Zenith

Zenith

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 m...

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Title:Zenith
Author:Sasha Alsberg
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Zenith Reviews

  • Lindsay Cummings

    I mean...I'm a bit biased, but the authors of this book are SUPER cool.

  • Emma Giordano

    Edit 4/7 - After further reflection, I've decided to drop my rating to 3 stars. All of my previous likes/dislikes of

    still stand, but I feel 3 stars is a better representation of my positives/negatives for this novel. While there were so many things about

    that I enjoyed from an entertaining perspective, the criticisms I have expressed below are more present in my mind than I originally felt.

    4 stars! I really enjoyed

    . High-concept sci-fi isn’t really my thing but as I’ve read

    Edit 4/7 - After further reflection, I've decided to drop my rating to 3 stars. All of my previous likes/dislikes of

    still stand, but I feel 3 stars is a better representation of my positives/negatives for this novel. While there were so many things about

    that I enjoyed from an entertaining perspective, the criticisms I have expressed below are more present in my mind than I originally felt.

    4 stars! I really enjoyed

    . High-concept sci-fi isn’t really my thing but as I’ve read more sci-fi in the last few months and have really enjoyed them, something about

    definitely struck me!

    CW: murder/death, ptsd, rape

    My favorite thing about

    was the plot. I’ve always considered myself a plot-based reader, so if the story is adventurous, suspenseful, and high-intensity, it’s typically a great fit for me. I really didn’t know much about it before diving in other than epic girl gang of space pirates (which was enough to sell me) so the progression of different plot points and twists and turns was always an exciting surprise! The ending also caught me SUPER off-guard; I was not expecting it at all and the cliffhanger finale leaves so much to be explored in book two and I am going WILD trying to anticipate where things go from here.

    I also really enjoyed the characters. I am a sucker for an externally hard protagonist with a vulnerable side and an admirable dedication to the people she loves, so I naturally fell in love with Andi. I think Lira has to be my favorite character – I was nervous starting this story, afraid her character arc would be confined to the dutiful second-in-command with no individuality, but I was SO PLEASED to get her backstory and see her own story arise within

    . The “best friend” in YA rarely gets their own perspective, so that is one unique element I loved about this story. I also love Breck and Gilly, though their characters are not explored as in depth as Andy or Lira, and I do hope they receive more page time in the sequel. I particularly appreciated Gilly’s character as younger teens can sometimes be sidelined in YA (16, 17, and 18 year olds always get the spotlight), and I adore the idea that a 13 year old girl can defy all odds and be a badass on a spaceship. Valen was another favorite of mine – similar to Andy, he is rough around the edges but I fell in love with his soft side and am super excited to see the progression of his character arc from this point forward. I have to say my least favorite character was Dex – I feel he tried to hard to fit the “snarky yet charming, frustrating but loveable” YA love interest trope. I think there’s hope for me to like him in the future, but I couldn’t fall into the hype for him. Also, Alfie is an amazing addition to the story and I strongly desire a spin off where he is the protagonist.

    As this is a book with 6 different POVs, I felt the shorter chapters complimented the various perspectives and made it easier to follow along. I will say, I wish the POVs were more equal, with Andi, Lira, and Dex dominating where Valen, Nor, and Klaren are much less frequent. My favorite perspectives were of course Lira, Andi, and Valen, with Dex being my least favorite. While I now understand the importance of Klaren’s chapters after finishing, I wish we had gotten more out of her story because I spent a lot of her chapters wishing to go back to the present story, specifically because there wasn’t enough of her.

    I really enjoyed the writing of the story. One element I noticed was how well choreographed the fight scenes were. I felt the writing was descriptive and engaging, yet kept the story focused on the present and was not distracting. My biggest struggle with this story was the dialogue. Interestingly enough, I had fewer problems in the interactions between the Marauder crew, Andi and Valen, or virtually anyone else besides Dex. There was something about scenes with him that felt almost too planned – One of my biggest pet peeves in literature is being able to tell when an author is writing dialogue as opposed to a character speaking naturally, and I’m afraid that was a frequent feeling of mine while reading

    . Of course, this could just be the fact that Dex just irks me for some reason. I have not yet Lindsay’s other works, but I am aware this is Sasha’s debut and she has admitted to struggling with dialogue the most, so while that is evident in the story, it is definitely a skill that can be improved upon.

