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 Cancerian 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?
The old adage about not judging a book by their covers must be a bane to cover designers everywhere. I can readily admit that sometimes I will pick up a book just because of a clever title or a beautifully designed cover. I am constantly checking the bookstagram and booklr tags on social media and Zodiac came up a surprising amount. The cover I received on the hardback version was designed by Vanessa Han, a cover designer and self proclaimed bunny mother. After seeing everyone’s different shelfies and their reviews of Zodiac as romantic and girl-power, I decided to give it a go.
Since becoming a part of this group of people who review books for the sheer love of reading and prospect of getting a good book out of it, my books have varied from disaster, to incredibly well done. Zodiac was interesting, entertaining, and well written; A real success and a good read. The amount of sheer world building and to an extreme, universe building, author Romina Russell has created a book that has left me wanting not only a sequel but also a prequel. Though we are given little bits and pieces of the histories of these people, there seems to be other parts that are missing. I want to know about those first peoples. I want to know about the first struggles after coming through, the terra-forming and the first war. I NEED these details!
I enjoyed the Human Expansion story with the twist of the Astrology race idea. Typically I don’t hold much store in the idea of astrology, but if it brings comfort to people and helps them explain their lives, who am I to say otherwise? While it had a bit of a Divergent feel with the people split up by their defining characteristics, I do like the idea that there are people who don’t fit into these boxes and they can change houses. The Astrology twist also gave the story something that each reader could connect with and I think that is an extremely creative way to draw in your audience. By introducing certain houses throughout the story, it kept you reading so that you could find out what your own personal house was about and to see if you would have fit in or been a Riser.
Even with the common tropes and themes, such as The Chosen One, The Hero Secret Service, the Hope Bringer and the ever popular Love Triangle, I enjoyed this book and Russell’s attention and overabundance of details that really fleshed out the story. This is supposed to be the beginning of a trilogy, but I would not be surprised and a little disappointed if there weren’t side novellas and at least one prequel. I would recommend Zodiac for Young Adult series readers, and anyone who likes a good magical space adventure.
Author’s bio: Romina Russell (aka Romina Garber) is a Los Angeles based author who originally hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina. As a teen, Romina landed her first writing gig—College She Wrote, a weekly Sunday column for the Miami Herald that was later picked up for national syndication—and she hasn’t stopped writing since. When she’s not working on ZODIAC, Romina can be found producing movie trailers, taking photographs, or daydreaming about buying a new drum set. She is a graduate of Harvard College and a Virgo to the core.
Freelance Editor & Reviewer