Science fiction is all the rage lately. It’s interesting to me the different kind of stories and characters that could spring up from one genre. Some of us may not believe in Astrology, but we’re curious just the same to read about our horoscope in the daily newspaper. What if humanity was divided up into each astrological sign and people would live life based on the traits each sign represents? That’s where you get Romina Russell’s Zodiac.
It’s the first book of a series, which meshes science fiction with high fantasy. The story follows Rhoma Grace (friends and family call her Rho for short). She’s from House Cancer. 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 her new role. 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 seek 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.
The general story had a nice twist. I liked the use of the Zodiac. In the beginning, the pacing was bearable, but I felt like there was too much of an information dump. Even a few times throughout the novel, there were a few more information dumps and they just seemed to go over my head. I didn’t quite understand the narrator’s explanation of the world’s politics and history. Rho and her crew travel from planet to planet, trying to rally support and warn the other leaders of the danger that is coming. The process seemed to drag on and on. Most of the time, you’re left reading about the journey there rather than hearing much about the planets themselves. I wish the transitions were a little faster and to the point. Also, I felt like not enough happened. I had this odd feeling that the author held back a lot from readers. I just hope this novel sets up the next books. As a reader, it can be frustrating when information is held back for too long.
I had hoped to like Rho, but she came across too whiney. Maybe it’s her lack of experience in the world or maybe she felt overwhelmed about her new responsibilities. And of course, there was the cliché love triangle. She has her choice of Mathias, her guard, or Hysan, secret leader of House Libra. Sometimes, love triangles work for the story and sometimes I just feel bored about them. It’s the tug of war effect, the going back and forward between two guys, that make me roll my eyes or want to shout: “Just pick one already!” Seriously, think about it: How many times have two guys fought over you?
The young men are total opposites. Mathias is the quiet one. He seems strong and protective. Meanwhile, Hysan is the happy-go-lucky type, very sweet and confident. I’m a bit surprised which one Rho chooses. My favourite characters in Zodiac were the boys—Mathias and Hysan. They balanced each other nicely. And sort of, but not really, surprised that one of them dies. My guess is he’ll be back in the next book. He played a pretty big part in book one. And early deaths usually mean a resurrection of some kind.
This novel does have its entertaining moments, but I wish my reading journey hadn’t been so bumpy. I’d like to give the second book a try. It’ll probably make or break my decision to continue this series.
A fun part of the novel was discovering the kind of people and planet I’d belong to if I was a part of this world. Interested in finding out what your zodiac says about you? Visit: zodiacbooks.com. All you have to do is click on your symbol and read up!
*Disclosure: An advance reading copy was provided from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions within this review are solely my own, not that of the publisher or the author.