WHEN THE UNIVERSE NEEDS SAVING
THERE’S ONLY ONE GIRL FOR THE JOB
Most know Androma as a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her glass starship, Maurauder, however, she’s just Andi, their friend and fearless leader.
But when a routine mission goes awry, the Maurauder’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.
As the Maurauder hurtles towards 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.
What I thought?
Zenith is book one of The Androma Saga and it has definitely whet my appetite to keep reading.
I am not familiar with either author’s other work in terms of either writing or YouTube so it was nice to come to this fresh with no real preconceptions.
What I did find was a book that seemed to be influenced by a lot of other YA and pop culture I’ve loved. The prison break aspect of Six of Crows, a pinch of Divergent, a Ship of Firefly roguishness, even a Handmaid’s tale feel, and a Potter reminiscent team nickname.
The book starts with a Prologue and then continues with chapters each headed up from a different character’s point of view. The characters we hear from are the main series protagonist Androma (Andi aka The Bloody Baroness), Klaren (a historical character), Dex (the Bounty Hunter from the synopsis and Andi’s ex), Lira (Andi’s crewmate and best friend), Nor (The Queen of a planet that holds a tentative peace with the rest of the galaxy) and Valen (the mission!).
Here comes my first issue with the book. I was fine with the amount of POV characters given the scale of the story and would have even liked to hear from the other two crew mates. However the book breaks its own rules. It sets up each chapter clearly with whose point of view it’s meant to be from and for some reason in a couple of Dex’s chapters we get a switch to Andi’s point of view that is entirely unnecessary and does momentarily take you out of the story.
The other issues I had were that there was frequent repetition of concepts and thoughts such as Valen’s thirst for vengeance and Andi’s guilt over an event that occurred in the past. Whilst it is true that the more we returned to these thoughts the more the ideas and action behind them became clearer, and it is true that people do become fixated on issues, I think a few incidences could have been edited out. And there was definitely no need to keep stating the colour of Andi’s hair so frequently. White blond with purple – which to be fair does sounds like a pretty cool look. There was also a few clunky phrases such as ‘downing half a bottle in one sip’.
But, equally there was some great use of phrasing including the particularly disgusting reference to ‘palm juice’ which made me feel quite queasy but that really worked in context.
Above all I loved the Maurauders. The relationship between the all-girl crew of Andi, Lira, Gilly and Breck was what I enjoyed most about the book. Gilly is such a firecracker and so young that I was drawn to her story in particular and would love to hear from her point of view in future books. I also thought the blend of femininity and violence within them worked well and that, although the girls were total badasses, they could also get very excited about pretty dresses. The relationships between all of the characters was what drove the plot and what made the issues I had with the book easy to overcome.
I’ve seen reviews saying that the worldbuilding was sloppy but personally I thought this was another strength and I loved the inclusion of the historical perspective from the distant past as well as Andi’s more recent past and the idea that all the characters are running away from things we know they are going to need to face. The whole world history and individual character experience also pull together in a dramatic conclusion. The Zenith of the title takes a while to materialise but when it does you feel its impact.
This book is a great mash up story – a space opera – with such scope for character development. I had a few issues with the editing but the plot is clever, the characters complex and it’s really a lot of fun. I’d love to see it filmed, it’s very cinematic and would make a great tv series. Now can someone tell me when book two is due out?
Thanks to HQ for the finished copy for the purposes of this review. Opinions are as ever my own.
Earlier this year I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Iron Fist – the first in Andy Briggs’ The Inventory series, about a top secret vault that contains banned gadgets that are too dangerous to be in the world. You can see my interview with author Andy Briggs here.
Book two of the series Gravity is already here and having enjoyed the first book I was eager to read more about Dev and his friend Lot and Mason’s adventures.
Eeek! Think that’s a monster? Nope: it’s a person. What terrible weapon could do this…? Errr – well, that used to be top-secret. Problem: it’s not quite so secret anymore. Dev messed up big time the day he let the ruthless Shadow Helix gang into the Inventory. What is the Inventory, we hear you ask? Well, it’s the secret lockup for all the deadly battle tech the world is NOT ready for. Which is why letting it get nicked was a REALLY BAD IDEA. Now the Shadow Helix have Newton’s Arrow: a terrifying weapon that messes with gravity, causing … well, you get the picture from this book’s cover. Dev and his mates HAVE to get it back – even if it means crossing the entire globe. To stop this evil, no trip is too far!
Andy Briggs is a screenwriter, producer and author of the Hero.com, Villain.net and Tarzan series. Andy has worked on film development for Paramount and Warner Bros, as well as working with Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee and producer Robert Evans. With a strong social media following, Andy tours the UK regularly, doing festival, school and library events.
What I Thought?
After the big reveal at the end of the first book Andy Briggs catapults Dev and his friends straight into the action with the aim of retrieving the missing tech stolen from the vault. It’s really not long before the three teens are out on their own facing evil foes half way across the world. I enjoyed that this fact was poked fun out of in the book, although it definitely made the adult characters, particularly Charles Parker, less sympathetic.
Dev reminded me of Book 5 Harry in this story and he certainly has some big issues to deal with, which makes him the main focus of this story. The parallel between him and some of the other characters is explored well.
There is more fun technology and science to explore and the plot is certainly action packed. For me, I would have liked a few more quieter moments and perhaps a bit more exploration of Lot and Mason’s characters, although they both get their own kick-ass moments.
This is a really fun series that I’m looking forward to keeping up with and continue to recommend. It is very visual and I’d love to see it as a TV series and/or Graphic Novel.
My stop is the last on the blog tour but you can check out the other stops for more reviews and features.
Thanks to Scholastic for the free copy – all opinions are my own.