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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.

534 pages, Hardcover

First published January 16, 2018

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About the author

Sasha Alsberg

8 books66.6k followers
Sasha Alsberg is the #1 NYT Bestselling Co-Author of ZENITH: The Androma Saga.

When Sasha is not writing or obsessing over Scotland she is making YouTube videos on her channel Abookutopia. She lives in Massachusetts with her dogs, Fraser and Fiona

For her writing, she is represented by Joanna Volpe at New Leaf Literary.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,509 reviews
Profile Image for sapphia.
53 reviews850 followers
July 4, 2020

So, I received an arc of this and I just... I just can't.
It's so stupid.
It's so bad.

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 "world-building" is SO LAME. People are constantly described with kooky features; red and white striped eyes, webbed feet(on someone who's 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, sure.
And the scales... glow...
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? LMAO)
And what's with the planets being treated as countries? Planets are HUGE are you fucking telling me several of these planets have ONE (1) leader?! Fuck off! That's not how it works!
Their stupid names kept 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!
What the fuck is Moon Chew???
No, seriously, what is it? And why can it kill you?
Andi grimaced as Lira pulled out a hunk of Moon Chew and popped it into her mouth.
“That stuff can kill you, you know,”

(I also find it absolutely hilarious that they completely removed their made-up curse word 'fike' from the book LMAOOO)


So, The Marauder.
It's a deadly and delicious spaceship made of glass. But not just any glass, no, it's impenetrable 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 'deadly and delicious' in this book!

Jfc, if your ship is described as being impenetrable...?
Isn't it impenetrable?
Why does it need metal shields? This is so stupid!

It's super easy to just 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; what are the fucking metal shields for???

And while we're at it.... why THE FUCK does this huge spaceship only have a crew of four people? 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? The function of an escape pod is to use it to escape when the ship isn't working you fucking dipshits.

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?
What was that?
Aesthetics? Sarah J. Maas?
Oh OK.

The Bloody Baroness aka. Androma Racella
First of all... WHO?
The Bloody Baroness is the stupidest name I've ever heard.
Why 'baroness'? Is it from... Harry Potter's bloody baron ghost dude???
Whatever the reason, it's ridiculous and you can't expect me to take her seriously.
Especially because 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?

She is a space pirate! Who fights people! With katanas! Electric! Katanas! She fights! People! Who! Have! Guns! Guns! With katanas!

She also has white and purple hair.

This is a character that has white and purple hair, debatable glowing eyes, fucking metal plated cheekbones and fights with electric katanas and angsts about murder whilst also enjoying it??? Again; HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO TAKE THIS CHARACTER SERIOUSLY???

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

Dextro Arez
*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? Who the fuck cares!
He is as bland as stale bread.
He's low-budget space Wolverine????
He keeps winking.

Lira is blue she has blue fingers and is very blue with blue scales. Moon Chew™. Uhh, pilot.
Oh, she's blue, don't cha know!

Gilly aka a Murder Child.
Her personality is that she's a redhead and she is ruthless... and a crybaby???
She's played a lot of competitive overwatch and has got her golden guns?????
Not allowed to say Bad Words but very much allowed to do Bad Things, because logic!

She's... a giant?
That's it.

Nor Solis
Ooooow the edge xXx
Fuck off.

Some Forgettable Prince Guy That They Rescue aka Vengeance Will Be Mine.
So lame.

The Plot
Where is it? Did they lose it???
This book is so fucking boring.

The writing
Her stomach dropped to her toes.

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.
Her nightmares were like bloodstains.

Edgy! It then says because they're impossible to get rid of which is not true. Do they not get periods? Does vanish not exist? (jokes aside, this is a really stupid analogy)
Also, the dialogue is weird
"We need that Soleran ice mare who tried to eat Andi's throat with her teeth a few months ago." Gilly said.

This is such a weird fucking sentence. I don't know if they tried to make her seem immature?? It's still really fucking Bad.
This time, it was so bright and so loud that it lit up the skies.

You are in space. There are no skies, and there is no sound. FUcking dipshit oh my god. AND THIS KEEPS HAPPENING!

Androma always runs until she finds a place to hide.

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

We also have this gem:
She had always loved the stars. Even as a child, she'd dreamed of dancing among them. But tonight, she felt as if they were watching her, waiting for her to fail. Mocking little bastards. Well, they'd be sorely disappointed.

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 wattpad story, definitely not something to be actually sold in stores, oh my fucking god.
No matter how you look at this it's fucking shit, either the 'internet sensation' Sasha and her YT following got this picked up by a publisher or they genuinely thought this rushed garbage was actually worth publishing.
One is more likely than the other but still, either way, it's awful!
The majority of this book was written in six weeks, according to the editor Lauren Smulski so that explains a lot?

Listen, I can't even spite-read this shit.
You know how there are books that are just so Bad that they become entertaining to read?
Yeah, this aint one of 'em.

There's literally nothing here. Which is surprising, because I've seen on both authors YT channels that they are both very passionate about this book. Where is that passion??? Where did it go???
It certainly does not shine through to the final product!

Oh and btw I do not give a single 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. The fact that I even need to state this is sad.

To sum it all up; this book sucks and you should waste neither your time nor your money on it!
(Also there's going to be a sequel... Hooray.)
Profile Image for Hailey (Hailey in Bookland).
614 reviews87.8k followers
February 5, 2018
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.
Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
316 reviews115k followers
August 13, 2018
Edit 4/7 - After further reflection, I've decided to drop my rating to 3 stars. All of my previous likes/dislikes of Zenith 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 Zenith 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 Zenith. 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 Zenith definitely struck me!

CW: murder/death, ptsd, rape

My favorite thing about Zenith 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 Zenith. 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 Zenith. 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. *Edit 4/7- 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. *Edit 4/7 - 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 Zenith. It was the type of entertaining, high-intensity sci-fi novel I love to read. I will definitely be reading book two!

I received a free copy of this book from Harlquin Teen at Book Expo 2017. I had no obligation to review this book and all opinions are my own.
Profile Image for ambsreads.
656 reviews1,393 followers
January 19, 2018
Thanks NetGalley for the eARC. All opinions are my own

Trigger Warnings: murder, PTSD (bad rep), grief
EDIT 20/01/18: I’m not sure if I missed it, but a rape subplot is in the final copy.



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.


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.


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.


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.
Profile Image for ✨    jami   ✨.
679 reviews3,947 followers
January 19, 2018

god this is a mess I don't even know where to start. With the honestly awful writing? The boring and poorly written characters? the predictable plot? I just don't know it's all a mess. the concept is fine, the execution is terrible Thus, this review may be rambly. I'm so sorry

standard disclaimer: I didn't request an arc of this book so I could trash it. I didn't even go into this with bad expectations. I've genuinely enjoyed Sasha's youtube in the past, and I genuinely enjoy sci-fi and I wanted to genuinely read this to give it an honest opinion like I would any other book.

that being said: I honestly just think this book is kinda terrible... and I actually feel a little sorry for people who spent money on it.