    If I have one final critique, I’m confident this book could have been condensed to be shorter. *

    There are SO many simultaneous plot lines that the story dragged at some points because there were so many story arcs to keep track of.* While I enjoyed my time reading, it was a dense read which caused me to take a break and read a lighter book (which I’ve never done before) in order to sort of “reset” myself to stay engaged with the story. *

    My engagement with the story was definitely another issue I experienced and I feel if the book had been edited down, I would have fallen into the novel much easier.*

    Overall, I really enjoyed

    . It was the type of entertaining, high-intensity sci-fi novel I love to read. I will definitely be reading book two!

  • Hailey (HaileyinBookland)

    2.5* possibly?

    ** An author is not their book. I am going to be honest whether I know the author or not. Me critiquing a book is not a personal attack on the author, no matter who they may be. I am super proud of these ladies for getting BookTubers names on a published book, whether I liked the book or not does not change that fact.**

    The audiobook was definitely the route to go with this one for me. The story overall was entertaining and pretty enjoyable, though a bit corny. I had a few issues wi

    2.5* possibly?

    ** An author is not their book. I am going to be honest whether I know the author or not. Me critiquing a book is not a personal attack on the author, no matter who they may be. I am super proud of these ladies for getting BookTubers names on a published book, whether I liked the book or not does not change that fact.**

    The audiobook was definitely the route to go with this one for me. The story overall was entertaining and pretty enjoyable, though a bit corny. I had a few issues with the writing, repetition, conciseness, and word choice being chief among them. The story didn't need to be as long as it was, nor did it need to have as many characters as it did, but they were a fun group of girls who exhibited a great example of the strength of female friendship. If you're apprehensive about trying this out, maybe give the audiobook a go! It was a great full cast audio and really helped to bring the story to life.

  • Amber Robertson

    Trigger Warnings: murder, PTSD (bad rep), grief

    : I’m not sure if I missed it, but a rape subplot is in the final copy.

    R A M B L E

    Here’s the thing, I knew Zenith wasn’t going to be the book for me. I knew it in my soul. I had read the small snippet that was released last year. I hated it. At first, I was shocked, because it was pretty good on my first read

    Trigger Warnings: murder, PTSD (bad rep), grief

    : I’m not sure if I missed it, but a rape subplot is in the final copy.

    R A M B L E

    Here’s the thing, I knew Zenith wasn’t going to be the book for me. I knew it in my soul. I had read the small snippet that was released last year. I hated it. At first, I was shocked, because it was pretty good on my first read through. However, the more I sat on it the more I hated it. This 500-page copy of Zenith was somehow worse than those first 62 pages that were released.

    I have never been so bored reading a book. Nothing happens. These characters are dull and our main character, Androma (Andi), is so fucking boring. I’m going to talk about this later in this review, but it is insane what an unmemorable character she was.

    It felt like Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings tried too hard to turn Zenith into something it wasn’t. Filled with a ridiculous amount of POV chapters I feel the story was lost within side plots that did not add to the story in any way. I also believe that the duo tried to create a story that would be similar to the YA favourite Six of Crows and Throne of Glass. I found myself picking up on many similarities throughout the 500-page novel and wanting to roll my eyes.

    Not even that, but simply the overwhelming fact that the writing style was boring. It was clear that one part of the novel had been more heavily edited than the second half. It was also incredibly clear that this book was written by two authors. In my opinion, the duo’s writing styles didn’t flow together and left this particular version of the book feeling clunky. The flow was truly off, with the pair focusing more on scenes that added useless information to the story rather than the main plot.

