Two Minute Review: Zodiac by Romina Russell

Friday, November 21, 2014
Title: Zodiac
Author: Romina Russell
Genre: science fiction, young adult
Series: Zodiac #1
Pages: 336
Published: expected December 9 2014
Source: Book Expo America
Rating: 3/5

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?

There are admittedly some strong elements at play here that almost make the story work, but others (the eyeroll-worthy love triangle, the unnecessary division of society into a Divergent/faction-like set up for astrological signs) just detract from the good that Zodiac has to offer.

I mean, it's okay. It's entertaining for a day's read. It's definitely not bad, but it could be better, more original. The writing is serviceable, Rho is an interesting MC who learns and changes over the course of the novel...but so much of Zodiac rests on its premise.. which is threadbare. The world-building is minimal for each House and the Zodiac galaxy as a whole. Zodiac and its characters spend more time focused on identifying traits of each House and making up vocabularies/technologies with little explanation than in taking time to flesh out the world/galaxies/planets.

Also, if anything, this is scifi lite. Scifi-ish, maybe. And it's even less fantasy than scifi. 



  1. hrm I have this to read and I've seen very mixed things so far. I'm a tad nervous to be honest. I hope I find it enjoyable at least. Great review!

  2. I love the premise and description so I'm bummed it doesn't quite live up to that! Hope she fleshes out the world building in the sequel maybe. I still want to read it because it sounds fun and I love the cover, but eye-rolling love triangles are the worst. So is made-up vocab for the sake of made-up vocab.


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