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Zodiac Hardcover – December 9, 2014
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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"ZODIAC is a thrilling YA fantasy for astrology lovers and sci-fi fans alike... You'll want to learn even more about your own sign after this one.” —Teen Vogue
"With a stellar cast, fascinating mythology, and unexpected twists and turns, ZODIAC is a must read. I am a fan!" —Morgan Rhodes, New York Times bestselling author of the Falling Kingdoms series
"Russell's debut novel is rich with details of a society that is equal parts hard science and free-flowing faith, making it a great read for fans of both epic fantasy and sf. Fans of the immersive world of Zodiac will be happy to know that this is just the first in a series." —Booklist
"Russell's narrative mixes intrigue, romance, and adventure, and a constant underlying tension drives Rho and her allies from one planet to the next." —Publishers Weekly
"The worldbuilding is a science fiction delight, with tons of details about space and science...Recommend this to sci-fi and adventure lovers. It has a bit of something for everyone." —VOYA
"A sci-fi refreshing for both its nondystopian plot and fallible heroine." —Kirkus
About the Author
New York Times bestselling author Romina Russell originally hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina and currently resides in Los Angeles, CA. 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. She is a graduate of Harvard College and a Virgo to the core. Follow her on Twitter @RominaRussell and visit zodiacbooks.com for more information about the series and your horoscope!
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Rho has been taught to, "trust only what you can touch" , but also "trust your fears." The theme of Zodiac is a now familiar one. A young girl of somewhat renegade policies has been found to have the very skills and gifts to rise as the heroine of her people. The men vying for her attention somewhat embody these two maxims for me, but see what you think. Rho is a young student who is learning to become a reader of the stars. Her mother had taught her, "believing in them will keep you safe." Her mother had trained her rigorously to read the music of the stars before she herself disappeared. Rho is a member of the Cancer House of the Zodiac, and after perceiving a threat of dark matter to their home on Saturn and its moons, she is found to have deep gifts of intuition. Her attempts to save their world, one that evolved long eons after leaving Earth's collapse, are the plot of this and presumably future novels.
From this brief description, one can easily discover the YA novel in its cradle. But what makes this book different is the world building. The concept feels fresh, with the houses of zodiac in fact inhabited by its people. The science of the Psy Network is slightly recognizable in our concept of ESP, but is developed at further length. The author uses a satisfying blend of the known and the fantasy to concoct a futuristic vision that is unfortunately dystopian. I enjoy the characters, and Rho is especially compelling. The prose moves at a perfect pace that neither rushes the reader nor bogs one down in too many details. For your future edification, I choose the steady guy.
I am looking forward to the next installment from this new writer.
Author: Romina Russell
Publisher: Razorbill, 2014 (December 9)
Genre: YA Science Fiction
I am part of an exciting readathon for the Zodiac series, and though I’ve owned the first book for its gorgeous cover and its riveting synopsis, I had never gotten around to reading it.
I mean seriously, look at this COVER!!
So I jumped at the chance to read along and read book one, Zodiac, and it was good. So good.
I love anything Astrological. I know I’m a Pisces, and I’ve known this for awhile. I’m the epitome of one. Cancer is a water sign, so I got along with the protagonist quite easily.
Rhoma Grace, an Acholyte from House Cancer, is a sixteen year old student and a drummer. Her biggest fears are her tests coming up to become a Zodai. The university’s best-ranked graduates get invited to join the Order of the Zodai, our galaxy’s peacekeepers. The best of the best are recruited into the Guardian’s Royal Guard, the Zodai’s highest honor.
And Rho doesn’t feel like the best of the best, but before her mom left, she drilled Rho full of information about the other Zodiac houses and had her practice reading the Stars. When a concert is interrupted buy an explosion on her planet, the current Guardian of her house is killed. Rho turns to the Stars for answers, and instead of finding them, she just finds more questions.
She finds the Zodiac’s biggest boogeyman and legend actually exists. And he almost kills her when he finds out she can see him.
When the other Zodai learn of her abilities, Rho is made the new Guardian of Cancer. She’s now Holy Mother of the entire Cancrian people.
However, despite having the power and the title, no one will listen to Rho: the boogeyman, Ochus, has intentions of destroying the whole Zodiac, and though only 12 houses (all the astrological signs we know) are all that exist, there is a Thirteenth House, and it’s out for destruction.
While Rho deals with trying to convince every planet in danger of attack that Ochus exists, she meets Hysan, an ambassador from Libra, who believes her instantly. It puts her mind at ease but also frustrates her when her crush and new partner, Mathias, thinks she’s mistaken. Rho’ heart is torn between the Zodai protecting her and the charismatic Libran who aims to please.
When Rho goes on an intergalactic mission to try and warn the Zodiac, Ochus seems to always be a threat…but how can a sixteen year old newly appointed Guardian convince all twelve houses that the legend, the monster under the bed, the “Thirteenth” house, is REAL?
Is It Classroom-Approriate?
Actually, yes. I found this book to be a breath of fresh air after all the other books not suitable for the classroom. The intricate Zodiac system is quite interesting, and all the virtues that one house represents are all virtues we have inside. Discussions on personal astrological signs could be discussed and turned into fun projects for each student to learn more themselves; they could find the virtues that they agree with and the virtues they don’t…they also could find how we are all a little bit of every sign if we really look at ourselves. Reading horoscopes in class can open dialogues or they could write their own predictions for the other signs.
The most engaging aspect is the science. Conversations about time and space are completely easy to tie in with Russell’s book. I would say it would be productive for all high school levels to use this book, and even though it’s part of a series, it ends at an interesting point of the story that would open up more speculation (not going to reveal those spoilers, though!)
Btw, I give Zodiac ★★★★☆ for classroom use! See all the possibilities?
Use it! Just be creative with it and have fun! I would have given it five but it’s not exactly a lesson plan that’s easy to fit into the curriculum, so you have to find a way to make it work. Science classes would benefit as well as literature classes: you could do a shared Unit!
I feel Zodiac is appropriate for any age – I didn’t see it on Lexile.com, so I would recommend 13 and up…there’s a lot of complicated information about space and the houses so it’s probably best for an advanced or avid reader. However, there was noting inappropriate that I could find, and you know I try to err on the side of caution.
I give Zodiac ★★★★★! I loved it. Then again, I’m a big science fiction reader. I also love the Astrological aspect. I leaned a lot about the different signs, which I love. And of course only wish the main character’s house was Pisces! I can’t wait to read the next installment, Wandering Star.