The main problem with this book is it's so badly written, full of cliche lines and awkward sentences it's impossible to read it and take it seriously. I don't know what happened here, did this book not even get edited??

Some examples:

First we have stuff that's just awkward and/or doesn't make sense:

"Everyone became a number in the end. Valen was 306. Deep in the belly of hell incarnate"

"deep in the belly of hell incarnate" it just .. do you see it's just AWKWARD. That line could have been made so much less awkward. It doesn't even make sense

"why do you insist on ruining my beauty sleep, she said in her fluid little voice" HER FLUID LITTLE VOICE ?

"death filled the void left behind" THIS DOES NOT MAKE SENSE

There's a lot of references to demons/hell and stuff like that, which feels really forced and fake deep. "like a demon emerging from hell", "she was an angel of darkness come to him in the pits of hell", "Androma Racella wasn't an angel, she was death incarnate" another awkward use of incarnate

There is also lots of cat references "she was angry as a wet feline", "hissing and spitting like cats thrown into water"

"a gruesome creature Darai was" ALSO what I'm talking about, this so clearly is poor grammar why is this not edited

"it felt as if the weight of a thousand boulders were all forced into it, seeking to torment her endlessly" what lol ?

So there's one bit where a character says "you dare to approach me in my private quarters? What is the meaning of this?" AND THEN NOT EVEN HALF A PAGE LATER "What is the meaning of this, you dare to speak to me?" Like, this is what I'm talking about. HOW does no editor pick this up and go hmm maybe we should use a different line here

then we have cliche lines, or things that are out of place

First of all we're introduced to a character who's 'tagline' is "vengeance will be mine". It's such a cliche line and it's said NO LESS THEN FOUR TIMES .... in the first 3 page chapter. THATS TOO MUCH. And worse, every time he appears I need to hear him say this line and urgh.

"Dex sighed. Use your words" Use your words just feels so weird for aliens to be using but maybe thats me being nitpicky

"we can do this the easy way or the hard way" UM is there any greater cliche


gross romance lines

first of all this book is so painfully straight it hurts, like even the fucking AI end up in a m/f relationship.

"In her place stood the warrior he'd trained and hardened into something devilishly delicious" DEVILISHLY DELICIOUS DJFHDSJFHSKJD

"You were always one for theatrics, Androma. My bitter little ballerina" "I am not, and never will be, yours" "We'll see about that". Hmm yes romantic

"then he lurched forward and, in one sweeping movement, mashed his lips up against hers" ah, gross. sounds gross, was gross because it was OBVIOUSLY NOT CONSENSUAL. Non-Con kiss was never discussed again

"his lithe muscles on display" explain to me how muscles are lithe

SO CAN YOU SEE I AM NOT JOKING ABOUT THE WRITING and truly I have just chosen out the smallest sample. There are so many awkward, cliche, badly worded and non sensical lines. The overuse of similes, all of which are inelegant and awkward comparisons, just made me cringe. AND I DONT KNOW WHO'S FAULT THIS IS. Because maybe it's the authors, but maybe it's the editors?

Writing aside, there's nothing compelling about the characters or plot either. Androma is introduced as "The Bloody Baroness", she's supposedly ruthless and deadly and a notorious space criminal. Androma spends half her time killing people, and the other half reflecting on how she's such a monster and so awful and regrets everything. It feels like she's supposed to be Kaz Brekker and Caelana Sardothien in one but it DOESN'T WORK. Her character arc needed to be so much more tight to actually make me understand the development because as it stands, I don't know if I'm supposed to think of Androma as a sympathetic character fallen into bad circumstances, or a ruthless trained killer

The love interest Dex is so flat and I literally could not name you one character trait he possesses he is literally given ZERO DEPTH. The only bit ofhim I claim if when he allows the girls to paint his nails and he's pretty chill with it which was kinda cool

The crew also needed more depth and work. Breck, Gilly and Lira have a fun dynamic together but no individual depth. Gilly giggles and shoots people, Breck is ... just there. Lira is an alien and she loves her crew and there's some sort of backstory hinted at but we don't get much. Breck is also drawn as a black woman in the character cards but there's literally nothing in the story that suggests she is black. I DON'T EVEN REMEMBER THEM DESCRIBING HER AS BLACK. That representation amounts to a big fat nothing

Other rep: I direct you to Amber's review for the PTSD rep, which she describes as laughable.

So character wise I was let down. There's nothing really compelling about any of them, even in the villains are poorly fleshed out and never feel like a threat. In fact, nothing feels like a thread because the characters are so perfectly able, so incredibly capable and deadly that there's never a threat. None of them have any traits and certainly no flaws

THE PLOT IS SO BORING. Nothing really happens, and the actual "escape" effort all goes over in one chapter. The rest is jusr ... the characters doing random things. Floating around.The whole concept had potential and I would have loved if the objective of the characters was more clearly layed out. Though, to be honest the plot is the least of my complains.

this book is not worth your money. It's not even worth "reading for a laugh" because it's not even that it's funny in it's plainness. It's just boring. It's just so intensely mediocre. I don't know what else to say. It's boring and plain, and brings nothing new to the table. It utilises every cliche without making them exciting or interesting, and is trying so hard to be marketable but falls so short. I had to SET THE TIMER TO FORCE MYSELF TO READ THIS ARC whcih is ... not great

Just, don't. Even if you love female space saga's I promise you this isn't worth it. Find something else.

needless to say, I will not be continuing the series. PLEASE, talk to me in the comments about the quotes and assure me I'm not the only one who had to suffer reading them

me @ this entire book

Profile Image for Ben Alderson.
Author 21 books13.5k followers
January 29, 2018

FIRST like mentioned before that:

Yes I am friends with Sasha
NO, I am not being paid to review this
I am 23 years old and just because I am friends with the other means I will review it positively.
I have even spoken to Sasha before I started and told her I would be honest and OF COURSE, she understands because she would do the same.

THAT SAID I did really enjoy this. You can find out what my detailed thoughts are on an upcoming video. Here is a sneak peak.

