- Book: Zodiac
- Author: Romina Russel
- Genre: YA Science Fiction w/ Romance
- Number of Books in Series: 2 Published
- Publisher: Razorbill
- Published Date: December 9, 2014
- Number of Pages: 338
- ISBN-10: 1595147403
- ISBN-13: 9781595147400
So Zodiac by Romina Russell. Let me begin by stating this book did in fact, exceed my expectation. The problem is, upon the first few pages, I began to expect so little.
The first of a trilogy, Zodiac is set in a future universe in which each current Zodiac constellation is assigned a planet. Settled via wormhole from Earth refugees, everyone is assigned a characteristic based on one’s birth planet, (Libra is based on justice, Gemini hosts the most imaginative, Virgo is known for sustenance, etc.) The plot revolves around sixteen year old Rhoma (I wonder where the author got that name from) who is appointed Guardian of her home planet, Cancer, after its two moons mysteriously explode, setting off a chain reaction of planet wide death and tsunamis on the water based planet. Inexperienced, under educated but with a natural “gift,” she sees in the stars the moon disaster was caused by a single ancient entity, so lost in history, he is the equivalent of the boogeyman. Along with her guide, Mathias Thais and Libran diplomatic envoy Hasan Dax, she travels to four other plants, to warn of the impending danger to the whole Zodiac system.
While it sounds like this book has a lot going on and should be lauded as a herald of new YA science fiction, it falls ludicrously flat and into many of the traps YA nowadays, fall hilariously into. Love triangle with older, impossibly handsome men? Check. A young girl with no considerable talent plucked from obscurity and continually informed of how special she is? Check. Lack of development in the conclusion to ramp up the sequel? Checkeroo. If there is a YA cliché, it is in this book.
While I generally do not mind cliché’s, part of why I enjoy this genre so much, I felt as though I was hit with too many “borrowed ideas,” paired with average writing. For example, the 12 planet settlement idea could be attributed to television’s Battlestar Galactica where humans are similarly spread on 12 different, Zodiac- based planets with specific planets characterizing an individual’s character. The beginning was exceptionally slow without enough descriptions or explanations of this vastly different and exceptional world where star reading, telepathy and psychics are common place. Another example, Rho, often in the book, practices “Yarrot,” a practice tied to her long lost mother mentioned often. Aside from the emotional ties, this was literally never described or explained—you eventually understand it as some form of yoga.
Overall, this book disappointed. I am not sure I will be reading the second one but I long for some originality in YA. Something different than the Twilights and Red Queens. Unfortunately, I tend to see women writers make this mistake the most often these days and I look forward to the author who does it different.
~ Lima Bhuiyan
Fellow book reader and blogger – Check out her blog at Two Girls, Many Books
*The above post was written as a guest post by Lima Bhuiyan.*
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