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3 Stars: Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon ARC

Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon has a promising premise and a gorgeous cover. There were some fun characters, but in the end I was left wondering where the plot went. I was very excited to receive Zenn Scarlett through Netgalley after seeing a couple of mentions on blogs, so thank you Strange Chemistry for giving me the opportunity to review it! While I had a good time reading Zenn Scarlett, and am therefore hopeful for the second book, I was left a bit unsatisfied :(. Zenn Scarlett comes out May 7th (today!), 2013 if you want to check it out yourself!

Note: I read an eARC of Zenn Scarlett from Netgalley. Some things may be changed in the final version.

Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon Goodreads | Amazon | LibraryThing

Title: Zenn Scarlett
Author: Christian Schoon
Length: 304 pages
Genre-ish: Sci-fi YA
Rating★★★☆- fun premise and characters, weird plot

When you’re studying to be exoveterinarian specializing in exotic, alien life forms, school… is a different kind of animal.

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….– Goodreads

Strengths:

  • Exovets :D. The premise of Zenn Scarlett is freaking awesome. It in fact makes total sense that people would need to learn how to heal all sorts of alien critters once we start making contact with other life forms. I love sci-fi with a dose of “it could actually happen this way!”
  • Zenn and Hamish are awesome for their own completely different reasons. Zenn is a great main character, exceedingly relatable (especially for us students!) with a protected but strong heart. Hamish is such a realistic insectoid alien :D. He has to ask permission to do anything because he comes from a colony where the queen tells everyone else what to do always. Makes a lot of sense huh?
  • Once I figured out what the plot was, there were plot twists and exciting action, yey!
  • Zenn has a pet that is fuzzy but intelligent named Katie! Katie is awesome and deaf and so Zenn taught her to use sign language. Now they chat and Katie says the cutest things!!!! “Katie hungry, hungry Katie eat now?” *squees”

Weaknesses:

Confused….

  • As I mentioned briefly above, I had a hard time nailing down the plot of Zenn Scarlett. There were all sorts of big important problems revealed early on, but then Zenn didn’t really try to fix any of them (because really she couldn’t do much). This left me scrambling to try to figure out what the big problem of the book would be that Zenn could solve. Eventually it becomes clear (it’s the strange events happening at the cloister), but not until at least half way through.
  • On that note, what about all that other stuff! There is a mysterious problem with ships disappearing (which Zenn is quite personally vested in), Zenn is having crazy connections with the animals, Zenn’s father is off doing crazy things, and the cloister is in financial trouble. All of these problems are revealed in Zenn Scarlett, but none of them are resolved in any way. So many questions left!
  • Related the general plot problem, there is a huuuuuuuuuuge cliffhanger. To the point that I really don’t consider the end of Zenn Scarlett all that connected to the rest of the book. The main plot is resolved and then another plot line starts. Then the book ends. Have fun waiting for the second book!

Summary:

Zenn Scarlett had a lot of promise between the amazing premise and wonderful characters. However the lack of a clearly defined plot frustrated and confused me. I will probably read the second book if/when it comes out, mostly because I want to know what freaking happens, but I hope that more attention is paid to having a well-developed plot line. If the premise of Zenn Scarlett interests you and you enjoy shenanigans at schools that need to be figured out, then you will probably enjoy Zenn Scarlett, so go for it! However if you can’t stand cliffhangers and unresolved questions, stay away ;-).

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Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings – A

 

 Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon

© 2013, Anya. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. Radiant Shadows says:

    I had a lot of the same plot issues as you – so many unanswered questions! I absolutely adored Katie though; I immediately thought of my cats and how often they would be complaining about food haha

  2. Not sure this one would be for me. Sounds a little too far into the YA spectrum for me to be able to forgive its’ slowness. :(

    • Yeah, it was on that edge between YA and MG I’d say, we need a new genre, like the opposite of NA, haha

  3. For me, it all depends on how the cliffhanger is done. I can handle unresolved plot threads and a lead-up to further information that will come later on, but very often the way it’s pulled off seems like a deliberate ploy to make the reader frustrated. Having yet to read Zenn Scarlett, though (I have the ARC but just haven’t gotten around to reading it yet), I can’t say for certain whether a cliffhanger ending will frustrate or intrigue me. Must make a point of reading it soon, so that I can find out!

    • Exactly, everything was nicely wrapped up and then bam and extra twenty pages of the second book…. When you do read it, focus on the plot of the cloister, that is the real plot, haha. That was honestly my biggest frustration is not knowing what plot thread to focus on

  4. Well, I’m happy you were able to enjoy this one overall, despite the plot concerns. I was extremely curious about this one myself but I may just wait and see what the next book’s reviews will be. I tend to get easily frustrated with a jumbled plot, especially if it doesn’t get resolved as the story moves forward. Though I am really curious about the aliens, exovets & characters here!! Thanks for the awesome review!

    • If weird plotness doesn’t concern you and exovets excite you, I’d definitely try it! I’m interested to see what happens in the next one too honestly ;-)

  5. Holy hellions! I HAVE to read this – the premise sounds greats, and with the warning, I think I should enjoy it, knowing that it is going to be a little bit of a mess. Alien caregiver….I am drooling!

    • Yey! I think you will definitely enjoy it if the premise excites you and you’re okay with a weird plot :D

  6. Lots of great points here. The plot was meh for me, but I absolutely loved the biology and cool tech. One nergasm after another.

    • So much awesome sci-fi, completely agreed! I’m looking forward to Zenn exploring the universe more :D

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