-the pace is incredible
-I love short chapters
-The characters each had unique personalities and were interesting
more to come

-I didn't connect with Andi the MC. luckily she was not the only MC... there's like 5 or 6 points of view.
I just found her a bit moany and she kills people but doesn't want to but does it a lot. ( kinda reminds me of MC in Lindsays other series )

P.S Lon is my boyfriend. In my mind he is gay, I love him.
Profile Image for Ellen.
1 review
May 8, 2017
I'm so over books being published because of fame. I get it that there's some work involved but it's so Ivanka Trump when people who are famous tell me in their high-pitched, fluttery voices: "I worked so hard just like everybody else to be successful" and I'm like, no. You're successful because you worked hard at being famous. Big Difference. Not the other way around. God I miss that time in our society when hard work could get you places instead of working hard to be famous first. I think this precedent for publishers to just select people that have incredible social media pull is just eye-gouging. I missed that time when writers had to do that thing - what was it called again? - oh yeah. Write a good book.
Profile Image for Alex ✰ Comets and Comments ✰.
173 reviews2,745 followers
November 17, 2017
“We’ll have to move quickly once we get inside. No more than forty minutes.”
“Plenty of time to raise hell,” Gilly said


We are raised with the common precept of "Don't judge a book by it's cover." However, in the very special case of Zenith, I found myself telling myself "Don't judge a book by it's author." I took away from all the low ratings and the stigma against this book, and I read it for what it was.

Did it work? Yes.

Did it enable a five star rating? No.


The Story


I am going to say this from the get go. Zenith was not a bad book. It had slightly predictive and overused elements to it, but it was not bad. I honestly think, if this novel came out in the starting years of YA popularity - it would have skyrocketed with all star ratings.

Unfortunately, we are at 2017 - and for a YA novel to catch the eyes and hearts of it's readers. There needs to be a unique and fresh element that makes readers want more. The tropes used in this book were used so many times before in Young Adult, I felt sorry. I wanted to snatch away the clichès because without that element, it had so much potential!!!

Secondly, the plot and overarching story line was very bland. I do not know how to explain it other than - when you go out for curry night and you're looking forward to all the beautiful spices and exotic flavors, and you reach the damn place and they're closed for renovation purposes. The writing didn't evoke as many emotions as I would have liked it too and there was little to no climax.

I am going to address the teeny tiny elephant in the room. A lot of the reviews coming off from this novel focuses on how Sasha Alsberg is a co-author of this book. I used to and still watch her booktube channel when I get time, but this should have nothing to do with my review, and neither should it have anything to do with future readers.

If the book is not a good book - then base your review on that. If the book is a good book - base your review on that. Do not base it on the person behind the words, base it on the words themselves.

The Characters
One thing that was really quite brilliant was the whole Guardians of The Galaxy vibe it had going for it. At first, the multiple character voices really worked for me, and made me understand a bit more about the story building and the world that I was in - but later on it got confusing and slightly disarrayed.

“That, my dear friends, is my playground. My palace of pain. The prisoners come in, and I pick and choose the tools that will make them sing. And when they die? They go out that doorway on a transport ship. Up and away, out to float with the stars.”

Also, for those who have read this and for those who are planning to. PSA: everyone has 'rouged lips' in this damn galaxy. Seriously.

"Love was all well and good, but money was the true key to Dex’s heart."



No, this is not the 'hate to love' him kind of hate. This was the 'I want to gouge your eyes' out kind of hate. Every character (except Alfie, I love that robot with a passion and I will go to the depths of hell for him) had a little unlikeable trait. But personally, Dex had no likeable traits whatsofuckingever.

“You are the only woman I have ever loved,” he whispered. He stepped away, and the space between them felt as distant as the black sky outside."

I actually think Zenith could work for some people, I genuinely believe this story has so much potential, and who knows - maybe I will put myself through the second novel in the series when it comes out. But for now, I need a break. A really long fucking break.
Profile Image for Beatrice in Bookland.
459 reviews838 followers
July 10, 2018
*I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

DNF @15% because I can't be bothered to read a six of crows fanfiction starring a bland copy of Celaena Sardothien as a protagonist
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,172 reviews98.8k followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
January 16, 2018
ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

DNF at Chapter 41

I’m sorry, everyone, I just can’t do this anymore. The incredibly short chapters that jump around to a million different points of view are just too much for me. This is such a jarring read that is really lacking any real cohesiveness.

Zenith is the first book in a YA series that stars Androma, AKA: the Bloody Baroness, and her crew, who are forced to do a very dangerous mission. This mission is the direct result of the ghosts from Andi’s past that have come back to haunt her. One of them being her past lover, Dex, who betrayed her, and Andi is now forced to work alongside him for this mission.

I don’t care about Dex, or Andi, or even her crew! And, more importantly, I don’t believe in any of them. Their motives feel forced, the romances feel unbelievable, and the clichés are too unbearable for me to continue.

I’m sorry, I truly am. I love Sasha, and I really wanted to give her a glowing review, but I just can’t. Let’s be real, this book is still going to make The New York Times Best Seller list, so I don’t think my DNF is going to really ruin anything, but I still feel awful. But I hope if you give this a try, you will enjoy it more than I did.

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Zenith Part 1 ★★★

Buddy read with Jules! ❤
Profile Image for Natasha.
477 reviews381 followers
July 22, 2018
Review also on my blogTwitterBookstagram

I received an arc from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Wow, where do I even start with this book? There's so many points I could touch on really. The cliched writing, the uninteresting characters, the arrogant love interest I wanted to strangle, the unbelievable romance, the lacklustre world building, I just don't know where.

I guess I'll give a briefing of what this book is even about. Zenith follows an all female crew of space pirates who are quite notorious. They are had to catch, they've killed people, some of the crew is even described as being bloody thirsty. However, the general of our main character's, Andi, home planet hires them to rescue his son, Valen from another planet's prison as he has been kidnapped. They take this job, however, Andi's ex-boyfriend Dex is coming too and that good old heterosexual drama ensues because these two hate each other (but really, obviously, they want to make out).

Now, I'm sure you're thinking to yourselves, 'wait, why would the general hire hardened criminals to rescue his son? Why not send soldiers?' Great question! You see, the reason is because a treaty exists to prevent war between planets. Because they're pirates who aren't officially with any side, they would be able to get Valen out without causing any war. I had issues with this, that being, how has Valen being kidnapped not started a war? Furthermore, surely those who work at this prison would be able to figure out they had been paid off by another planet to get him (since they are getting a general's son out). Therefore, war. Hell, why isn't there already a war? They kidnapped a general's son! And, okay, if they really did have to send pirates with no affliction, I don't understand why they would send people with a few years, at most, of experience rather than adults who have decades. And if they couldn't do that because they would be untrustworthy, then why was the crew trusted? They've killed people, there's no reason to trust them. Despite all that, kidnapping a general's son should violate this treaty enough to send actual soldiers. Also, I really don't understand why he sent Dex along. The last time he and Andi had seen each other she tried to kill him (and thought she did)!

