Zenn Scarlett (Zenn Scarlett #1)
by Christian Schoon
What is it about:
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...
What did I think of it:
I'm always on the lookout for Science Fiction with actual aliens in it, and this sounded like it might just be what I was looking for.
It turned out to be a really nice read.
The animals at the clinic were indeed cool alien creatures. I liked reading about them. I also loved Hamish, the insectoid. He was by far the most interesting character in the book. I loved his story arc and the change he goes through.
Zenn was a fun heroine as well. She's a bit too trusting and slow to draw conclusions at times, but overall she's a likable person and I rooted for her to find out what was going on.
As with many SF stories, this story deals with prejudice and fear for the unknown. Although the message was clear, it didn't diminish my enjoyment in the story though. The use of these themes even made for some interesting developments and hinted at more to come.
The story ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, and I'm glad I already have the next book in my tbr-pile, because I'm very curious to see what's next for Zenn.
Why should you read it:
It's a very enjoyable YA SciFi read.