If you were to combine the complex characters of Joss Whedon’s Firefly/Serenity series with the phenomenal world and galaxy building of the Mass Effect franchise and threw in a YA twist, you’d find yourself falling in love with authors Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cumming’s novel Zenith. The first in what is being called The Androma Saga, the amazing new YA science fiction series finds a story filled with strong, complex and intriguing female characters fighting to survive in a hostile galaxy. Here is the synopsis:
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.
This book has definitely set the bar very high for the YA genre in 2018. I absolutely loved this complex world the authors built together. It tests the boundaries of the classic tale of good and evil by showing the “heroes” of the story taking some shocking actions to achieve their goals, while the “villains” actions are horrifying yet you see the heartbreaking backstory that set them on this dangerous path, and at times you’ll find yourself empathizing with them. Androma, or Andi, is an incredible new female protagonist, bringing the emotional performance of Clary Fray from Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series with the ruthless heroism of Zoe from the Firefly series. It’s refreshing to see a story explore the many sides of a female protagonist, not just the “kick-ass” side or the “emotional” side, but rather all of it put together, making a well rounded and fantastic character you as a reader will fall in love with throughout the course of the novel.
In a time where projects like Guardians of the Galaxy are taking a hold in pop culture, this story of an all-female crew having to fight and survive in a male dominated world of piracy and politics is a fun twist on the genre, and something we need more of in both books and entertainment as a whole. The setting and imagery used throughout the story is breathtaking as you can instantly picture the scenes in your mind as your reading. The time and creativity the authors took to bring this galaxy and the many planets and races together is evident in every page, and the writing was well done, keeping an even pace while still making you hungry to get to the next chapter with every page of the novel.
Overall I loved this book. It’s a great first book in what I hope will be an incredible series, introducing the Mirabel Galaxy and all of the fun, dangerous and vast elements that drive the characters of this story. I couldn’t find one fault with this story, and with a huge twist and cliff hanger ending leaving room for a second book, I am eager to delve into this powerful universe that was beautifully written by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings. If you haven’t yet, be sure to pick up your copies of Zenith (The Androma Saga #1) today!