Her ship is gone, her crew is captured and notorious mercenary Androma Racella is no longer the powerful Bloody Baroness, but a fugitive ruthlessly hunted across the Mirabel Galaxy. The bloodthirsty Queen Nor now rules most of the galaxy through a mind-control toxin and she’ll stop at nothing to destroy her most hated adversary.
Andi will risk anything, even her precious freedom, to find a cure. Stranded with her unlikely ally, Dex, on the unforgiving ice planet of Solera, their plan to infiltrate a black-market city proves dangerously irresistible.
Back in Arcardius, Nor’s actions have opened Mirabel to invasion. As Andi’s crew fights to regain their freedom, Andi and Dex discover a threat far greater than anything they’ve faced before.
Only by saving their mortal enemy can the crew of the Marauder make one last desperate strike to save the galaxy—unaware that a shattering, centuries-old secret may demand the most wrenching sacrifice of all
You know it’s not a good sign when you have to start your review with a disclaimer. Right off the bat I know this review is going to be a mess – there’s a lot to unpack. So here’s the disclaimer; I don’t know how coherent this one’s going to be.
Let’s get into it.
Nexus – I knew this book was never going to be mind-blowing but I still expected an improvement from Zenith. I wanted more of Zenith’s space opera action but with better world-building and a block buster knock-me-off-my-socks ending to close out the duology in style. And, if all else failed, I thought I could at least count on the Marauder’s all-girl crew of mercenaries.
*Sighs*. Imagine my disappointment when all I got from Nexus was an insufferably dragged-out-plot with little to no character development and zero space pirate action.
Now, I’m sure I don’t need to rehash on Zenith’s controversial release – let’s skip over that. [or you can read my review here]. While Zenith might have been a mediocre debut Nexus could have been great. There was potential, okay?
I’m sorry to say that Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings missed the mark. Again.
This series-turned-duology relied heavily on classic Sci-Fi and Fantasy tropes. You could tell that the authors read certain books because you could trace Zenith’s plot and characters back to those existing bestsellers. Zenith brought nothing new to the table. It was trying to be this sprawling space epic but fell short.
Speaking of bestsellers, Zenith actually read a lot like Throne of Glass fanfiction. I mean, it’s kind of obvious that if you plucked Celaena Sardothian from Rifthold and put her in space you’d basically have Zenith’s plot. Even the writing was a little too reminiscent of Sarah J. Maas – the descriptive writing, the short PoV chapters, the use of metaphors and similes. And the characters! It was so blatantly obviously that Andi and Celaena were cut from the same cloth.
Okay, so now you’re probably wondering where I’m going with this and how it all relates to why I’m so disappointed in Nexus. I know this seems like a tangent but trust me, there is a point here.
It’s clear that Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings took on the criticism from Zenith’s release when writing Nexus. You’d think that would have been a good thing but here’s why it wasn’t.
Nexus felt like a completely different book. There. I said it. The writing style drastically changed and gone was that Sarah J. Maas feel I spoke about in regards to Zenith. On one hand, I feel we should appreciate that Sasha and Lindsay tried to bring their own voices to Nexus. Yes, the sentences flowed better in terms of structure but they seemed to lack substance. Would it make sense if I said Zenith’s prose had more character? Nexus’s prose was bland in comparison. I didn’t hate the Throne of Glass parallels – it’s what made Zenith so fun.
Then we have the characterisation – or lack thereof. I don’t know what was going on with the characters but everyone seemed a little off. A lot can be chalked up to the plot and the fact that the Marauders were practically non-existent. Without her crew Andi just isn’t a compelling character and with no character development minus the lively dynamic of the Marauders you have a very dry book.
Which brings me to plot. Literally nothing happens until about the mid-point. After Zenith’s fast paced whirlwind of a plot Nexus’s slow burn was a struggle. The stakes were high but somehow Nexus had no tension. Don’t ask me how that works. That being said, there was a twist at the mid-point that amplified the emotion of the book which finally propelled me into the characters. Though, said twist was centred around Nor and not Andi.
So here’s the conundrum; Nexus is better than Zenith but at the same time it’s not. An attempt was made to make Nexus a stronger novel but in steering away from the tropes and very much copied tone, Nexus lost it’s charm. I wasn’t nearly as invested, the book was dry, the romance never developed and essentially, a missed opportunity. Zenith was this light guilty pleasure about space pirates and Nexus took itself too seriously.
Basically, if you are still with me after this very long, very confusing review Nexus didn’t live up to Zenith’s potential. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.