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"Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?' In fact, it seems to me that most contemporary insults are pretty lame. Even 'lame' is kind of lame. Saying 'You're lame' is like saying 'You walk with a limp.' Yeah, whatever, so does 50 Cent, and he's done all right for himself."— John Green


Zenn Scarlett (Review)

Title: Zenn Scarlett
Author(s)Christian Schoon
Edition: ARC, 3o4 pages
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Publication Date: May 7, 2013 (US)
Source: Received from publisher
Buy: Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Book Depository - Inkwood Books

The Summary
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!

My Opinion
I was lucky enough to be contacted by Christian himself to be a part of the blog tour for Zenn Scarlett.  As soon as I read the summary, I knew I had to get my hands on this book!  I've been looking for a fun, original sci-fi story, and Zenn Scarlett is just what I wanted.

Zenn Scarlett is a teenager living on Mars in one of the many colonies founded by early Earth settlers.  She lives with her uncle, the head of the local exoveterinarian cloister, studying to be an exoveterinarian.  But with a dwindling crop yield and the mysterious disappearance of intersteller transport ships, the cloister is looking at rough times.  And that's when the accidents start to happen.

I loved the world-building in this book!  Christian did an amazing job crafting a complete world, with far reaching implications.  I feel like with all the details the reader gets just in book 1, the next installment will have even more.  There are a lot of interesting things going on with the potential to continue past Zenn's story.  This is the kind of sci-fi I love, one that's rich with backstory and fully fleshed out for the future.  And while Mars doen't seem like an original setting, I think it's nice going back to the first planet men use to dream about visiting.

I like that much of this book is looking at Zenn's life in the cloister, but there are surprises and problems that crop up to disturb the normalcy of her life.  The fact that she's studying to be an exoveterinarian is really cool, with interesting, huge beasts being treated.  In some ways the book reads much like a contemporary but just set on a whole different planet.  It also has a very Western feel to it, with Mars being a frontier of sorts.  But then again it is very technologically advanced.  If any of you have watched the show Firefly, it feels like that when I'm reading.

I can't wait to see what the next installment of Zenn's story will bring.  She's learned some truths about her mother and herself, with more to come in the future.   Along with some important friends, Zenn will have to jump into the unknown, and I'm excited to be a part of the ride!  Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon is a wonderful debut by a wonderful author!  But don't take my word for it!  Check it our for yourself at your local bookstore or library! 

Final Rating
Book Cover: 4/5
Book Title: 4/5
Plot: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Writing: 9/10
Ending: 9/10
Overall: 44/50: B+

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