Let's talk about the characters. Andi frustrated me, she didn't act like how you'd expect a pirate would. That being, she's not morally grey. Not even a little. She commanded a killing but she felt guilty about it and even thought about their families. I don't need her to be cold hearted by this is a really weird response to that. There's also an implication of her having PTSD but the extent of this is night terrors and from reading other people's reviews, it's not done well at all. Her dreams felt like they were more poor exposition if anything, since they were flashbacks of how she had failed to protect the general's daughter and she ended up dying. That's another problem I had with her crew being hired to save Valen, why would the general trust her with this if she had failed to protect his daughter? But overall, she was a bland character. I also do not understand how she was captain of a ship when her first reaction was to panic when being followed. I'd expect someone in her position to be more courageous or fearless, she wasn't either of those. 

I also hated Dex with a passion. He was the most annoying character to read about and he was excessively arrogant. I hated his POV and he was kind of terrible at his job. Something I didn't understand was he prided himself on really understanding and knowing Andi, but it took him two months to find her and her crew, which is the longest it had taken him to find someone on the run. First off, clearly not too great at his job. Secondly, how are we expected to believe he knew Andi well if it took this long for him to find her? He also expected them meeting again to not be sheer anger on Andi's part, but also didn't expect her to run into his arms or whatever. I don't know what he expected honestly, the girl thought she killed him and when she saw him wanted to 'drown him in his own blood' (yeah, we'll get to the writing soon). 

I also did not believe this romance. Andi is pissed at Dex because he sold her out for money, and even said the money was better than his relationship with her. First, what a conniving snake. Secondly, despite this they still have this weird lust filled, hormonal tension and I doubt it's a spoiler to say they get back together because we all knew this was where it was going. 

But the weakest point for this book was the writing. The writing was a cliché ridden mess. I started to count the amount of clichés that appeared and gave up after seven. The amount of overused, clichéd lines was so abundant. Red hair was described as 'fiery' twice (like come on, it's not 2007), it unironically used the line 'remember, we are stronger together', and one of the worst was 'she was an angel of darkness, come to him in the pits of hell. When she looked down at him, her smile was as bright as fire'. It also used the phrase 'second skin' twice. Once isn't necessarily bad, but seriously? Twice? Oh, and another bad line is 'death filled the void left behind him'.

We also switch around POV's. Most of it is told through Andi, Dex being the next with the most. We also get a POV from Valden which I didn't like, I would've rather there being some mystery surrounding him. And not have him repeat 'vengeance will be mine' two billion times. None of the other POV's were even necessary. Andi alone would've been enough, maybe Dex too.

The world building also had issues. All I can really say for sure was that it took place in space. But the colonies, the planets, and semblance of political system was lost on me because it was poorly explained. 

And lastly, there was a lot of telling instead of showing. We're told Andi's crew is vicious, they kill maybe once at the start. Andi's called the 'Bloody Baroness', there's no reason to call her that. We're told this is meant to be a morally grey crew, for the most part that isn't what we get. 

Zenith wasn't that great of a book and not one I would ever recommend. And for a book over 500 pages it got by way too quickly, and not in a good way. It wasn't entertaining, the POV characters were uninteresting, and the setting wasn't used to any advantage. A very lacklustre book. 
Profile Image for R.K. Gold.
Author 14 books10.1k followers
October 21, 2018
I want to give it another try!
I may try the audiobook.
Profile Image for High Lady of The Night Court.
135 reviews5,082 followers
November 20, 2018
I LOVED this book from start to finish and there is no part of this book that I don’t like. This Sci-fi world is one of the best I have ever read, it is a work of art. The plot was very elaborate and thought out, the story unravels beautifully and I was not disappointed by anything. I have been waiting to read this book ever since it was announced and it flew past all of my expectations.

The book follows a group of badass female space pirates who make a deal with the dreaded General Cortas that might result in pardon for all their crimes, their slate wiped clean. The deal involves a mission that is close to impossible and it might just be the death of them all. Simultaneously, the leader of the planet Zen Ptera plans on starting a war as revenge for all the injustice committed towards them, with the goal of becoming all powerful.

The main characters in this book Androma, Lira, Breck, and Gilly are amazing people with great personalities, and a family-like bond I love. Even though these people have their strengths and are the best at what they do, they are each written in a very realistic way with flaws and weaknesses which makes them so much more understandable. I love each and every one of these people. We also see the world from Zen Pters’s perspective, which the book so much more interesting and reinforces the title of this book.
I actually pride myself on figuring out the plot twist in the book when I was halfway in, but surprisingly it didn’t ruin the story at all I still enjoyed the ending of the book as much as I would if I hadn't figured it out.
Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings did an stunning job, I loved the world, the story, the plot, the characters, the ending and even the cover is MAGNIFICENT. The book was absolutely amazing and I definitely rate it 5 stars. I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE NEXT ONE!
I recommend it to all Sci-fi lovers, and I hope you like it as much as I do!
Profile Image for Jules ♈  (witchyrover).
162 reviews139 followers
June 16, 2021
Copy received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. I mean it!
Professional Reader

DNF 30%. Couldn't do it. #sorrynotsorry. I stand by my previous review on the 60-page sneak peek. To sum up that former rant, here it is: this book is definitely NOT my cup of tea. I do not like the writing style; I can tell from 100 miles away that there are two people writing this book.

It is what it is.
Profile Image for Emily Madson.
4 reviews
July 5, 2017
    Zenith: The Andromeda Saga

N ow I know there’s a lot of controversy being brought to the forefront surrounding Zenith because of the editor and I wasn’t quite sure if it was a book I was going to pick up, but as I got an ARC from my friend for free I decided to review it.

First: Goodreads

This site is not Rotten Tomatoes or filled with professional critics that are held to a certain ethical standard. In Rotten Tomatoes, you get fired for crappy work and as much of a bashing the site gets most of the critics are pretty solid. First let's talk about some things Goodreads has to fix urgently. 1) The ability to prematurely rate novels. (I always knew that feature was eventually going to get way out of hand.) This has gone south in both directions for books even when fans have rated five stars trying to help an author out often a counter culture of hate starts by people who don't believe the score is earned. And there are so many suspiciously blank five star accounts that I’m starting to think Harlequin Teen’s publicity department is like “Bro, if we have another book flop we gonna have our asses handed to us!”

 photo sasha 2_zpsv6jkcobn.jpg

Which, to be fair, is true. And Laura Silverman's novel was spammed by actual Nazi's trying to derail its success so this has to be fixed pronto. 2) The Revenge of the unpaid Reviewer: In some people's mind, Sasha being apart of the main phalanx of booktubers who for a while were a bit like the mafia on this site, dictating how well a book did because of her marketing reach, has leant her a bad reputation of being a gullible crowd pleaser. Does that mean she deserve the Ivanka Trump comparison people are calling her - no - I mean despite the weird physical resemblance that’s a bit far. Lindsay Cummings also wrote this too.

