Sunday, May 13, 2018

REVIEW: Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings - Paige

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM
Genre: YA(?) Sci-Fi (more on the question mark later)
Recommended Age: 16+ (tons of sexual references, toilet humor, gore, violence, death, and an attempt at characters with mental health issues)
Pages: 534
Disclaimer: I regretfully got a signed copy of this book with my own money. Bye-bye $40.


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.


Oh boy. Oh geez. Where do I start? And begin?

Did that annoy you up there? If so then don’t read Zenith; because that’s what I dealt with throughout the entirety of this book. I normal never tell people to not read a book. A book is interpretative to all. But when a book has a ton of issues in it I start to question if it could even be readable to anyone. But before we go into that, let’s start with the good about this book. I thought the premise was amazing and God bless the poor writer who had to write up that synopsis because that’s the best you’ll get out of this book.

What happens if you don’t read the synopsis? Well you’re pretty screwed for the whole of the novel. That’s the situation I found myself in when I started this book. The book does a horrible job at world building and presenting this world at all. There are concepts introduced in this book that don’t make sense, like planets or sayings or things that are completely ridiculous statements since the reader has no clue what the authors are trying to say. There is a map in the beginning of the book that I tried to use as I couldn’t get a grip on any of the worlds visited by the heroes. Not to mention that none of the heroes are worried about the air content of any of the worlds they visit on their journey. You know… air… that thing that is needed to breathe. Along with that none of the creatures made sense. When a creature evolves it’s to give them a benefit for the world they have to conform to. Giraffes grew long necks to reach trees their competitors couldn’t. Polar bears grew thick fur to survive freezing climates. Lira has Lite Brite skin because…. Well your guess is as good as mine. Breck also has this issue in that she has bulletproof skin. The word bulletproof does not mean what the authors want it to mean in this context. The word they were looking for was impenetrable. The way bulletproofing works is that it helps absorb the shock of the bullet by spreading the force across the whole of the body or vest or what have you. The bullet still penetrates the object, but it significantly slows down the bullet and reduces the damage done. Henceforth, the closer the target, the more the bullet will sink into the object. The way Breck’s skin is described in this book is that the bullets flatten when it hits her skin. That’s not bulletproof. Not even manholes will make bullets do that. Sure, the nose of a bullet might become dented or flattened, but not to the degree that was described in this book. What really should have happened was that the bullets (for bulletproof) get absorbed by her skin and lessen the impact so vital organs aren’t damaged or (for impenetrable) bounce off the skin like Superman. While the impenetrable would allow for some degree of skepticism, it would at least be better than bulletproof. Andi, Dex, and Gilly aren’t very well described either. Are they human like? How have they adapted to living in space without any protective wear in a galaxy that can’t possibly have the same exact combination of chemicals to make air breathable for them? Your guess is as good as mine. This galaxy and these characters do not make any sense what so ever.

Another thing that annoyed me about this book was the simplistic, repetitive writing. The writing done in instances of developing Andi, Valden, and Lira’s characters, for example, were so repetitive that it basically just tries to hammer in one detail over and over and over and over and over again. This was done to all of the characters (except for Gilly who we never really get to know at all in this book) that I don’t feel like I know anything about them EXCEPT FOR THAT ONE STUPID DETAIL. The writing would have made for an okay middle grade novel except for the fact that every other chapter until over halfway through the book had at least one mention of sex in it. These were not discreet like what usually happens in YA novels. They were very blunt and sometimes a little too descriptive for what I felt is appropriate for most teens. I also feel this would have been a better middle grade novel because there was a joke about a character crapping their pants in this book. Like seriously? What was the last YA novel you read where, for comedic effect, a character crapped their pants and another character pointed it out rudely and directly?

The other things about this book that made this book horrible was the confusing plot, the unsteady pacing, and the constant POV and time changes. The way the chapters were labeled and composed really irritated me the most. The prologue opens up with no name, just a location. The first chapter is titled with Androma (which by the way is a rip off name from Andromeda. Why not just add the E and the D to the word to make a better sounding name?), and then a few chapters later we’re introduced to a character and a year. Why is this not consistent? What year does the main story take place? Why are we getting all of this confusing backstory? The world may never know. The flashback chapters are all written in italics as well and during one very hard to understand chapter the POV switches 3 times. If each chapter is supposed to represent a POV switch WHY IS THE POV SWITCHING IN THE CHAPTERS? It makes the reader confused and frustrated with the novel when they have to read something like this. Finally, the book has a problem that a lot of duel written novels successfully avoid. It’s really easy to tell that two different people wrote this book. You can tell which chapters belong to Lindsay and which to Sasha. The ones with the less experienced author are embarrassing with short, childlike sentences and confusing metaphors; and then Lindsay’s chapters are well written with structurally sound sentences and flowing words. With this being said, I’m not making fun of Sasha’s reading difficulties. I too sometimes have issues with writing and reading, and I had a close cousin with such a bad disorder that she couldn’t spell “picnic” until she was in her twenties. I think Sasha’s ability to have written a book and publish it is amazing and should be commended. However, I don’t think this book is good and I know she could have done better. The writing is really lazy and seems rushed, like the deadline came too soon for her which could speak to her time management skills.

I also want to comment on a few other things about this book. The cover states that this book is from “#1 New York Times Bestselling Authors”.  While this is true, it’s a white lie. The authors hit #1 not for this book, but for the teaser form of this book in Young Adult E-Book on July 10, 2016. Once this book was published, the book only got as high as #7 in Young Adult Hardcover on February 4, 2018. The cover is a white lie in order to get people to buy the book as statistics have shown that books are bought more often if the affiliation of New York Times bestselling is printed on the cover. It’s a money draw and I don’t like that. I also have a big issue with how Sasha has been promoting this book. On her Instagram stories about a few months ago, she asked for her “fans” to help her get Project Red (her upcoming novel) by giving reviews to Zenith. Specifically, she approximately stated, “make sure to give Zenith a good review so I can get Project Red picked up!” The begging for good reviews on one’s work is deceitful and disingenuous to not only your fans but to all authors. Most authors do not have the platform that Sasha has and by her exploiting it like so only further exploits a major flaw we have in the writing world where the “popular” authors get a ton of attention and obscure those of “lesser known” and “indie” authors. It also exploits her fans. Many of them are young children that don’t know how to adequately review products. When they publish false reviews, this majorly skews the overall rating of the book. This goes for both fake good and fake bad reviews. This book has been the topic of much scandal and debate and the attention, good and bad, that it currently is receiving won’t die down for anytime soon.

Verdict: I’ve got a lot of problems with this book! And now you’re gonna hear about it!


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