March 18, 2014 by mmileti
Release Date: April 1st 2014
Under Nameless Stars is the second novel in the Zenn Scarlett series by Christian Schoon. This series is another unique addition to its genre, YA Sci-Fi, from Strange Chemistry/ Angry Robot Books.
Zenn Scarlett is a novice exo-veterinary student from a colony on Mars who has a special connection to the alien animals she cares for. After learning that her father has been kidnapped, she and her friend Liam Tucker stow away on the starliner the Helen of Troy, hoping to find him. Just as Zenn feels she has finally come cloze to the truth behind her father’s kidnapping, the Helen of Troy is hijacked and sent far into uncharted space. Zenn will need her exo-veternarian skills, and her newfound friends from the starliner to help uncover a conspiracy that could change the fate of the entire universe.
I would recommend that the first book, Zenn Scarlett, be read first, as this book picks up right where the first book left off. Under Nameless Stars is a pleasant book, but one that is exclusively for a young adult audience. The novel’s plot is fast-paced and predictable, and overall the book has a whimsical feel. The characters were obviously created with a lot of imagination and attention to detail, and even though it was easy to feel affection for them, it was hard to connect to the characters fully. This is especially true for Zenn, as I thought her an interesting character, but not one that was completely engaging. This is often how I feel when I read YA novels, and it most likely is because I have grown out of the genre. There are YA books that can also be enjoyed by an adult audience, but I do not feel that this novel is one of them.
I was very impressed with the world building in this novel. Schoon has a vivid and fascinating imagination, and his novels are absolutely overflowing with his inventive creatures and settings. It is not one of the most scientifically accurate Sci-Fi novels I’ve ever read, but I really enjoyed the scope of the ingenuity the author used in his plot and setting. Sometimes pure imagination is more interesting than scientific plausibility, and I found this novel to be a perfect example of this fact.
Overall, I would consider this a novel that is perfect for a YA or middle grade audience, and would especially recommend it for a young person who is being introduced to the Sci-Fi genre. This book has more imagination and less violence than most books in the same genre, and is a great first step for future speculative fiction fans.
I would rate this book a 7.5/10, but keep in mind that this rating is strictly for a YA audience.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in return for an honest review.