Why do I think the backlash?

Times in America are seriously tough. The White Upper Middle Class – what booktubers represent – the top %20 – are coping quite a bit of flak. I think this is just spreading to Goodreads. And when someone gains their career rising up through fan culture, there’s always a tough transition when they go from fan to rich and powerful entity.

Goodreads is a sight for readers but it's also full of embittered, rejected young writers too; that's a fact; I still think there's generally a stigma against authors that get published because of social media connections. The worst thing and weirdly the best thing to come out of the past few months is people asking - "If you're successful why can't I be successful?" Had this been a year or two years ago, when people weren't asking that question, I think the publishing market would have been a lot friendlier. When she got published because of her Youtube connections - which I really don't care about - the would be authors on this site didn't take it too nicely. I get it. No one likes people who skip to the front of the line while you wait patiently with everyone else. I think there's also generally a sense that if a book goes through the querying process it has really earned its publication; people don't tend to question if the novel "deserves" its success. And to be fair I'm very sceptical of books that get published because of connections too. (Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen was published through agent connections and lordy did that novel need a red pen through it – nice cover, though!) But I don't really mind how someone gets published if the finished product is any good.

This novel. Well, just as the film industry has been hit with an epidemic of passable movies the publishing industry, YA in particular, is suffering from the same problem? Why? Creative talent is coming in through the door reserved for richly connected people and not pulling the planks of nailed wood off the door for those people with stories, but who might be too inconfident to write them. Literary agents from big companies want what is profitable not what is ground breaking and so do publishers. They want what is calculatedly safe. And booktubers have unconsciously contributed to that cycle as we have no major minority booktubers on YouTube with over a hundred thousand subscribers. Now the defence to this would be, “But I do videos about tonnes of LGBT/minority books!” That’s good but there’s something different to be gained by not being able to turn off your life experience. Not to say Sasha and Lindsay aren’t talented. I think they’re both fairly capable. Sasha’s prose seems solid. But she obviously gets the network, marketing side of publishing a lot more than the creative side; she’s incredibly PR and business savvy. The minute it was apparent people weren’t tripping over their feet to get a copy of Zenith online she switched gears, tweeting about how she didn’t use Goodreads anymore and that she barely went on it to spin potential buyers from checking the site reviews. (A little ironic since it’s the space that built her career in the first place.) And I can appreciate someone with that kind of social-media suaveness and intelligence.

 photo Sasha4_zpsuyx0hfmd.png

The problem with this is I felt all the energy was geared towards how marketable the book was. Andi didn’t resonate much and I saw many of the plot surprises coming. I felt with this novel what I feel about a lot of books lately, that it was a pitch for a better sequel, but when you don't deliver in the first book it's hard for me to care about the sequel, as if smashing Guardians of the Galaxy with Throne of Glass and bang! would equal instant success. There was an earlier tagline for the book by Susan Dennard saying “Star lord move over” so you can tell that’s where they were aiming.

The Editor Scandal

And the editor…? I read some early comments about people boycotting this book because of the editor in charge of this book. I, personally, don’t think that’s completely fair but it’s not unwarranted. Apparently the editor of the book is Lauren Smulski: the same editor who promoted and greenlit the Black Witch and the Continent for Harlequin Teen—two books that were averred by early readers to contain someone of the most obscene instances of blatant racism. (We’re not talking some random rumour on the internet or an overly special snowflake tweeting his/her reaction to seem like some type of hero activist here—I got an ARC for The Black Witch and it reads like Kendal Jenner’s Pepsi commercial in book form.)

Listen, I don’t blame someone for making mistakes (race is a tricky thing to get right if you’re not a minority yourself and I don’t expect people to get it right a %100 of the time) but I haven’t seen this editor apologise once for her hand in getting that book on the shelf. Or better yet, If there’s one thing I don’t like on the subject of racism: it’s silence. There’s nothing wrong with fucking up, we’ve all done it at some point in our lives, but the real fuck up is when you don’t admit you fucked up and continue to do the same fuck up. Veronica Roth didn’t say anything under Carve the Mark allegations (she did the best thing a white person could do when charged with racism: get all her black friends to publicly defend her ad nauseum) and Lauren Smulski didn’t event attempt to apologise at all for her part in either the Black Witch or the Continent. And editors are just as responsible – if not more – for what hits the shelves and what doesn’t; they’re the gatekeepers of publication. I don’t think it was racist but PR-wise if you offend a huge bunch of people the right thing to do is to apologise or defend yourself. Silence just makes you look guilty. And this is 2017 how did you not think a whole bunch of people weren’t going to be triggered? Like how bad an executive can you be?!!!!

HarlequinTeen: For the sake of your company’s stock price, sit this editor town and tell her to fucking READ what she publishes next time, or, go with my Plan B: tell her that a new marketing job has opened up at Pepsi that you think is just perfect for her.

Overall, just not my cup of tea. I tried to fake enthusiasm because I feel this novel is getting a bit too much flak but I just can’t be bothered. It’s another one of those mechanical money books that are being churned out by the dozens lately. There’s nothing wrong with that. James Patterson is a millionaire after all. I’m just not very interested in something so soulless. Will see what they do in the future though.
Profile Image for rachel, x.
1,727 reviews865 followers
June 27, 2022
Zenith is one of the more controversial releases of next year but no matter what your stance on the debate, an all-female crew of space pirates is too good of a premise to overlook. Or so I thought. The real reason this book is getting such low ratings? It's not due to the authors or the editor but the fact it is incredibly underwhelming.

The plot is a compilation of flashbacks, angst, and repetitive monologues. It offers nothing unique. It’s set in the same generic solar system following a generic cast facing the same generic problems we've seen a dozen times before. Any individual who has read more than two YA scifis will be able to predict the plotline to a tee. It was bland, recycled, and dull.

The characters did not help. Shallow and underdeveloped, they each had one defining feature and little else to their name. I desperately wanted more banter and the found family feels we were promised. Andie, our main protagonist, had potential but the repetitive flashbacks and declarations of her mercilessness were overbearing. She was not well developed and her murderous streak felt forced, not realistic.

Her crew were unmemorable and underdeveloped. The thirteen-year-old - whose name I have already forgotten - did nothing but giggle and talk about gunning people down. Dex was cliched and drab. I have read his character ten times over. I could literally list five other books that use his exact same backstory and personality… but actually did it justice. Nor’s chapters were disjointed and random. She was purposefully vague to build suspense and it just did not work for me. None of them were particularly unlikable, just boring.

