My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I received an e-ARC of Zenith via Netgalley in return for an honest review.
This was easily my most anticipated book of the year and I am thrilled that for once a book lived up to the hype surrounding it. From the first page I was completely immersed in the worlds that were being built as the story unfolded and I was torn between wanting to read as fast as my eyes could manage and wanting to savour spending time with the characters I grew to love.
Zenith follows a group of female space pirates as they travel around the Mirabel Galaxy in a glass starship taking on jobs and fighting to survive. The book has a real “Firefly” feel about it, not in terms of plot but in terms of the camraderie and relationships of people who spend most of their lives in close confines together travelling in Space.
The strongest part of this book is, for me, the characterisation. Andi, the fearless captain of the ship is brave and heroic but also vulnerable. Alsberg and Cummings have managed to create a character who is believable as a powerful and fearsome mercenary but with a delicately woven backstory that explains her guardedness and reminds you that underneath the bravado she is still a young woman who has been through great emotional trauma and let down repeatedly by those she loved. I love Andi. I want to be her friend and go on adventures with her.
The rest of the crew are also delightful. So often I find that one or more characters in a novel annoy me but here each character seemed to fit perfectly within their role, both on the ship and in the story. When reading you are 100% behind the dysfunctional family they have formed and that helps to immerse you within the story.
It has been a long time since I read a book in which I have been as immersed as I was when reading Zenith. There is a lot of world building initially, but miraculously this doesn’t slow down the pace at all. The descriptions and explanations only serve to move the story along or are complementary to the plot and do not take away from it. The chapters are short and switch between each characters different view point which I really like as a style because it allows you to get to know all of the characters better. It’s a glimpse directly into their minds instead of getting to know them through a narrator or another character.
As the book came towards the last 10% of action the plot blew up completely, and I mean that in the best way possible. At several points I exclaimed out loud in disbelief at what was going on because I hadn’t seen it coming. All the signs had been there along the way but the climax of the book felt like it popped up and slapped me in the face because it was so well written. I love it when books can surprise you like that and make you realise that actually, if you went back and read the book again you’d notice the clues and scream at yourself “Of course that’s what was happening!”
I highly recommend Zenith to readers who love a good Space adventure. Fans of the tv show “Firefly” and books like “A long way to a small angry planet” by Becky Chambers will love this.
Zenith is published 11th January 2018.