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. – Goodreads.com
When I was in junior high, my friends and I were all caught up in the Zodiac signs and their meanings, so when the Penguin First to Read program offered me this book, I thought it would be fun to do a little reminiscing and the story itself sounded quite interesting.
I had some definite likes and dislikes with this book. We’ll start with the likes:
The world-building was amazing. At first, I had a difficult time getting into the world-building because it wasn’t just one world, it was twelve, each with their own terminology and culture. After my initial struggle, I was fascinated by the author’s imagination.
I liked the importance Rho placed on family, friends, and community and her belief in unity of the signs, not separation. Throughout the book, there’s an element of mystery. Someone is a traitor and, although I have my suspicions who that may be, it was still unclear at the end.
If a love triangle is required, Hysan and Mathias were good choices. Both are strong, good-hearted characters and I liked them more than Rho, for reasons stated below.
Something I didn’t enjoy was the whiplash Rho’s character gave me. One minute she’s in the guardian mindset, concerned about the destruction in her world and the danger to others. The next, her world revolved around her feelings for Hysan and Mathias and the strength of those feelings seemed directly proportional to who she was with at the time. I lost respect for her character over the way she handled those relationships.
Zodiac offered action, suspense, and romance, and I’d like to see where the story goes from here, but at times, the romance overshadowed everything else, leaving the reader with a female protagonist who needed to be rescued.