Book Review: Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings

my rating: ★★☆☆☆

* I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.

Can I just say how I love that ‘fike’ was just completely removed from the novel entirely?

I am pretty sure that I said in my review of the first part that I wasn’t going to read this once the book came out. I didn’t request the full version so I could bash it, I wanted to go back into this with the belief it could be better. I felt low key guilty of how harsh I was on the snippet, and now that it’s the full story that has been edited so I thought, how bad can it be now? And it is bad. Which is so disappointing because it has a strong concept and inkling of a decent plot which flopped really severely.

The show, don’t tell was a significant flaw I pointed out in part one, but it seems like no one even bothered to acknowledge that? The story is practically done before the halfway point, and they kind of shoved in things just to keep it long. There was no goal set after apart from the journey home. The story jumps from multiple POVs, which they just didn’t utilise properly. It was just so disjointed as it jumped from past and present storylines. It just made the writing disjointed in the tone and pacing. I missed it the first time around, but there’s a rape subplot and Goodreads user Kaylee discusses it much better than I could.

Character-wise, there were so many unremarkable, I actually can’t believe how unimpressive a cast of characters could be. Androma felt like a carbon copy of Celaena. A girl with a dark past, massive chip on her shoulder, and is forced into a do or die situation to be pardoned. I hadn’t read Throne of Glass yet when I read part one, so I hadn’t just understood the criticisms of that back then, but it really does show, and it’s very cringey attempt at doing so. We’re told Andi is vicious, and this is a group of morally grey people. It like the authors were just saying all this stuff to convince us what we see are a group of dangerous girls, but none of that is shown in their actions. She hates killing, but at the same time, loves it? Her persona of the Bloody Baroness is only used in the plot to make those overtly dramatic lines that you’ll see quoted in the merch. Dex was the worst. I could stop there but I won’t. 85% of his parts were ‘remember that time Andi left me for dead on a planet and stole my ship’ and rarely moves on from there. Their romance is actually fucking gross and the least romantic thing. There’s even a non-consensual kiss which Dex only does it because they need the fight to kick off. But it’s never addressed afterwards. I hope they don’t officially become a couple later on in the series. Also, there’s a weird romance between two AIs which made no sense apart from being a quirky and funny moment in the book.

I was lowkey rooting for Lira because there was some side drama happening that was pretty interesting, but the moon chew really got to me. Like what the hell was it? It’s supposed to be bad for her, but she keeps having it, so it reminded me of paan. I feel bad for Breck because I genuinely did not remember her at all. I looked back at my review notes, and I literally wrote ‘who???’. Nor Solis really reminded me of a Throne of Glass character. I felt like she didn’t need so many chapters of her being an edgy blood queen. It could’ve been condensed a bit considering how many POVs there were in this novel. I’ve realised that the only reason Lira actually has some form of a backstory is that they end up in her homeland at one point, but the rest of them? A line here and there about their past but that was honestly forgettable. We’re given too many characters, and despite the length, there is no moment actually to care about them.

Alsberg and Cummings’s original plan for this was to make it a serial and they seriously dodged a bullet by changing their minds. Considering how dull this entire book was, imagine if it was released in parts? The only part that peaked my interest was the last 10% where they somewhat deliver on what they promise, but by then my interest is gone and none of the story stuck to me that made me want to continue.


tw: murder, PTSD, rape subplot. (if you’ve read the book and feel like I’ve missed something out, please tell me!)

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