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TPG Reviews: Under Nameless Stars, by Christian Schoon

August 26, 2014

A highly worthy sequel

Zenn Scarlett’s novice year of exoveterinarian training on Mars isn’t quite going to plan…

After barely surviving a plot to destroy her school and its menagerie of alien patients, could things at the Ciscan cloister get any worse? Yes. Yes they could: Zenn’s absent father Warra Scarlett has suddenly ceased all communication with her. Desperate to learn what’s become of him, Zenn stows away aboard the Helen of Troy, a starliner powered by one of the immense, dimension-jumping beasts known as Indra.

With her is Liam Tucker, a towner boy who is either very fond of her, very dangerous to her, or both. On the verge of learning the truth about her dad, Zenn’s quest suddenly catapults her and Liam thousands of light years beyond known space, and into the dark heart of a monstrous conspiracy. Braving a gauntlet of lethal environments and unearthly life forms, her courage and exovet skills will now be tested as never before.

With the fate of entire worlds hanging in the balance, Zenn is racing headlong into trouble… again.


My rating: 8/10

Under Nameless Stars ups the ante considerably over its predecessor, pitting Zenn Scarlett against a galaxy-wide conspiracy with none other than herself at the very center. With time in short supply, Zenn must use her exovet* skills in previously-unimagined ways if she is to survive.

If anything, I liked this book even more than I did the original. The stakes are higher, the action is faster and the worldbuilding even more accomplished than before. Zenn remains a well-written and relatable protagonist, and all of the side-characters are equally well-constructed. My only real issue is with the sidelining of Liam: given how important he was last time, it was odd to see him given so little time here.

Under Nameless Stars is a highly worthy sequel, and one that anyone who read Zenn Scarlett ought to read immediately. Don’t try to start the series here, though: this book continues right from where the last one ended, and so really shouldn’t be read as a stand-alone.

Read this book and/or Zenn Scarlett? Wanna read them now? Feel free to give your thoughts down in the comments.

(And sorry for the unintentional hiatus. I’ve a fair number of book reviews on my backlog now, so that strikes me as the obvious thing to get started on ;))

*Exoveterinarian. As in, a vet who specializes in exotic alien animals. Cool, no?

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  1. Hey, TPG. Just a quick, belated note to say thanx for the thoughtful reviews of both Zenn Scarlett and the continuation of her exoveterinarian adventures in Under Nameless Stars. Always great fun to hear the thoughts of someone like you w/ significant interest/background in the astro-bio-scientific aspects of the stories. Zenn appreciates. Will keep an eye on your own progress in your novel, which sound intriguing. I mean, parasites and symbionts are instantly fascinating organisms on several levels, whether off-world or earthly. Thanks again for your reviews. Cheers!

    • No prob at all; I had a great time reading both books, so it only seemed fair to leave reviews of them :).

      And yeah, I agree that symbionts are truly intriguing creatures. They’ve made for a lot of interesting science fiction, for sure.

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