Give me magic, gadgets, monsters, zombies, everything that seems impossible, and throw in some tough chicks with swords. That's the stuff.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Review: Zenn Scarlett

Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon

Alien vets, strange creatures, a Martian colony, and a girl stuck in the middle of a conspiracy - yes I was a very happy reader.

Zenn Scarlett is trying to pass her three exams so that she can move on in her studies to be an exo-veterinarian. That would be a vet that takes care of animals from everywhere - goats and cats from Earth to sandhogs, whalehounds, and other beasties from all kinds of worlds. Zenn grew up at the Ciscan Cloister (not religious by this point in this world's history). She has had little contact with the kids in town, some because of the fear of the townies for the strange beasts and because of Zenn's reluctance to allow people to get close to her. Then a series of mishaps and close calls threaten Zenn's exo-vet future and the existence of the cloister. Also, Zenn seems to be developing a closer mental connection to the animals in her care...

This was a fast-paced read for me. I liked the characters: Zenn was a capable heroine and Hamish (an alien who is more like a bug) stole the show during his scenes. There is some action, a lot of alien creatures, and as Zenn starts to think more about the politics of her time we get some clues as to the overall picture of this story's universe. Zenn has been very sheltered, and while she knows a lot about the different alien species, she doesn't know much about people, nor does she necessarily read them well. I liked how it all unfolded.

There is a hint of romance, but it is not a story where Zenn is in the middle of a life-threatening event and she can only think of the possible love interest. It felt natural and by no means settled.

The story is not over. I wouldn't call it a cliffhanger, but we are definitely going to need book 2.

Recommended if you like YA, sci fi, aliens and very smart heroines.

[received an arc]

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