I appreciated that the authors tried to introduce political intrigue to tie the plot together, but they failed for one specific reason: world-building. To make me care, or even understand, the politics of your world, I need to have a clear picture of said world. Yes, we know a little about Lira and Andie’s home planets - and I stress a little - but the worldbuilding as a whole was practically non-existent. Each of the characters was from a different planet and yet they never discuss cultural practices or languages, apart from Lira’s scales. I desperately needed more information, more development, of this galaxy. Vaguely discussing trade routes and past wars is not enough.

Also, the writing. It was a mess, truly a mess. I have seen a couple of other reviewers discuss this in-depth so I recommend reading their reviews if poor editing is one of your pet peeves. It is quite obvious that the first third of the story was edited more than the rest of the book. It is filled with nonsensical metaphors and awkward flowery writing. There were also numerous repetitive phrases and words. Hopefully, these will be fixed by its release?

Overall? Zenith tried to combine the found family adventure vibes of Starflight with the morally grey character and political action of The Diabolic but failed. It was cliched and dull. I am genuinely disappointed that this lives up to the negative hype.

Trigger warnings for .

Representation: Nor (mc) has a prosthetic hand.

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

BlogTrigger Warning DatabaseStoryGraph
Profile Image for Kiki.
194 reviews8,526 followers
March 10, 2020
And to the surprise of probably no one, I'm throwing in the towel for now. Maybe I'll try again another time, but right now I just don't have the strength. I don't even have anything particularly funny to say about this, other than it makes me want to climb inside the wall like the corpse of William Hill and just rot there for a while until I forget about "Moon Chew".

On the subject of this book's...controversial origins, I'm really not invested enough to get into a debate about it, but I do think a gentle reminder is in order: publishing is a business, and it's about making money, and just because it deals in artwork doesn't make it morally superior or somehow separate from other huge industries that use fads and gimmicks to rake in heaps of cash. There are a lot of confused stans out here wailing, "I can't believe it's not butter!" but...why, exactly? Which charges confuse you, Lord Baelish? Big media companies capitalising on well-known names is so common that it's actually banal. It's what sells, so they’ll keep doing it, and it's naïve to the point of idiocy to be surprised by that.

All of this drama was cooked up by the same people, both without and within the industry, who harp on and on and on about how a "good book" is all you need to get published. "Just write a good book". Girl, spare me. We're all adults here, so stop with the gaslighting and the mind games. The truth is that marketability matters. If a big industry finds a creator with an established audience who they know will be a financial asset (and who can guarantee a certain quantity of sales) then they're going to jump on that. It's exactly the same tactic they employ when it comes to celebrity cookbooks. I mean, who the fuck is buying cookbooks in 2019? Just use Google if you don't know how to make a fucking chowder. But people will spend money when they see a face or a name they recognise and respect. I've certainly bought into that before. It's nothing new and it's not a mystery, and it's not worth getting mad about. It's just business.

Do I think that mining social media for cash-ins is a great and totally foolproof idea? Of course not. It's certainly not in the traditional (dubious) spirit of the artiste. Then again, people don't get this mad when every other YouTuber opens up a merch store, and they certainly don't get this pissed off about book packagers. Whether or not books published in this manner are "morally pure" and whether or not that even fucking matters... I don't care. I might have in the past, but I don't care anymore. I'd just like to put this out there: building a platform on social media is an insane amount of work, and to claim that the author in question has "not worked" for her success is ludicrous. It's a vicious circle: Sasha Alsberg is so good at what she does that her content looks effortless, and people see that effortlessness and actually think it's genuine. It's not. It's effortful to the nth degree. I can't even imagine the hours she spends cleaning, organising, and meticulously arranging her sets, reading under duress, scripting her videos, filming the videos, editing them, replying to kind comments and fielding the cruel ones, attending functions and festivals, hosting meet-and-greets, organising activities in order to update her Instagram story daily, editing and posting Instagram photos, conversing with her audience on Twitter, marketing her brand, writing her book, and all this without mentioning the mammoth task of looking pretty all the fucking time. My point is that her book is fair game as a piece of published work that she released into the world (and that we all spent money on), but to claim she hasn't worked for her success is simply bogus.

As for the quality of the story itself? It's not great, but it's really not the worst book I've ever read. I can see why others might find it fun. It just didn't hold my attention for longer than about seventeen seconds at a time, which doesn't bode well for a book that's over 400 pages. I got about a hundred pages in and realised that there were better things I could be doing, and I put the book down, and that was the end of it. I know this seems a bit click-baity, but I truly have nothing more to add to this other than the aforementioned reality check.

(My initial review of this wasn't quite so spicy, but I'm treating myself to a cigarette to celebrate the new year and after 9 months on diet baby-nicotine vape liquid, it's got me fucked up! Happy 2019 to all of you.)

In my experience, a person needs to be in a certain headspace for a book like this, where "galaxies" are made up of like three planetary systems in a straight line (the Milky Way alone has around 250 billion stars), "dark matter" is marked on a map (??? If you don't know what things are, just don't put them in your book!!!) an asteroid belt has "thousands" of "space rocks" (our asteroid belt has nearly two million asteroids, and it's fairly modest in size), and space battles end with "bodies burning in the sky" (things don't burn in space, not even stars). I'll admit to applying very minimal effort to this one, but when it comes to space I have a delicate constitution; I want it done right or not at all.

Profile Image for Jeann (Happy Indulgence) .
1,010 reviews4,153 followers
January 17, 2018
As a massive sci-fi fan, I was really looking forward to reading Zenith, until I came to Goodreads and realised how many negative reviews there were. Still curious, I went into the book with promise.

The book starts off in a promising way, with a ruthless assassin, Andi, the Bloody Baroness captured by a bounter hunter who she's obviously shared a romantic history with. They had a lot of witty banter but it's clear that Andi absolutely hates Dex and I wanted to know why. There were also a few exciting space battles, along with different species being explored, including A.I. and blue-skinned aliens.

However, at around 30%, this is where the fun stops. The book jumps around between 6 point of views, diverting between their character histories and their current journeys. I struggled to see the point of most of these point of views, and instead of adding to the novel, I found they detracted from them. The writing was also terribly disjointed in both tone and pacing, skipping between being poetic and incredibly jumpy. If the multiple character point of views weren't enough, the writing was enough to put me off the rest of the book.

There also wasn't much plot to begin with, in fact, nothing much happened up until the 50% of the book when I DNF'd it. The characters are also incredibly cliche - there's a blue skinned alien, and the amount of blue skinned descriptors repeated throughout their perspective was painful. Androma or Andi was also a boring character, the fact that she's a Bloody Baroness is repeated all the way through, and it's more telling than showing.

Even though I'm on the blog tour for this book, I can't bring myself to finish it because that was painful enough as it is. And so is the resulting reading slump (no thank you).

