When you're studying to be exoveterinarian specializing in exotic, alien life forms, school... is a different kind of animal.
Zenn Scarlett is a resourceful, determined 17-year-old girl working hard to make it through her novice year of exovet training. That means she's learning to care for alien creatures that are mostly large, generally dangerous and profoundly fascinating. Zenn’s all-important end-of-term tests at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic on Mars are coming up, and, she's feeling confident of acing the exams. But when a series of inexplicable animal escapes and other disturbing events hit the school, Zenn finds herself being blamed for the problems. As if this isn't enough to deal with, her absent father has abruptly stopped communicating with her; Liam Tucker, a local towner boy, is acting unusually, annoyingly friendly; and, strangest of all: Zenn is worried she's started sharing the thoughts of the creatures around her. Which is impossible, of course. Nonetheless, she can't deny what she's feeling.
Now, with the help of Liam and Hamish, an eight-foot sentient insectoid also training at the clinic, Zenn must learn what's happened to her father, solve the mystery of who, if anyone, is sabotaging the cloister, and determine if she's actually sensing the consciousness of her alien patients... or just losing her mind. All without failing her novice year...
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Ok. First and foremost, I want to say Wow. Just Wow. That was unlike anything I have read before- in a good way. An very very good way.
I love the fresh/original storyline. Zenn is a fascinating character with a huge heart for the alien animals her family cares for within the cloister. And I have to say I love all the creatures that were introduced to me in this book. You really have to exercise your imagination to picture the extra-terrestrial patients being described in the text. Every time a new animal came up, I found myself concentrating and creating an image of the animals in my mind. And believe me, I was not disappointed. It seems a lot of thought has been put into both the functions and backgrounds of the fore-mentioned animals. Interesting, very interesting. (: And Zenn is such a cute character- so careful and thinking through everything. She can be too hard on herself sometimes, but she is learning!
Now, I had not heard anything about this being the start of a series, but when I was about 80% through the book, I started panicking thinking this book could not possibly be properly ended in the amount of pages I had left. Now, I have still not heard anything about it being a series, but it cannot possibly end like that. There is no way on Earth (or Mars.. haha.. get it?) that this man could end that amazing book where he ended it and not have a sequel planned. That would be just downright cruel. And what a place to end it. I am equal parts angry and impressed with the ending. Ok, and I am a little bit worried. Not gonna spoil it, but whew. That is a lot of information to take in... And I cannot wait to see what happens to Zenn and her friends next! This book seems to be the start or a wonderful series.
My Favorite characters
Zenn- Loved her. Hardworking girl struggling to balance her academic and personal life training to be an Exo-Vet on Mars. Wouldn't you be a little stressed, too?
Hamish- I love him. He is such an original and endearing character. (:
Katie- oh. my. gosh. I love Katie. I would absolutely love to have one of her. She is just so marvelous! and she has her own precious, endearing personality as well.
Those were by no means all of the main characters, but they are my three favorites! I decided to stick with three, so I would be less inclined to gush and therefore, less inclined to accidentally spoil it. ;)
All in All?
An original read with adventure, mystery, aliens (yay!), amazing creatures, a whole lot of Biological terms (some real, some made up), an interesting new world, friendship, fantasy, and.... do I detect a hint of romance?