zodiac book coverReviewed by Sarah Lelonek

I’ve always wanted to know more about astrology and horoscopes–not because I believe in star signs, but because I thought the subject to be interesting. Romina Russell’s Zodiac takes astrology to a whole new level by basing an entire civilization off of star signs and constellations. And she does a pretty darn good job at doing so, I might add.

Zodiac takes place in the distant future where humanity has left our solar system and earth for reasons long forgotten and now lives in the Houses of the Zodiac. The story centers on Rhoma Grace, a 16-year-old student from House Cancer. Rho’s past is littered with memories of her mother, who vanished when Rho was a child, and her mother’s persistence that Rho knew everything there was to know about how to read the stars and the future they could predict. When a series of unfortunate events unfurls during what were supposed to be Rho’s last few days at her academy, she suddenly finds herself with a lot of responsibility and not a lot of respect or knowledge of how to handle the situations she finds herself in.

The story is pretty decent for young adult literature. It’s nothing too out of the ordinary, but I do think that Russell’s ability to create an entire civilization with its own rules, governing bodies, social practices, and special powers is quite impressive. I was a little overwhelmed by all the foreign terminology at the beginning of the novel. I felt like every sentence had a new concept I had to try to remember. This feeling didn’t last long, and within 50 pages, I found myself immersed in a world ruled by the star signs. I do wish for there to be a little more creativity with the characters and story, though. There is real potential with Russell’s writing, but I feel like some of her skill is left on the table when she falls into some of the more common YA lit clichés.

All-in-all, I was impressed with the sci-fi aspect of Zodiac. While I would probably take a little more time to ease the reader into a whole new world of high-tech gadgets and space-travel, reading about new planets and special abilities was interesting. I also thought that Russell’s take on astrology was well-developed and entertaining. I think that this book definitely deserves a sequel, which is something that I can’t say for a lot of young adult books these days. I would recommend this novel to lovers of sci-fi with a fantasy twist.

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Sarah Emily Lelonek has a BA in English Literature from Kent State University. She is currently enrolled at Tiffin University in their Master’s of Education program. She enjoys traveling and gaming while on breaks from working on her novel.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Razorbill. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.