Zodiac by Romina Russell

Zodiac by Romina Russell

Zodiac by Romina Russell
Publisher: Penguin / Razorbill
Genre: YA, Science Fiction
Length: Full (336 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rated: 3 stars
Review by Lupine

At the dawn of time, there were 13 Houses in the Zodiac Galaxy. Now only 12 remain….

Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories.

When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancrian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts.

Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians.

But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?

This book takes place in another galaxy where the signs of the horoscope are planets. Cancer, Taurus, Gemini, etc. It’s a neat premise that I looked forward to reading about. And, holy wow, the cover was amazing.

I really liked the way the universe was described and I appreciated the way the author made this galaxy come alive. That was wonderfully executed and I couldn’t love it more.

​What I wish had been different was that more time was spent on the real threat and not the gallivanting the lead character, Rhoma Grace, did telling people who won’t believe a word that comes from her mouth about this great evil that only SHE can see and that she can’t prove.

I did like Rho most of the time–she showed a considerable amount of responsibility in stepping up to taking care of her planet, but the rest of the time she was stuck in the YA required love triangle (my least favorite plot device ever), pining over two men or wallowing in a puddle of self pity and tears. The only reason I didn’t get disgusted with that was because she actually had a reason to be upset, and I understood why she was crying and feeling pain. The fact that the author gave her a viable reason to cry was refreshing from the whiny heroines who can’t go five pages without breaking into tears.

The big problem with Rho is that she has no depth. I wish the author had spent as much time creating a three-dimensional heroine as she did on the world-building, which was incredible. Rho is very two-dimensional and identifies solely through her Cancerian blood. Period. No exceptions. That is it. She has no traits outside Cancerian ones, and I find that hard to believe (consider that the horoscope for humans includes other signs in various aspects which affects overall behavior… no two people are exactly alike, despite identical sun signs). The fact that she lacked an emotional depth made it difficult for me to feel attached or to sympathize with her.

There are also multiple times in the book where an idea or a new concept is addressed and there really is no explanation and you’re left scratching your head. I think that these ideas have great potential if developed properly, but as they way they are it’s difficult to understand. Also, after pages and pages of world-building and a slow build to the big conflict … BAM, it’s over.

I’m hoping very much that the next book will be stronger, since the need to world-build will be lessened and the author can focus more on the plot and characters. I saw so much potential here and that’s what was most frustrating…the “what might have been.”

​Still, it’s a worthwhile beginning to a series with great potential. I’ll definitely pick up the next book to find out what happens.

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