ARC Review: Zodiac

Series: Zodiac #1
Genre: YA Science Fiction 
Page Length:  336 Pages
Publication Date: December 9th, 2014
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: ARC via Publisher. Thanks Penguin! 

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.
First what are our signs?
Rachel: Aries
Dana: Capricorn

Rachel: After first having read the synopsis of this book, I was so eager to read it. It’s about space, how could I not be excited? The concept just sounded so fascinating and fun! I hoped it would be great, and it was just that.

Dana: When I saw the cover and the read the title for this book I was instantly intrigued. Sometime in YA, there are so many books that sound so similar. Zodiac was a whirlwind adventure that was even more fun to buddy read with Rachel.

The Concept:

Rachel: The concept of this book really shined through and made me enjoy Zodiac. The concepts and ideas imagined by the author were extraordinary. I was so caught up in it all. It was so innovative and so very fun and interesting.

Dana: Zodiac is fantastic in that it is using a concept everyone knows in a extraordinary way. Everyone knows their sign, but seeing it utilized in such a broad way was so interesting. Plus, it was a bit of a learning experience. I didn’t know that much about astrology, but the idea of this story has me really interested in it.

The Writing/Plot:

Rachel: Although a bit green, I thought the writing was quite good. There were twists and turns in the plot, lots of action; this book got progressively better and better! I felt Romina managed to pack a lot of content into her book without making it seem too long. The pacing was wonderful, and my attention was held throughout.

Dana: Zodiac is Romina Russell’s debut novel and the writing was really good. The book did get progressively better as Rachel said. There are some book that you need to get at least 50 pages in until you get hooked and this is one of those. I think the info dumping was my major problem with Russell’s writing, but I think that came from having such a unique world. I did find that the pacing was too fast at times; in the plot it was too much too fast.

The World-Building:

Rachel: Introducing an entirely new world is extremely difficult. Romina dumped quite a bit of information in the beginning of the book which, although necessary, made things a bit confusing. After the initial influx of information and setting the scene though, Romina spread more descriptions and introduced new ideas and elements throughout the book so it wasn’t overwhelming. I had a clear picture of everything that was going on, I could imagine the world. It’s pretty impressive how she managed this feat considering there is a lot of traveling around in space.

Dana: The world of Zodiac is the best part of this book, besides Hysan, and was incredibly unique. The combination of astrology and science fiction was fabulous. Romina Russell hasn’t just created and developed one world, but twelve with different culture, peoples, and technologies. In the beginning of the book, there was a lot of info dumping which did take away from my reading experience. It was distracting from reading when there were so many instances where Russell could have showed the reader rather than just telling. The technology of this galaxy is incredible and really interesting. I loved seeing how everything worked together. Russell’s political system was great too. I love some good political drama.

The Characters:

Rachel: I love how flawed these characters are. It makes them more realistic and endearing. I love how strong and tenacious Rho is. She sticks by what she believes is right even when everyone else doubts her. Hysan is AMAZING. He’s an eccentric and hilarious inventor. His thoughtfulness and sweetness knows no bounds. Mathias was also a well-developed character yet he was more stoic and reserved. I respected the guy, I just didn’t really care about him in comparison to the other two. The side characters had great personalities and depth.

Dana: Yes, I definitely agree with Rachel that the characters were incredibly flawed. You were able to see this in the tough choices they had to make. A huge part of this story was trust. Even with the characters you are rooting for you never know if you can fully trust them. Rho was is a great female heroine who is headstrong and determined. Hysan, the character you start off not trusting at all, was my favorite character in this book. I fell head over heels for him. Hysan is charming, intelligent and really sweet. Mathias was a great character as well and he too had his flaws. I just found him kind of annoyingly overbearing at times; this could be my attachment of Hysan shining through.

The Romance:

Rachel: So there’s a bit of a love triangle. I didn’t mind the love triangle since it wasn’t a main part of the book; it wasn’t even addressed until the end. Although with the ending we have, I’m not sure if it would be considered a love triangle anymore...

Dana: Yes, there is a bit of a triangle. Will it deter those of you who hate love triangles from enjoying this book? NO! Rachel and I are in love with Hysan and you probably will be too. It is one of those occurrences where there are two male characters that could potentially be it for Rho, but the plotline never really centers around the romance element of the story.

