Thursday, April 23, 2015

(Spoilers!) Book Review: Zodiac (Zodiac #1) by Romina Russell

Book Series: Zodiac, Book #1
Author: Romina Russell (Twitter)
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Mythology, Astrology
Format: Hardcover (Amazon)
Length: 336 pages
Release Date: December 9, 2014
Reading Challenges: 2015 Goodreads Challenge
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.

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?

Embark on a dazzling journey with ZODIAC, the first novel in an epic sci-fi-meets-high-fantasy series set in a galaxy inspired by the astrological signs.

FIRST IMPRESSION:: I immediately latched on to the idea of this book. I have always loved stargazing and have been into astrology, as my personality does go along with the identity of my star sign, Aquarius. So after the gorgeous cover caught my attention and I read the synopsis, I was very eager to read this.

THE STORY::  Overall, I am really torn when it comes to how I felt about this book. The world building is pretty outstanding. I love the whole concept of the Zodiac as a galaxy, and each constellation represented a sign, or House, containing its own planets and unique economy, topography, mythology and so on. I also loved Each house was unique, and its people had their own principles and beliefs, physical characteristics and a common thread among their personalities that coordinated with the Zodiac sign. That said, that's a lot of information. Because we haven't even gotten into the intricacies of each house, it's guardians, reading the starts, the Zodai and the guardians... which is part of the problem.

This book hit me quick with information overload. While I love everything about the world it was just too much, too fast. For each of the twelve houses, all read the stars but with with the aid of a tool that has a different name and appearance per house; each guardian ran the country in different ways, each house called their Zodai something unique, and so on. That's already 48 things I have to remember and there's still characters, planets, moons, cities. I mean, damn. I don't want to complain, but it was just a lot. I forgot what a lot of the things were but just read on.

However, the element liked least was the main character, Rho. She was erratic, stubborn and wishy-washy. And although I liked the plot, I did not like the direction the book took because it was all from Rho's perspective. Here comes the really ranty part. Everyone gave her excellent advice and the ones who were critical of her were not 100% short sided because she was running around like chicken little screaming the sky is falling. Didn't really help her that her perceived enemy was invisible and the worlds manta was "trust only what you can see." The only person she actually listened to was the one continuously stroking her ego and encouraging her to go with her gut, not slow down and ignore caution. Come on, Rhoma, there's got to be some warning bells going off in your head. I supposed Mathias' death will be a learning experience or something. But yeah, still pissed because he was my favorite character and love interest.

Why didn't she go with her gut in this instance and stick with Mathias? She was too quick to jump into bed with Hysan. Even if his feelings are genuine, for a girl harboring a long-standing crush on someone who was still within reach and who never held much interest in boys, it was weird choice. I guess is was an impulse to feel something good after losing so much, which would make this yet another erratic decision from Rho.

When it came to Mathias and Rho, I really liked there relationship. It was growing as developing; they were learning how to deal with each other. I liked that Mathias was older and even more so, knew about Rho's feeling and shut them down. At this point in their situation as Guardian and Guide, it wasn't appropriate to think about. So, you could imagine how disappointed I was when he professed his love (and especially as they ended up being his last words to her). If anything, I'd want them to end up together in book 2 or 3. I'm peeved he's dead...

I don't trust Hysan. Something about him is hinky. He's some master mechanic/inventor, which is suspicious since that's not a Libran trait. He's doing the Wizard of Oz smoke and mirrors trick, using an android to do the leading while he schmoozes the galaxy. Librans are all about charisma and charm... though they're also about fairness?? Hm. Plus Mathias never trusted him and his distrust was never really about jealousy. My theory; I'm with Mathias -- Hysan is a baddie.

I've ranted enough, so I'm stopping here. Not well summed up very well? Well, neither are my feelings. Despite all this, I plan to finish this series. With intricate world building, great secondary characters and awesome mythology, there's no reason not to. Here's hoping Rho gets a clue. Since the end of the book is pretty much had a "yeah, I effed up a lot" tone, my hopes are high.

FINAL THOUGHTS:: I love the website, I was kind of bothered when I got a new star sign (I'm an Aquarius), until I learned that Capricorn's sole planet is one big-ass library. Sign me up!

                                              Zodiac (Zodiac Series #1)  Zodiac (Zodiac Series #1)

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