off limbs with no regards or feelings… but in the privacy of her own space she threw herself massive pity parties, the guilt from killing people dragging me doooooown… and OH MY GOD IT NEVER FUCKING ENDED. It was like the authors wanted a badass ruthless mercenary with feelings because OH NO what if some people didn’t like Andi? And yes, I acknowledge that characters can be three dimensional, and a badass with feelings is not new territory, but it was her constant guilt and feeling so sorry for herself and being Kaylee’s MURDERER like she wrapped her hands around Kaylee’s neck and squeezed just didn’t work. It didn’t work. Because it was repetitive. It just didn’t work, because it was repetitive. (lol)

And on top of that, the whole thing stinks of Throne of Glass. Like the Zenith took a roll in the pages of Throne of Glass and shook. Now, I did not really enjoy Throne of Glass, because it was about an allegedly badass assassin who was actually a really crap non-assassin. I do think Zenith was better written than Throne of Glass, but the similarities between Andi and Celeana were striking. They both had white blonde hair. They were both tragically beautiful. They were both ridiculously tragic figures mentally (and in Andi’s case physically) scarred by their pasts. They were both forced into doing a thing they didn’t want to do to gain their freedom from the political leader of their respective novel. They were ‘allegedly’ badass warriors. But out of the two of them, only Andi carried this guilt around with her because she had feelings and didn’t let boys get in the way of her mission, and had actual friendships with other more than one other girl. I like Andi better than Celeana and I think she’s a better written and better developed character, but as I was reading I kept thinking of Throne of Glass.

But I kind of liked the ending.


The Blurb

Oh, so one of the authors is a YouTuber? I could not care less. I’m barely on social media and I’ve never heard of either of these authors. I borrowed the audiobook based on the blurb. I also have some things to say about that:

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.

Uh yeah, except she’s not a powerful mercenary, she’s running low on fuel and money and can’t afford a cook, and you can tell me she has a reign of terror but I really don’t see anything vaguely regarding that?

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.

  1. It’s not a routine mission.
  2. The mission is successful.
  3. No one was really tested, as they easily overcame any obstacles.
  4. The situation is far from treacherous, they’re going to a freaking ball.
  5. The bounty hunter is not sadistic, he’s basically a lovesick puppy. Come on, who wrote this blurb?

One more thing:

This is only a two book duology, yet it’s called The Androma Saga.

Saga

noun
  1. a long story of heroic achievement
  2. a long, involved story, account, o series of incidents

This is only a two book series! And it has SIX points of view in the very first book, how can it be named after only one character?!

 

Nemo
Nemo

About Nemo

A lover of kittens and all things sparkly, Nemo specialises in reading and reviewing contemporary, paranormal, historical, sci-fi and fantasy Young Adult fiction. She especially loves novels about princesses, strong female friendships, magical powers, healing, and assassins.

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