Review: Zodiac (Zodiac #1) by Romina Russell

Suspenseful, unique world, and astrology. What more could we ask for? A love triangle? Rating: 4.5/5

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 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?

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.

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I really, really enjoyed this book. It had a lot of the aspects that draw me in to begin with, but it could have gone south at quite a few different parts and Romina Russell did an amazing job at artfully pulling everything together. For one, I fucking love astrology. I really loved how interesting this world was, with each of the 12 zodiac houses living separately on their own planets. They each were in charge of one thing that helped the entire galaxy run, and they each had certain characteristics that made them wholly *their sign*. In this way, it reminded me of the Divergent series. Just in that, each part was so different from the other parts, but together they were well-rounded. There was a brief mention about “risers” which were Zodais that did not align with their zodiac sign, and this reminded me of Rising Signs in actual astrology which I loved. I think this is going to play a bigger part in the upcoming books, and I can’t wait to see how that turns out.

It also had a love triangle, which I usually fucking hate. Except, this one. There was something about the will-they-won’t-they between Mathias and Rho was adorable, and I liked how there was a *reason* for their back and forth. I feel like in some series a love triangle is done just to exist, and in this case it was a series of unfortunate events that you could see them both rationalizing their pulling away from each other through. With Hysan and Rho, it’s one of those relationships that you want to root for them, but you feel like you’re being disloyal to Mathias by doing so. It was a love triangle that felt more realistic than forced. I am a naturally cynical and distrustful person, so there’s a part of me that loves Hysan, and also feels like he’s definitely up to something and might even be the series big bad. So, I’m intrigued to see what comes next. Ya know, without giving any spoilers. I have a sneaking suspicion that this triangle is going to remain a triangle for a while is all I’m going to say.

I genuinely gasped at several parts of this book, especially toward the end. I grew to love so many of the characters, and I can count on one hand how many times this has happened to me with a series. Where not just the main characters, but even the side characters draw such an intense reaction from me as things start to happen. I want to keep this review spoiler free, so all I will say on that is Charon from House Scorpio is an asshole and if Rho weren’t a Cancer I would have expected her to fight back harder at him.

While I really loved the story, there were some things that are holding it back from a perfect 5 star review. While I did enjoy that the story kicked into gear pretty quickly, there are some new and unnatural elements being explored here and I feel we could have used a little more backstory. How exactly does the Ephemeris work? Why is Psynergy so powerful? When things don’t exist outside the book’s world, it’s hard for me as a reader to buy into it when I don’t understand it fully. I’m hoping that as I read the rest of the books, we’ll learn a little bit more about how everything works. There was also a lot of loss in this story, and I wish we had a little bit more time to process everything. There was also a scene at the end of the series in which Rho thought *someone* was still alive, and then someone tells her that person is dead, and then two seconds later that *someone* calls her so they are alive. I was like… this is redundant lol. It was an unnecessary and super temporary moment that didn’t need to be there. So I just hope that its tied together more next book and I’m like OH THAT’S WHY. But other than these little things, it really was an amazing book and I can’t wait to read more.


4.5/5 - four and a half book review

About The Author:

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.

Connect With Romina: Website | Goodreads | Twitter

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