Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Under Nameless Stars (Zenn Scarlett #2) by Christian Schoon - Ashley's Review

*I received this book as an eARC from Strange Chemistry/Angry Robot on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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Title: Under Nameless Stars (Zenn Scarlett #2)
Author: Christian Schoon
Publication Date: April 1, 2014

Christian Schoon's TOP TEN Exotic Animals
My Zenn Scarlett Review
My Zenn Scarlett Pre-Reading

Synopsis: Zenn Scarlett’s novice year of exoveterinarian training on Mars isn’t quite going to plan…

After facing a plot to destroy her school and its menagerie of alien patients, could things get worse? Yes, they could: her absent father has been kidnapped.

Desperate to find him, Zenn stows away aboard the Helen of Troy, a starliner powered by one of the immense, dimension-jumping beasts known as Indra. With her is Liam Tucker, a Martian boy who is either very fond of her, very dangerous to her, or both. On the verge of learning the truth about her father, Zenn’s quest suddenly catapults her and Liam thousands of light years beyond known space, and into the dark heart of a monstrous conspiracy.

Braving a gauntlet of lethal environments and unearthly life forms, Zenn’s courage is tested as never before. With the fate of entire worlds in the balance, she is racing headlong into trouble… again.


Review: Oh my goodness, this book! Under Nameless Stars took Zenn's story to a whole different level, and I loved every minute of it! Things are darker, scarier, twistier, and all of the stakes are even higher than they were before. The creatures are spectacular, the plot is thicker, and Zenn has to figure out how to deal with all of it while trying to figure out how to rescue her father and why he has kidnapped to begin with.

I liked Zenn in the first book, but I liked her so much more in this one. She's less afraid to make friends and care about people, and I felt like she was just an all-around better person. Sure, she's a stowaway on the Indra-ship, and sure she lies about who she is so she doesn't get sent home... but she's trying to save her father. I think she might trust too easily, and tends to not pick up on suspicious activity (I figured out who the "bad guy" was pretty quickly after meeting him), but it made for a more interesting story so I was ok with that too. Zenn is definitely the heroine of this story, but she's also not afraid to ask for help and sometimes needs saving herself. I think this book made her more relateable, and I enjoyed getting to know her better and watch her grow and mature.

The new characters are all really interesting too, but my favorite was definitely Jules. He's hilarious without meaning to be, and I especially enjoyed that he was an ordinary Earthen creature in an extraordinary situation. I had to go back and read the part where Zenn realizes what he is twice, because I didn't believe it myself! I love him and his story, and I'm so glad that he ends up on Zenn's team. I wish Jules was my friend, because he's just that awesome. I also really enjoyed how well his quest matched up with Zenn's, even though it was kind of a big coincidence. 

Under Nameless Stars is paced quite a bit faster than Zenn Scarlett, but it really worked with this part of Zenn's story. There's so much going on that I just had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen next - would Zenn and her friends be able to get out of whatever situation they had been put into? Would Zenn find her father? What is happening to the Indra? What new creature is going to show up next? And I was not disappointed in any of those! I do wish Liam had been in the story more, since he kind of just shows up randomly and then disappears again. There's a little romance because of that, but mostly Zenn realizes that she is capable of eventually having a romantic relationship, even if it isn't necessarily with Liam. 

Overall, I very much enjoyed this book! I think anyone who enjoys space operas would really like this series, and I think that anyone who enjoys YA sci-fi would also enjoy it. If you've read Zenn Scarlett, I definitely recommend Under Nameless Stars! I would also recommend the series to fans of Across the Universe, and other books like that. A 4/5 for this one! 


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