    It wasn’t even that, actually. The first part of the book (the original 62 pages) had been edited to have a sort of flowery style of writing. It was confusing and unnecessary the amount of metaphors and similes that had been thrown into this book. None of which really made sense. However, that style of writing basically completely stops out of nowhere and it becomes incredibly messy. I know this is an eARC but I found several mistakes throughout and repeats of words and phrases. I definitely couldn’t stand the fact that you were told Andi’s backstory every fifty or so pages. It was frustrating because purely because this book could have been 300 pages shorter and still delivered the same plot.

    I also quickly want to mention the girls inclusion of PTSD. As someone who has PTSD I found their attempt at representing it through their main character laughable. It wasn’t good. It was clunky and thrown in when it best suited them. It didn’t add to the character and it wasn’t mentioned until convenient. In no way did Andi come across as someone who was struggling with PTSD. It actually incredibly frustrated me. Sure, there are many types of PTSD but in the case of this particular book it wasn’t displayed accurately. The girls would have been better to just drop that entire piece of the book.

    P L O T

    Plot is a funny word to use in regards to this book. Mainly because for 490 pages nothing happens. I truly wish I was kidding. The excitement and climax of the book happens just seconds off you ending the book. It felt sloppy, it felt like it wasn’t edited and, boy, did it feel rushed. It felt as if the authors had a deadline to meet and where throwing every cliche on paper in order to get their book in. It was frustrating to read.

    The primary plot of this is that the Bloody Baroness (this nickname is a joke and I’ll talk more about it in my characters section) has been recruited by a man who hates her to rescue his son with a man she tried to kill. Really, there are so many other YA stories where this is executed much better. This particular mission is accomplished within 40% of the book. The characters have retrieved him successfully. For 50% we get to watch every other fuck around and have a ridiculous amount of POV chapters.

    I wish I was kidding about the POV chapters. There were at least 6 POV chapters. One takes place in the past, three are people on the ship, one is the evil queen and one is the guy who is being rescued. A ridiculous amount and many of which could have been taken out. We really only needed the main character’s perspective and this book could have been so much shorter.

    C H A R A C T E R S

    There are so many pointless fucking characters in Zenith. I apologise for the language that is about to arise, but I’m getting mad just remembering this book. There’s the crew on the Marauder, all women space pirates which sounds awesome but trust me I’m not. There’s like a 12 year old murderer, Lira, and a giantess? I have no idea, honestly. They were made clearly not important or relevant to have a backstory. The only character who gets a POV chapter is Lira, a perspective that really wasn’t needed to add to the story.

    For this section I only want to talk about Androma, because I have a lot to say and this review is already longer than my usual. There are characters like Dex who I liked better, Nor who was an evil bitch that I wanted to murder everyone and Valen who was useless.

    #A N D R O M A R A C E L L A

    Lets get into this. Hello Androma Racella, an attempt at both Celaena Sardothien and Kaz Brekker. A terrible attempt. It doesn’t matter if you only like Throne of Glass or Six of Crows you will cringe at this clear attempt at trying to be like your favourite characters. I truly have never read a more unimpressive character in a fantasy novel. I have never been more bored in a fantasy novel either. However, Andi’s perspective had to be some of the most boring ever.

    I want to start off with my first major hate for the scary and fearless main character. The fact that she is not this big amazing character that we are meant to believe. She is feared throughout the galaxies and the authors have described her as ruthless time and time again. This is so incorrect. With a title like the Bloody Baroness you don’t expect a character to take time to mark each death on her blade and mourn the deaths under her blade. It was truly pathetic, honestly. She thinks she’s a monster but she continues to kill and enjoy it? Her character was a contradiction that didn’t make sense. I ranted about this in my part one review of the novella. It seems that it wasn’t changed when they forced this book to hit 500 pages (seriously, Andi isn’t interesting enough to be worth 100 pages).

    She also treats everyone like shit. From her crew who she is meant to love to her ex boyfriend. Which was a romance that led to nothing. Throughout the entire book you are seeing Andi and her ex Dex flirt and kind of grow their feelings as they learn what happened before the big betrayal. It leads to nothing. They ultimately go ‘well we had our chance lmao nice knowing you’ and I’m like are you fucking serious?!