General Thoughts:

Rachel: Overall I really enjoyed Zodiac, and thought it was a great YA debut! I’d highly recommend this book if you’re in the mood for a fun book about space.

Dana: Zodiac was a really great book and I can’t wait to read the sequel. Seriously Romina, how could you do that to us and just end it?!? There aren’t many space adventures in YA and there needs to be more. I think anyone looking for a fun adventure novel filled with twists and turns will fly through this one.


  1. I really want to read this book. I wasn't sure at first, but after reading your review it sounds like I would really enjoy it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts =D ...oh and just in case your wondering, my sign is cancer.
    Monique @ Mo_Books

  2. Well, I was super intrigued about this one because the world sounded so interesting mixing astrology and turning it into science fiction!
    I'm glad to hear you both enjoyed it a lot, enough for 4 stars! And very happy to hear that the love triangle is not a big part of the story or much of a love triangle after all!
    Great review ladies! I'm gonna be adding this one to my wish list for sure!

  3. As for me, I was just attracted to the cover at first. But I haven't read anything with this concept so I am excited to get to it.

  4. I had some trouble connecting with this one and stopped reading, but now you've made me think I should give it another try!
    Jen @ YA Romantics

  5. I just started reading Zodiac. I've been seeing some mixed reviews but it sounds like you both really liked it. I'm glad to hear it gets better when you keep reading because it's pretty slow right now. Great review!
    Cassi @ My Thoughts Literally

  6. I just got this one in the mail last week and it sounds good but sci-fi isn't really my thing. Good to see you ladies enjoyed it :)

  7. First off I just wanted to say that I'm a Capricorn too! Hahaha! So glad you enjoyed this novel. My expectation on it went a little higher. I am always in doubt whenever I start reading a debut novel but I can feel that this is going to be an awesome read. I love a book with great world building. Honestly, I have never come across a bad review on this one. I'm really excited.

  8. Sci-fi, huh? I LOVE a bit of that. I was initially extremely excited for this one but then toned it down towards the end just because I thought my christmas brain (as in the one that has gone on early holiday) couldn't take it. Bleugh. But you ladies make it sound amazing! I'm super stoked that you two enjoyed it! I may have to give it a go (although perhaps in Jan when I'm not so delirious all the time hahaha). A love triangle that wasn't really one in the end? Hmmm I want to see this! Fantastic review, ladies! <3 x

  9. Oooh...great dual review girls! <3 It's a shame that there's a bit of info-dumping at the beginning as I like to experience my worlds gradually; but I suppose I can forgive that since a). its' a debut and b). it's the first novel in the series. And the concept does sound quite interesting - astrology and science fiction combined? Definitely a creative combination! Definitely going to consider giving this a try - thanks for sharing Rachel & Dana! <3

  10. Great dual review! I love how you guys did this review together! I'm so glad you both enjoyed it! I have a review copy as well that I hoping to get to next week! Thanks for an awesome review and for stopping by my TT @ Addicted Readers! :)

  11. I'm really not in the mood for sci-fi lately but I've been keeping an eye on this one. I love the whole zodiac concept and it sounds like the world building is really well done even if there's a bit of infodump which is common in this genre I find, but year it can def make reading feel overwhelming and confusing, too. Great review, ladies! Sounds like I need to give this one a try soon! :)

  12. I'm mad at myself for not reading this!! I should soon since i got my preorder!! :-)

  13. This is indeed intriguing! This is definitely a cover buy. The cover is so pretty! It's blue so how can it not be? :P After reading your reviews, I am more intrigued so it's added on the TBR. :)

  14. I love that the main character is a Cancer! I'm glad it stood up to the cool concept. I find that new authors often have slower beginnings. Love triangles aren't a sticking point for me, some of them are okay. I enjoyed your dual review! :)

  15. I've seen a few reviews popping up and it looks like a mixed bag of opinions, although after reading your review I see that many of the readers were possibly just having a problem with the inormation overload in the beginning because I have seen the word "confusing" used a lot. That is too bad because a story with a lot of set-up information usually turns be quite amazing. I have a lot on my reading plate this winter, but I will definitely keep Zodiac in mind.

  16. I have seen a ton of reviews for Zodiac, mostly positive, but I still have not read it. I think I would like to, and I think I might enjoy it. I am not sure why I haven't read it yet, but I think I should maybe try to make it happen already!


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