I initially added this book to my Goodreads to-read shelf back in 2015 because I am a sucker for horoscopes and pretty covers – come on, look at that cover! Fun fact: I’m also a Cancer so that is another brownie point for this book. Due to a multitude of factors however (like trying to graduate, find a job, adult things, etc.), it kinda got pushed to the backburner until a few weeks ago.
I had to drop off my phone at the Apple store to get the battery replaced, and I didn’t even realize how dependant I had become on my phone until I was like “what am I going to do for two whole hours without my phone?” Luckily, I was close to the Prudential, so I decided there was no better time to go to Barnes and Noble, sit down with a cup of coffee, and just read a book without interruption for two hours. I was looking for an easy read, so I decided to pick up Zodiac (again, the cover!), and before I knew it, my two hours were up and I was heading to the cashier to pay for the book so I could finish it at home.
It’s not a deep book, but it is a fun read if you allow yourself to be immersed into the setting and the story. I personally had a lot of fun thinking about which House I would belong to if I was living in that world.
Things I liked:
- The world building ~ Like I mentioned earlier, I love reading about horoscopes and the zodiac, and even though I know it’s all fantasy and fake blah blah blah, it’s just a lot of fun. Russell does a fantastic job creating her universe and weaving astrological mythology into the story. Each House, represented by a different Zodiac sign, is unique with its own culture, customs, and hierarchy, and she does a great job differentiating each one.
- The. freaking. cover. ~ I know people always say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but I disagree. In my opinion, an eye catching cover makes all the difference. It’s all about first impressions!
- The secondary characters ~ Why is that the other characters in YA stories are always more interesting than the main one? We’re locked into Rho’s point of view, but I would have really loved to explore the other characters more as well (Nishi, Rubidum, Sirna, to name a few).
Things I didn’t like so much:
- The main character ~ Rho is kind of like… every other YA heroine? Maybe a little whinier. She is your typical Chosen One who whines because no one will listen to her warnings about the End of the World. Sigh. She also makes terrible decisions and gets in situations way over her head because the whole time she is thinking “I am unqualified” (which she is), but also doesn’t say anything about her lack of qualifications. I didn’t really care for her.
- The love triangle ~ Ugh. Love triangles aren’t always bad, but when coupled with a main character who is whiny and cannot make up her damn mind because she loves them both, it is practically unbearable. Either kiss one or pick none, but don’t kiss both! I am all aboard the Hysan ship though…
- Slow plot ~ This isn’t a huge dealbreaker for me, since I can usually overlook a slow/weaker plot if the world building and setting are done well, which luckily is the case in this book. I’m also more forgiving of slow plots in the first book of a series since I recognize that sometimes the author does need time to build up their setting and establish their master plot.
All in all, the Zodiac world itself is enough to keep me reading the next books in the series, but I really do hope the plot picks up in the next book. Since the setting is now established, I’d love to see a lot more complex characterization and depth to not only Rho, but also to the rest of the cast. I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of what the Zodiac world has to offer, and I’m looking forward to learning more about the villain’s history and how it fits into the Zodiac world.
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5. Not perfect, but it was enough to keep me wanting more.