Zenn Scarlet is the first in what will be a series of books. This is important to know as you pick up the book. The book was very slow for most of the book. It is the story of Zenn Scarlet, who is a novice in the apparently quasi-religious Ciscan order of exo-vets. My problem with the story at first was that it was just the story of Zenn Scarlet, novice exo-vet.
She is in the midst of her tests to move on to the next stage of her schooling, but she is distracted. She is distracted by a boy from town, by a strange connection to the animals she is treating, by the threats to her beloved home, by the absence of word from her father. All this is understandable, Zenn is a young girl. What I had a harder time understanding was the arbitrary nature of the tests. They are essential to the plot, but I had a hard time imagining that a novice would be tested in such a manner, especially since apparently there is no recourse to backing up and trying them again at a later date.
Late in the book some other things started showing up and the plot began to take off and by the end of the book I found I was enjoying the story. It was then that I learned that it was the first in a projected series. Once I learned that, the protracted introduction to Zenn and the other characters made some kind of sense. Unfortunately there is no indication on the cover or anywhere else that this is ‘Book One’. To be honest, if this weren’t a review book, I would have put it down well before it started getting interesting.
However, it did get interesting and the pay off was worth the patience necessary to reach the concluding pages of the book. I would recommend this book, with the caution that it will take some patience to get to the good part; yet that part is indeed good.