Zenn Scarlett is a much anticipated Young Adult release from Strange Chemistry and it is one I’ve been waiting on for a long time, before I even saw the jaw-dropping cover and before I interviewed the wonderful author Christian Schoon, I took in the plot with a whole lot of high hope and desire.
“Zenn Scarlett is a bright, determined, occasionally a-little-too-smart-for-her-own-good 17-year-old girl training hard to become an exoveterinarian. That means she’s specializing in the treatment of exotic alien life forms, mostly large and generally dangerous. Her novice year of training at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic on Mars will find her working with alien patients from whalehounds the size of a hay barn to a baby Kiran Sunkiller, a colossal floating creature that will grow up to carry a whole sky-city on its back.
But after a series of inexplicable animal escapes from the school and other near-disasters, the Cloister is in real danger of being shut down by a group of alien-hating officials. If that happens, Zenn knows only too well the grim fate awaiting the creatures she loves.
Now, she must unravel the baffling events plaguing her school, before someone is hurt or killed, before everything she cares about is ripped away from her and her family forever. To solve this mystery – and live to tell about it – Zenn will have to put her new exovet skills to work in ways she never imagined, and in the process learn just how powerful compassion and empathy can be.”
This book might be the death of me, because I so desperately wanted to fall for it. I wanted to love the exoticness of the alien creatures; I wanted to run through the halls of the Ciscan Cloister with Zenn, and most of all I wanted to fight against the ignorance of the townsfolk and everyone else with their lack of acceptance. I did all these things and more, but… I wasn’t in love with the novel until the end.
I felt a slight drag in the beginning of the novel until about midway through, and some of the info drops between Zenn and Hamish were a bit much. Also, for some reason I had it in my mind that the school was going to be Harry Potterish and akin to Hogwarts, teeming with students and alien creatures. It has the creatures, but Zenn is the only student there and her Uncle is the only teacher, I wasn’t expecting that at all.
Zenn Scarlett does pick up significantly, and the slowly-played mystery of what’s happening between Zenn and the animals really digs at the reader; I so badly wanted her to unleash some of her powers. Hamish is also another excellent feature, the bug-like creature and his asking of permissions before any ordeal adds another level of light-heartedness and amusement against the downward spiraling trend of the events that continue to happen to Zenn and the Ciscan Cloister.
The ending is a flurry of action, that leaves me screaming, “Yes, finally!” and “No, It can’t end like this!!” This book really tore me up and even has me change how I’m going to start reviewing books, no more stars. Zenn Scarlett is a great book, with a unique plot and adventurous characters that doesn’t deserve to be slammed in the star category simply because I found a few issues with it. Yes, I found the pacing to be a bit erratic and slow at times, but I’m going to guarantee you that I will find myself a copy of the next installment in Zenn Scarlett because I absolutely have to know what happens. It is killing me not knowing and I know the wait is going to seem like an eternity until I get my fix of Zenn Scarlett.