Despite the fact that Zenn Scarlett did not appear recently on my most anticipated list for 2013, this isn’t so much for the reason that I am not anticipating it, but rather the fact that if I placed every single Strange Chemistry novel I’m wringing my hands for this year, then it wouldn’t be much of a list!
Zenn Scarlett is one of those books you know is going to be special from the offset. It’s yet another offering of YA science fiction from the Strange Chemistry lab and it has all the elements to pique my interest in a heartbeat.
Zenn Scarlett is a bright and occasionally a-little-too-smart-for-her-own-good 17-year-old girl training hard to become an exoveterinarian. She specializes 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 was going well – until there are a series of inexplicable animal escapes from the school that Zenn finds herself blamed for. As if this isn’t enough to be dealing with, her father vanishes under strange circumstances, and Zenn is worried that she has started hearing the thoughts of the creatures around her…
With the help of Liam, a towner boy, and Hamish, an alien bug also training at the clinic, Zenn must try to find her father, rescue the animals and unravel the mystery of who is behind the attacks on the school. And all without failing her first year.
Honestly, I love school settings. It’s all the anime in my formative years. You get to mix all the slice-of-life goodness with the action and awesome of a story and it can quite often be one of the best mixes. How many great anime series have a high school or some other organisation or order type of setup? Yep, lots. With the special school and training and space, this is all sounding very video game/Final Fantasy-esque to me… so imagine my fanboyish delight when I saw the cover…
It’s just so…. wow. If that is Zenn on the cover, I absolutely love that she looks like an androgynous bishounen (Google Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and you’ll see my line of thought) and is dressed so…wow. She has so much more appeal to me as a guy dressed as casually as she is, just staring out into all that space, than if she were wearing a leather pair of hotpants and shimmying about against a dark background. Plus, I love the androgyny (as in, mmmm, androgyny) and with a YA book featuring (yet another) female protagonist, it’s incredibly attractive to some readers to be able to pick up a book with a cover that doesn’t scream “I’m for girls!” as some of the prettier covers are wont to do.
This is a stunning cover. In fact, it’s my favourite so far. Hands down. The spacescape, the character, everything. The font is simple and elegant and it all screams “science fiction” in the best of ways.
I think I’m going to be grabby-handing this cover for the foreseeable future; it’s just so perfect. Top level kudos to the art department for this one… because they have completely outdone themselves. Art is by: ARGH! Oxford.
Zenn Scarlett is due out in May, by Christian Schoon.
Christian Schoon grew up in Minnesota, and worked his way through college in a succession of rock bands before earning his degree from the U of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Journalism.
Following a stint as an in-house copywriter/scriptwriter at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, he supplied freelance copy for the entertainment industry and scriptwriting for live-action and animated TV.
Currently, he writes from his 150-year-old farmstead in Iowa which he shares with a fluctuating number of horses (generally less than a dozen, but not always), 30 or so cats, a dog, three ferrets and a surprisingly tolerant wife.
The Zenn Scarlett books are his first novels, however he admits to being an unrepentant fan of science fiction and fantasy ever since discovering the tales of Edgar Rice Burroughs in the fifth grade. He can be found at his blog: christianschoon.com and on Twitter.
Definitely an amazing cover…