I received a review copy from Harper Collins Publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Trina (Between Chapters).
872 reviews3,756 followers
April 30, 2018
3.5 stars. Honestly, I didn't think this was that bad!

Since I'm a BookTuber, I figure a few of you may be curious about if I know Sasha. I do not. I've followed her channel and Twitter for a few years and left a few comments, but we aren't mutuals, have never met, and I doubt she has any idea who I am. So there's nothing at stake for either of us in how I review her book.

Anyway, she's a peer and I'm incredibly proud of BookTubers who get publishing deals so yes, I did want to pick up this book for support (even though you may recall I didn't love Part 1 when it was e-published). I think there is nothing shady AT ALL about BookTubers getting book deals. It's completely natural that in a group of people who love books this much, that some of them want to be writers and that has nothing to do with their channel. All authors have fanbases and try to reach out to those fanbases for exposure whether it's 2 people or 200,000.

On to the book!

I had only seen bad reviews for this before I read it and so I pushed it off for a while and only picked it up now because my library had the audiobook immediately available and everything else I was interested in had wait lines and heaven forbid I go without an audiobook for even a day.

I think 2 things largely account for my enjoyment of the book:
1 - I had very low expectations due to the negative opinions I'd seen. I know there are fans of this book out there, but I wasn't exposed to the positive reviews nearly as much.
2 - I bet that listening to the audio version avoided some of the stylistic things I've seen critiqued. Like weird italics or certain phrases.

Here's what I didn't like:
- Yes, Andi was referred to as 'The Bloody Baroness' way too many times.
- There was an abundance of adjectives that felt like they were trying too hard to convince us of how epic everything was. The characters were made to sound awesome on paper, but they didn't feel genuine.

I also initially had trouble with all of the POVs, but by the end they all clicked for me and I liked how we saw some of them connect. I feel like I've heard some people say a couple of the POVs just rehashed the same things, but I never experienced that. Sometimes two characters were in the same place but it wasn't a word for word repetition of the same scene. We probably could have done without Dex's POV, but I didn't mind it.

The writing could stand to be fine tuned in the future but I did like the pacing and the plot. The ending THREW ME FOR A LOOP and made me glad I'd stuck it out. I am looking forward to the sequel.

Audiobook review: So like I said, I do think the audio format smoothed over some issues that others have pointed out so it may have lent to my enjoyment. However, I wasn't a fan of all the narrators because it's a pet peeve of mine when YA audiobooks are voiced by adults who clearly sound much older than the character. Dex and Lira sounded middle aged and I didn't feel it suited them. I also didn't like that we had so many narrators because it just means there were like 5 different voices for each character when they'd be in another POV's scene.
Profile Image for Evgenia Netrebkova.
51 reviews29 followers
June 15, 2017
UPDATE June 13 2017: So, to clarify because I have received a couple of very salty comments... Look. I have no problem with Ms. Sasha Alsberg as a person. I think she is very pretty and she seems very vivacious and cool. However... what I think of her book is different. It's that simple. I've liked authors and hated their books. I've hated books and liked authors. For example, Victoria Aveyard. I don't necessary like Red Queen. However, I quite respect her for she is not afraid to speak up about the issues of the world.

ORIGINAL: So this book is from the same editor who brought us THE BLACK WITCH and the CONTINENT? No wonder one of its author, Ms. Sasha Alsberg is such a huge flailing fan of SJM....

And look, nothing against Sasha, but I kind of get pissed because the only reason she probably has this book and the "#1 NYT bestselling author" title is because of her fame on BookTube. Not fair to other authors who are working so hard to even get a second of an agents time.
Profile Image for Pol.
2 reviews
April 23, 2017
So from the editor Lauren Smulski that brought us the Continent and the Blackwitch... *nervously grimaces*... Alright then. I'm suprised Harlequin Teen is not watching this editor like a hawk after all the racist books she's helped publish.
Profile Image for Chelsies Reading Escape.
631 reviews362 followers
January 22, 2018
Three words FEMALE SPACE PIRATES. If that doesnt draw you in maybe Six of Crows set in space will. This was an immersive read with a fun plot. I loved the short chapters because it made it feel like I was getting through this 500+ page book faster. I was getting distracted a lot while reading so it really helped the pacing when I was finally able to concentrate. I thought the fight scenes and character developpement were well done. We get some back story sprinkled throughout that really made these characters come to life. I liked how the characters had multiple layers to them. They might be seen a certain way by other characters, but that doesnt mean thats who they truly are. 

The spaceship and alien stuff was super creative. I enjoyed reading about new alien species and futuristic technology thats easy to understand. I was happy to finally find a book where the authors took full advantage of the opportunity to create something unique with their worlds. For example, they used different colors to described things, like a purple sky and golden water. Not to mention the huge spider pulling a carriage instead of a horse, and so much more. I didnt question how naturally occuring floating mountains and a diamond filled beach was possible, I just enjoyed the image it created. Andis and Liras home planets were incredibly beautiful. The scenery was down right magical at times.

I liked how Andi was a lot more complexe than she first appeared to be. She carries around a huge amount of guilt and views herself differently because of it. After anxiously waiting to find out how she escaped her home planet I was pleased with the way the information was delivered. I was worried I wasnt going to like Dex because cocky male characters usually get on my nerves, but he eventually grew on me. Im happy this book didnt have much romance, but I was still rooting for Andi and Dex. I loved Lira and how passionate she was. It was amazing how her scales would heat up when she got emotional. I also really liked the dynamic between Gilly and Breck. The entire female crew was fantastic. Valen was a little cooky cinnamon roll.

If Valens father had just changed the terms of a deal with someone right in front of me I would not trust him. It was a little frustrating how Andi didnt doubt him more. The first couple Klaren chapters were confusing and I wish I would have known who I was following from the start so I didnt have to go back and reread those chapters once I found out. I still ended up really enjoying Queen Nors and her mothers chapters. There was also the timing during the rescue mission that didnt make sense to me. There was no way of knowing how long Andi and Dex were going to be out cold for so ringing the alarm in 1 hour doesnt make sense. Im also not sure why the other planets decided to go to war instead of helping the dying planet.

If you follow my reviews you probably know by now that Ive been really enjoying my scifi books lately and this epic story really helped satisfy my space opera craving. For the most part, the writing was quick and easy to get into, but it seemed a little awkard in places. It might get fixed in the finished copy, but either way it wasnt anything that took away from my enjoyment. The ending was incredible, intense and heartwrenching. Overall it did have a few faults, but I enjoyed myself so much that I didnt really care. The plot was so entertaining and I absoluetly loved the characters and the world. I cant wait to see what the authors do with the sequel. If you like scifi books set in space than Id give this a try.

