The Children’s Book Review | March 31, 2015
Age Range: 14 and up
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Razorbill Books
What to expect: Stars, Zodiac, Astrology, Fantasy, Dystopia, Science Fiction
Rho Grace considers herself a typical sixteen-year-old Cancerian. While she may have a way with reading the stars, she still can’t make accurate predictions using her Astralator, which infuriates her professors at the Academy. But while Rho may choose to find the stories in the sky, rather than seek out predictions, no one can foresee the danger a legend as old as time will unleash across the galaxy.
The story of Ochus, the banished thirteenth Guardian of Zodiac legend is known across the galaxy, but viewed as little more than a children’s tale, a harmless myth. But then a series of devastating, seemingly natural disasters spreads chaos throughout the Zodiac planets, including Rho’s beloved home planet, killing thousands of its citizens, including Mother Origene, the Guardian of Cancer. Rho refuses to believe that such destruction is accident, especially when her readings of the stars foretold otherwise. Rho is determined to travel across the galaxy to warn the other Guardians before it’s too late, but in a galaxy defined by difference and leery of trust, how can Rho convince everyone to see the truth behind a story she so fervently believes in, especially when she struggles to believe in herself as the youngest new Guardian of Cancer?
Romina Russell’s debut novel is a dystopia of astronomical proportions, and while many popular YA series can appear inflated and convoluted, Zodiac is a read you’ll want to spend time with. The journey Russell takes the reader on is necessary, the reinventing and adaption of the classic Zodiac signs creative and thorough; this is sci-fi meets fantasy with a whole lot of pizazz. There are no loopholes (or worm holes) for the reader to fall into, allowing the reader to follow Rho across the galaxy at warp-speed, swept away by her passion and urgency. There’s real, tangible heartache, adventure and wisdom woven into a unique and refreshing take on a galaxy where destruction rules. It’s not quite a dystopia: it’s far more than that, and Russell’s done a tremendous job of keeping true to good writing, writing genuinely, rather than from a market’s over-saturated angle. Russell’s novel is complex without being confusing, the detail and imagination of her world – worlds, even – astounding.
Readers looking for tension, angst, fantastical myths, well-rounded characters, and a very human tale of survival will delight in this quick and engrossing page-turner of a story, sure to inspire the inner-Zodiac in everyone. We foresee a dedicated following.
About the Author
Romina Russell 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 the ZODIAC series, 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.
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Zodiac, by Romina Rissel, was reviewed by Charlie Kennedy. Follow along with our book reviews and articles tagged with Dystopian, Romina Russell, Science Fiction, YA Books, Young Adult Fiction, and our Young Adult Books category to discover more great novels.
I know when I come here I can find great reads, my oldest will love this one! I am also looking for one for my youngest, I recently got her the Horse Valley Adventure Series by Liana Allen, lmabooks.com. She loves it, so if anyone needs a rec for younger kiddos take a look at her books!