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Zarya: Last hope for her parents and Cydnus

In Jackiem Joyner’s debut novel, Zarya, he takes us on a wild journey through the mythical planet of Cydnus. In the first chapters of the book, there is a heavy focus on the parents of the main character, Zarya, as we are taken through the events right before their mysterious disappearance.

However, later on, the author shifts gears to primarily focus on the main character and her journey through life. As a strong female lead, she exudes brilliance and the unrelenting resistance to hide it, something quite against the norms of the time.

She is portrayed as a confident woman, unhindered by the status quo, and possessing courage that makes her willing to go to extreme lengths to find her parents. Together with her best friend Kizzy, and acquaintance Marco, she embarks on a quest filled with curveballs, tons of action, and unexpected camaraderie.

For a book set in a land that doesn’t value its women, it is interesting that the author includes a lot of strong female characters, all of whom are very keen on making Cydnus a better place. And the few male characters in the book are mostly either evil or rather subdued. It almost seems like the women are fighting against an ill-functioning patriarchal system.

If there is one theme that clearly stands out throughout this book though, it is the importance of family; both chosen and blood bound. But at the heart of it, this book is about the old age fight between good and evil. As such, it contains several scenarios that force characters to choose between what is right and what is easy.

Predictably, the protagonist has a righteous egalitarian vibe to her while the villain seems to be purely evil. In this regard, I feel like more could be done in terms of character development to add more depth to them. I would have loved to see different sides of the characters to make them more realistic.

For instance, it would have been helpful to learn more about how Zarya coped with the absence of her parents in her early childhood and how this affected her behavior. This would have made her plight much more relatable.

However, the plot is solid and is full of detailed and engaging action scenes. Also, the dialogue is quite entertaining and there are no signs of long-winded paragraphs. All things considered, this book is very fast-paced and easy to read. As such, it leaves me yearning to read the sequel. For its ability to enthrall me as a reader, I heartily recommend this book.

Pages: 361 | ASIN: B01J6OXCQY

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