    This book is a whole lot of nothing. The characters are a whole lot of nothing. The ultimate thing accomplished throughout this book is…you guessed it, nothing! 500 pages of shitty characters and nothing. I’m going insane even thinking about this book, oh my God someone stop me from ripping my hair out.

    O V E R A L L

    Overall, this isn’t a book you need to read on release day or week. If you still want to read it, I would recommend waiting for it to come down in price because it is not worth the hype. It is truly a let down and I wasn’t expecting anything at all. I truly can’t even put into words how much I recommend you don’t waste your time with this book. It’s boring and nothing happens. I mean, look at the Goodreads rating on it. It’s damn low.

    I really just keep getting mad about this book. This may sit under All The Bright Places and Caraval for most hated book by me ever. I really tried to be nice throughout this review, but the more I typed the angrier I got that I spent 5 hours reading this load of shit when I could have done absolutely anything else in the world.

  • Alex Vega

    So I received an arc of this and I just... I just can't.

    It's so stupid.

    I was either cringing or laughing whilst reading this and only managed to get through ~100 pages before I started skimming.

    This is the flimsiest sci-fi I've encountered. It's laughable.

    Spoilers, ahoy.

    The

    is SO LAME. People are constantly described with kooky features; red and white striped eyes, webbed feet(on someone who is evidently barefoot on a spaceship), glowing eyes, slitted nostrils, horns

    So I received an arc of this and I just... I just can't.

    It's so stupid.

    I was either cringing or laughing whilst reading this and only managed to get through ~100 pages before I started skimming.

    This is the flimsiest sci-fi I've encountered. It's laughable.

    Spoilers, ahoy.

    The

    is SO LAME. People are constantly described with kooky features; red and white striped eyes, webbed feet(on someone who is evidently barefoot on a spaceship), glowing eyes, slitted nostrils, horns, covered in spikes(???) and it's so stupid. I assume they're all aliens? But why are their other features human? It's the laziest shit ever to just throw some random weird features on characters because you're in space.

    One of the main character has blue skin with scales... uh-huh... and the scales... glow...? OK?

    But... only when she's experiencing... strong emotion'?

    And they can burn so hot they burn through flesh.

    ..............

    !??!!??!?!?!?!

    I was literally laughing my ass off when I read that. It's so fucking stupid.

    And it's caused by a genetic mutation that came from..... radiation???

    (Also, weren't Andi's eyes glowing in the first Zenith thing? Did they remove that? LOLOLOLOL)

    And what's with the planets being treated as countries??? Planets are HUGE are you fucking telling me several of these planets have

    leader?! Fuck off! That's not how it works! Their stupid names were being tossed about with no explanation as well.

    Speaking of stupid names... if you're gonna throw strange words in your dialogue at least explain what it is!

    No, seriously, what is it? And why can it kill you????

    ??????

    (I also find it absolutely hilarious that they

    removed their made-up curse word 'fike' from the book LOL.)

    Ughhhhhh.....

    So,

    It's a deadly and delicious spaceship made of glass. But not just any glass, no, it's

    glass with a fancy name! And even though it's impenetrable, it's got metal shields to slip on when being shot at! Why? Who knows!

    And yes, it is actually referred to as '

    ' in this book!

    Jfc, if your ship is described as being impenetrable?

    Why does it need metal shields? This is so stupid!

    It's super easy to take over as well? It takes, what, a chapter for whoever the fuck's after them to board the ship and just take it??? Again;

    And while we're at it.... why

    does this huge spaceship only have a crew of

    ? It takes WAY MORE than four people to run a spaceship!!! Isn't that just common knowledge AND sense??

    And perhaps the stupidest thing about this fucking book... why are the escape pods disabled when the ship gets hit by an EMP?

    Also, IDK if it's just me but a glass ship being hit by an EMP is just weird to me. Shouldn't this supa speshul glass be able to block it? What is the purpose of building a ship out of this glass? Huh? What was that? Aesthetics? Sarah J. Maas? Oh OK.

    First of all... WHO? WHAT? WHY? The Bloody Baroness is the stupidest name I've ever heard.

    Why 'baroness'? Is that explained somewhere in the big blob I skimmed through? If it is, is it stupid? For sure!

