May 6, 2013

{Review} of Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon

Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GENRE: YA Science Fiction
THEME: Aliens, Space
RECEIVED: Publisher
AUTHORS BLOG: Christian Schoons' Site

Zenn Scarlett is a resourceful, determined 17-year-old girl working hard to make it through her novice year of exovet training. That means she's learning to care for alien creatures that are mostly large, generally dangerous and profoundly fascinating. Zenn’s all-important end-of-term tests at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic on Mars are coming up, and, she's feeling confident of acing the exams. But when a series of inexplicable animal escapes and other disturbing events hit the school, Zenn finds herself being blamed for the problems. As if this isn't enough to deal with, her absent father has abruptly stopped communicating with her; Liam Tucker, a local towner boy, is acting unusually, annoyingly friendly; and, strangest of all: Zenn is worried she's started sharing the thoughts of the creatures around her. Which is impossible, of course. Nonetheless, she can't deny what she's feeling.

Now, with the help of Liam and Hamish, an eight-foot sentient insectoid also training at the clinic, Zenn must learn what's happened to her father, solve the mystery of who, if anyone, is sabotaging the cloister, and determine if she's actually sensing the consciousness of her alien patients... or just losing her mind. All without failing her novice year....

It’s always great to find a young adult story that finally get’s away from the love triangles, vampires, werewolves, and fae plots. This is a science fiction story, the characters are living on a different planet and aliens are real! I read some other reviews on this book and I felt a lot of people just couldn’t understand or were too stuck in the paranormal world to get into a science fiction story. I really enjoyed Zenn Scarlett, the complex alien life forms, the strain in politics with humans and alien, and one girl being stuck in the middle of a conspiracy.

Zenn Scarlett follows Zenn a young girl who lives on Mars in one of the many colonies from earth. Following in her mothers foots steps she strives to become an exoveterinarian (an alien veterinarian). At the moment she is studying and hoping to pass all her test, but for some reason things aren’t going her way. Zenn starts to realize something is happening at the cloister (animal alien clinic), someone is targeting her home and mysterious disappearances with transport ships may be connected. Zenn is put right in the middle of it all.

Zenn is a determined and smart young girl who lost the one person whom she strives to be like. Her mother’s death took a toll on not only her but also her father. He leaves her uncle in charge of the cloister while he goes off on his own mission, leaving problems behind and Zenn worried. I felt for Zenn, the readers could feel her concern for her father and the problems in debt that the clinic has. She wants one thing to go right not only for her but for her uncle until her dad returns. Zenn’s character development is great even though she struggles with her test; she realizes something is happening to her. A connection to the alien animals that has hurt her testing and confused her, I hope we get more insight on this in the next book on why this ability is happening to her.

There are many colorful characters that go on this wild adventure of mystery with Zenn. A fellow student name Hamish who is an intelligent alien described to be an insect type alien. He becomes good friends with Zenn helping her with the many strange occurrences, also learning along with Zenn about taking care of alien animals, and how to be his own person. Then there is Liam a human that doesn’t understand the importance of alien animals like Zenn does. He has a lot to learn and makes plenty of mistakes, but Zenn is someone who helps teach him why to care about these creatures. I also sense a hint of a possible romance, which I’d love to see.

Overall Christian Schoon does a fantastic job creating unique and memorable alien creatures and beings. It will give you the sense of what life Zenn has grown up knowing. It makes me wonder how Schoon came up with the many alien creatures; they’re so detailed in where they are from, what they eat, their personalities, and the whole shebang. I do hope in the next book we get more details about Mars. I loved getting sucked onto planet Mars and taken on an adventure with Zenn, Hamish and Liam. I can’t wait to continue this journey especially after the suspenseful ending. I applaud Schoon for a great debut.

This is young adult science fiction novel that will take you on a great adventure that’s out of this world, literally. Fans of the Unraveling series by Elizabeth Norris and The Host by Stephenie Meyers will love Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon.

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