*received for honest review consideration*
Profile Image for Belle.
528 reviews517 followers
January 13, 2018
2.5/5 stars

I received an eARC from the publishers via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I went completely blind into this book, I did not read Zenith Part 1 when it came out a few years ago, and I successfully avoided hearing a single thing about even the basic plot. This was a little bit of a mishmash of other popular books and tv series—it had the space-criminal-pirate thing going on that reminded me of Firefly, and had some very similar plot lines to Throne of Glass.

This book follows a group of criminal girls, as they cruise the skies on a ship called the Maraude. The leader of these intergalactic thieves, is a girl known to most as the Bloody Baroness, or Androma “Andi” Maracella. Andi made a name for herself during the five years she was on the run from the law, her title known and feared throughout the galaxy.

The beginning of this book was probably the best part, I love a good group of females who bicker like family, and that was exactly what this was. The world (or galaxy) was interesting, the description of the many planets and their cultures was creative and unique. I just think with a hundred or so less pages, a condensed version of the plot would have captured my attention a lot more. The big ‘action’ scene that the entire book had been gearing up to, happened in the last couple chapters. That left a lot of the book to feel like a filler, padding out the action scenes with nothing vital. And just for reference, there were 102 chapters in this book, meaning lots of slow moving chapters.

Androma was lot like Celaena in many ways, she was self-serving at times and had the biggest chip on her shoulder. Those qualities unfortunately, are my biggest pet-peeves with characters, I don't want to read about whiny characters. There were so many chapters that focused on the death of her best friend, which turned her character into a sob story whenever she had a flashback or random flush of guilt. There were just too many repetitive themes in this book, I didn’t need things to be repeated every chapter to retain it and realise that it was an important fact.

Almost all the main characters had a sob story that ended up unravelling, I would have preferred there to be characters that were just inherently bad or plain selfish, it would have added dimension and diversity in the characters.

There were some characters that I really enjoyed, the other crew members on the Maraude; Gilly, Breck and Lira, were hilarious additions to the story. I found myself craving their banter and comical presence, they toned down Andi’s gloomy aura.

As I mentioned before, there were a lot of similarities between the plot of Throne of Glass and this book. The biggest one being that, in both books the main character had to complete a task for their Governor or King, in order to be pardoned for past crimes. There were a lot of other minor clichés that are often present in the YA genre, common premises and similar characters. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy some of these things, I just didn’t find them as exciting or interesting, having read them so many times before.

My problem is, I didn't like these things in ToG, and I certainly didn't like them in this book. The big plot twist at the end was lacking for me, the majority of it being quite obvious early on.

There were also six different points of view, some I loved and some, not so much. I just felt like that many POVs repetitively pulled you from the flow of the story, and weren’t needed.

The POV that bugged me the most was Klaren's. These chapters were flashbacks to the past, they set the scene and the origin story of other characters. And they were poorly done. I had no idea what she was or what she was trying to do, they failed to be mysterious and became extremely confusing. Being thrown back twenty years (or there abouts, I'm not entirely sure the exact time frame) was incredibly irritating. The information learnt in these chapters could have come from another source in the present time, without so much confusion.

Overall, I found this book okay, I enjoyed the world but it wasn’t anything ground breaking or new to YA fantasy. I'll might pick up the second one when it comes out, just to see how the authors continue with the plot but it won't be high priority on my TBR.
Profile Image for Sophie Elaina.
370 reviews321 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
April 12, 2022
Put down at page 112.

Nope, I can’t read anymore. Everything including the plot and characters feel so mediocre.

Before starting it I was very excited about the premise and really thought it was going to be great. What with the whole female pirates in space thing. It even started off promising, because I adored the opening chapter, but it just went downhill from there. I don’t think I could even explain anything about this from what I’ve read; it was way too jumpy and I felt like I was reading ten different books at once. One of my resolutions this year was to stop struggling through the books I’m not enjoying, so I’m not going to force myself to finish this. I just don’t care enough about this story to continue. But if you’re planning to pick this up, I hope you have a much better time reading it than I have.
Profile Image for Nina.
791 reviews283 followers
May 7, 2018
EDIT May 7th, 2018: After some consideration, I've decided to lower my rating of this book from two stars to one star. Over the last few weeks, I've kept seeing reviews for this book on my timeline and always had to think back to how I felt about the book. Since reading Zenith, I've given two stars to a handful of other books and I just feel like I didn't struggle with any of them as much as I struggled with Zenith. I still like the fact that this book has a group of strong female characters and I also still think that listening to the audiobook, which was done very well considering this book is a bit of a mess, made it easier for me to get through the novel. But ultimately, none of this changed the fact that this book was confusing, unorginal, boring and badly written and keeping my two-star rating just wouldn't feel fair to some of the other books (better books!), I've also given two stars to.


Sasha is probably one of the first booktubers I've ever subscribed to and the reason I even found out about this wonderful "thing" called booktube in the first place. That's why I've been super excited when she announced that she'd publish her first novel but now that I've read it, I have to say that I was pretty dissappointed by it.

I didn't really like the writing, most of the characters felt a lot like characters from other books (especially one of the female main characters called Andy who felt like a copy of Celaena Sardothien from the TOG books) and the first 60% to 70% of the novel were pretty confusing. The book often switches between past and present and is also written from the POVs of four or five different characters which is why I was often struggling to understand what was happening. But I listened to the audiobook of this novel which was very well done since there were different narrators for each of the perspectives included in this book. I think that actually helped me a little and I feel like I would've struggled even more if I had read the physical copy.

So overall, I didn't really enjoy this book and I'm unfortunately not interested in reading the second part of this series. But I have to say that this book definitely wasn't one of the worst books I've ever read and had some redeeming qualities just like the awesome group of strong female main characters which is why I decided to give "Zenith" a two out of five stars.
Profile Image for Kyle.
86 reviews17 followers
December 30, 2018
4,5 stars! Sasha and Lindsay wrote an amazing story here. The writing was beautiful and these characters felt very real. They weren't always nice and definitely morally grey but that made them more believable. They are perfectly imperfect although Andi's pettiness sometimes annoyed the hell out of me! She was very unreasonable towards Dex. Dex and Lira were by far my favourite characters in this book. I'd love to read more about those two.

The world building was also very well done. I loved the map of the different galaxies and the authors described the different planets very well and incredibly colourful.

This book has one of the best endings in a YA novel and I can't wait for the second book in this duology. That book is going to be brutal.

Read it!
Profile Image for Jessica Enriquez.
135 reviews301 followers
March 6, 2018
This book is terrible. The plot could have been something decent if the writing had been better. There were some terrible representations of PTSD and rape in this book and quite a few other things I found to be really problematic.

I go into a whole lot more detail in both of my videos:

Zenith: Midbook Negative Review

Zenith: Completed Review
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