    Ridiculous!

    She's supposed to be this badass cold-blooded killer, yes? Then why is she such a wuss? Whenever we're in her POV she's just freaking out about everything. She ANGSTS constantly and feels guilty about the people she's killed. Yet she kills them in a very brutal fashion, and seems to enjoy it.... Even to the point of calling herself 'the Bloody Baroness'...

    Consistency who? I don't know her.

    Also....... why does she have metal plates on her cheekbones? That's so stupid? And hilarious? What the fuck?

    AND THEN THERE ARE THE BEST PARTS; she is a space pirate... who fights people with... katanas... electric... katanas.... she fights people who have guns with... katanas...

    She also has white and purple hair.

    ...................

    WHITE!

    AND!

    PURPLE!

    IS SHE AN INUYASHA VILLAIN????

    AN ANIME CHARACTER AT LEAST!!!

    SHE'S GOT WHITE AND PURPLE HAIR, DEBATABLE GLOWING EYES, FUCKING METAL PLATED CHEEKBONES AND FIGHTS WITH ELECTRIC KATANAS???? IT'S RIDICULOUS!!

    Also......... at the end she is made a general aka leader of AN ENTIRE FUCKING PLANET ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?? SASHA!!! LINDSAY!!! STOP!!!

    *insert laugh-track here*

    When we're in his POV he mentions the moon he was left to die on at least once a page.

    Him and Andi used to be together? Is he the love interest?

    (and who the fuck cares honestly)

    He's low-budget space Wolverine????

    He keeps winking.

    ..........

    Stop.

    Now let's see here... a hairless, blue and scaled alien woman who's chill af and fights real good?

    ......... who does that remind me of?

    OHHHHH but wait

    is a

    who chews

    and her scales are caused by

    and

    so they're not alike at all :)))))

    aka a

    What the fuck?

    She's played a lot of competitive overwatch and has got her golden guns?????

    She's... a giant?

    .............................

    That's it.

    Ooooohhhhh edgy

    SO EDGY

    Fuck off.

    ????

    PLOT-TWIST!!!

    So lame.

    Where is it?? Did they lose it???

    B for Bad. It's stupid. It tries to be all ~epic and dramatic but really isn't. I don't know which parts are written by which authors but it's all really underwhelming and stupid. Also bad. Very, very bad.

    So

    !! It then says because they're impossible to get rid of which is not true. Do they not get periods???? Does vanish not exist?? (calm down I'm joking but it's still a stupid analogy)

    Also, the dialogue is weird

    Wh-what? Is this because she's a 13 year old child (

    ) or is it bad writing? It- what??? It tried to eat with... it's teeth? WHAT ELSE??? WHAT?? IT'S SUCH A WEIRD SENTENCE WHAT THE FUCK

    You're in space........ There are no skies........ And there is no sound....... This happens multiple times........

    Well..... yes (??????)

    We also have this gem:

    Is she delusional as well? Why is this here? Is it supposed to be ironic, since she does fail in just a few pages??? It's ridiculous. What is mocking about stars? What is so different in this instance from... any other? She says she's always loved them BUT... BUT WHAT???? WHAT IS DIFFERENT?? THIS IS SO STUPID AAAAAAA

    Jesus fucking christ.

    This book never should've been published and you know it.

    It reads like a webseries someone posts on their blog FOR FREE, definitely not something to be

    If not for 'the internet sensation' Sasha and her yt following this never would've been picked up. The publisher knows that her fans will buy this book and they don't give a shit that the book is actually garbage. The sad part is that they're probably right. Hordes of fangirls will buy this book when it comes out and it will probably get many many more sequels. (God save us all)

    Listen, I can read things out of spite. I read most of SJM's books now because of that weird fascination where you can't stop staring at a carwreck but this is too much for me. There is not a single goddamned entertaining thing in this book and its over 500 pages long. There is no excuse for this.

    I can't even spite-read this book! That's how bad(and boring) it is!!! And that's really saying something!!!!! Holy shit.

