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Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings

(This review is cross-posted and originated from GoodReads.)

When I look for Sci-Fi books, my preference is the “Space Opera” sub-genre. I am drawn to the depth of the space operas because they offer more details. The story is more about the characters: who they are and who they become as the story unfolds. There’s depth…the story itself has character and a life of its own. Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings is the first installment in its series and it has all hallmarks of what could be a comeback in serialized space opera stories!

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Zenith Co-Author Sasha Alsberg
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Zenith Co-Author Lindsay Cummings

Blogger and star of YouTube channel Abookutopia, Sasha Alsberg (left) has teamed up with veteran Author Lindsay Cummings (right) to bring you not only a team-written Sci-Fi space opera, but a serialized one at that! (That means you’re going to have to wait for the whole story to unfold, folks!)

Androma Racella is known far and wide across the Mirabel Galaxy as a powerful mercenary, The Bloody Baroness. Andi (to her friends and crew) is the captain of the starship Maurader. She and her 3 crewmates travel from job to job for their survival.

After a long and exhausting bout with insomnia and night terrors, Andi finds herself in the middle of a skirmish with bounty hunters. She has survived worse attacks than this, but there’s something different…a nagging feeling she can’t shake as she gets deeper into the battle. Rather than the traditional “blow them out of the water” approach, the ship is boarded and a blast from her past blows Andi’s world apart as she soon finds out that the fate of an entire galaxy hangs in the balance of her decisions whether or not to cooperate with her captor’s employer.

Admittedly, I am always skeptical about books or even movies that tout “All-Girl” or “All-Boy” anything because I believe it robs the story of differing perspectives and a depth that is rarely seen in single-gendered stories. This is absolutely not the case in Zenith. Because this is just the first part of a series, we are just getting to know the characters and what makes them tick.

The only disappointment I had, comes from the fact that I am an empathetic and immersive reader. That means that I allow myself to be drawn into the book and experience everything that the characterse experience…almost like I am in the action myself. There was a bit where it felt like there was too much information being dumped on me that broke up the flow of the story, particularly in the area of Andi’s past coming back to get her, which dumped me out of the immersive experience.

4 StarsI believe the story is off to a great start and I can’t wait to read the next installment of Zenith!

You can grab your copy of Zenith wherever ebooks are sold. Please also check out the Authors Lindsay Cummings and Sasha Alsberg from the following links:

Twitter: @AuthorLindsayC & @SashaAlsberg

The Official Androma Saga Website

Zenith on Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

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Boundless Magick by Lowvee Cole

boundless_magick1“Seventeen-year-old Abigail Stone lives in exile on present-day Block Island, magically binded because of her family’s unseemly past. But, one night, during a freak stable accident, her powers mysteriously return.

Abigail has enough trouble grasping the idea that she can suddenly make magic. She doesn’t need the added complication of facing capital punishment for severing a Council-enforced bind. Fortunately, the Council agrees to spare her life. However, they cannot ignore the dark and dangerous force that she has spawned in their world with her crime. They order Abigail to the sixteenth-century kingdom of Adehya, where they secretly train her to defeat the evil she conjured, which now threatens to destroy the cosmos.

The Council’s plan backfires when Abigail falls for an off-limits prince. Their forbidden romance leaves Abigail powerless and at the mercy of the only entity that can help her fulfill her destiny: a vengeful Wiccan goddess who wants Abigail dead.”

I have to admit, when I originally came across Lowvee and her novel, Boundless Magick, by way of a friend on Twitter, I was skeptical. There aren’t many writers who can pull off the creation of a magical sub-reality in the same way that C. S. Lewis or J. K. Rowling have. From page one, I was blown away at the world I found myself in. What Lowvee has done in just the first two chapters, some writers cannot accomplish in an entire series!

We start off with a pensive king of a far away land witnessing the beginning of the Wiccan Empire’s undoing. Even though this spells out their doom, he remains unfazed and calm. Knowing what the only step forward is, he sends his most trusted advisor to retrieve a part of his past he had nearly put behind him.

Enter our main protagonist, Abigail. Seventeen years ago, Abigail and her mother were exiled from the life of magic that her father, King Aldred, revolved around. Abigail was magically binded to prevent her from using her powers. In the opinion of the Emperor and Council, this is an unbreakable bind. Only a powerful witch or wizard could find a way around it.

At the same time events are unfolding in the Wiccan Kingdom of Adehya, Abigail is in the stables of her home on Block Island with her best friend, Patrick. Somehow, she uses her willpower to move a trough to protect him, unknowingly set off a chain of events that could ultimately end her life.

As the story progresses, Abigail is required to move to the kingdom of Adehya and take a crash course of magical history and how to use her powers. Through her training and the growing use of her powers, Abigail is granted the fortune of sight by the goddess Seronia, which shows her visions of the future and the part she must play in it.

Boundless Magick is the first and titular book in a series of five books that chronicles Abigail’s journey from the very beginning discovery of her powers until what will prove to be a world-colliding end.

In just a few short chapters, Cole has been able to introduce us to an unusually large collection of already completely developed characters, yet still manages to shape and mold them until they are more awesome and complete!

Without giving away any spoilers, I just have to say:

Through world-class character development, an amazing multi-dimensional (ha!) plot line, and such a wonderful and mysterious world before her, Lowvee has struck literary gold with the Boundless Magick series that can only skyrocket from here!

I give Lowvee and Boundless Magick 5 out of 5 stars and look forward to book two in the Boundless Magick series, The Hopi Mask, due out in the Winter of 2014!

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