    And also I do not give a shit if Lindsay and Sasha are good people because this book is still garbage. You shouldn't rate a book higher just because the author is nice? Stop.

    To sum it all up; this book sucks and you should waste neither your time or your money on it!

  • Joce (squibblesreads)

    1.5 stars:

    - Random pointless italicized words

    - Repeating sentence structure for EMPHASIS but ultimately failed

    - "Hope is a raging asshole"

    - "wet feline"

    - "she flashed him her teeth"

    - Bloody Baroness = Whaboom schtick from the Bachelorette

  • Caleb

    More like a 1.5 because this wasn’t the worst book I’ve ever read and there were quite a few scenes that were well written, but other aspects were not the best.

    (also I’ll leave a caution because there is a non consensual kiss and a rape scene in this book)

    I’ll link my review once it’s uploaded.

    Here’s a link to my review:

  • Cesar

    There's been some talk about how Sasha is getting this deal on a silver platter and I want to say something about it. To be fair, the deal was handed to her easily because she has a large following. But there have been many people who had the same opportunity as Sasha and had written amazing bestselling books. I've been hearing the writing in Zenith is bad from what I read from other reviewers (the ones who ACTUALLY read the arc).

    Sasha is a well-known booktuber who has lots of fans. I'm sure tha

    There's been some talk about how Sasha is getting this deal on a silver platter and I want to say something about it. To be fair, the deal was handed to her easily because she has a large following. But there have been many people who had the same opportunity as Sasha and had written amazing bestselling books. I've been hearing the writing in Zenith is bad from what I read from other reviewers (the ones who ACTUALLY read the arc).

    Sasha is a well-known booktuber who has lots of fans. I'm sure that she has encountered people expressing their feelings and emotions on other books and has listened to what everyone has said to avoid writing anything problematic.

    There's also the fact that Sasha and Lindsay had published a sneak peak novella of Zenith last year. For those of you who don't know, Zenith was published as a novella/sneak peek of what was to come. The reception was fairly positive with mixed reviews. Which is understandable considering how short the novella is and from what I heard, didn't deliver what was to be expected from the plot. In my opinion, I do think that publishing Zenith as a novella/sneak peak was what caused some of the 1-star ratings on this Zenith, the actual final copy. 62 pages don't sound like a lot, but it's the context in those 62 pages that can either make or break a book. People could like what was in those 62 pages or not. Then they get to decide if they want to read the final copy. Just because you didn't like the novella, doesn't mean you can rate this one 1-star without proper reasoning other than reading a 62-page sneak peek. Who knows, maybe the rest of the novel is good. But until there are reviews from people who have actually read the book, let's wait and see what the outcome is.

    And another thing. A lot of people are a little, tiny bit annoyed that Sasha got this book deal on a silver platter because she is a BookTuber with a big following. Let me tell you something. There are celebrities out there that have written books. And guess what? They usually end up either on #1 or a bestseller on the New York Times bestsellers list. If Chris Evans, a famous A-list celebrity, wrote a book, BAM! Instant New York Times Bestseller. Why? Because he has a huge following and as I mentioned, is an A-list celebrity.

    It's like how anything the Kardashians touches, it sells a lot even if some of it is crap. You could be a celebrity and write a book and have it be on the best sellers list. The story could be crap and will probably be off of the list in a week, but people will still buy it.

    To the people who are a little bit miffed that Sasha is getting a good deal, there are several non-famous authors who started out with one book that ended becoming a bestseller. That happens, but not as often. You can't sit there and write a book and expect it to be an NYT bestseller. There are people out there who do have the advantage but do not let that deter you from your goals of writing a book.

    There have been authors who worked on their books for years and they can be either good or bad. The amount of years you've been working on books does not equate a great book.

    Just don't be a part of the collective mind of others leaving 1-star reviews. You are an individual who is capable of forming opinions. Let's be rational adults.

    Just wait until the book is released, read it (or wait until a trusted reviewer reads it), look at it from a critical standpoint, then you can rate this book however you want.

    I'll leave it at that.

  • Kyle Carroll (i_fucking_love_books)

    Sitting here reading the reviews like:

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