Monday, January 19, 2015

Review: Zodiac

Zodiac (Zodiac, #1)Title: Zodiac
Author: Romina Russel
Series: Zodiac
Volume: 1
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: December 9, 2015

A Quick Introduction: Following a massive disaster on her planet, Rho suddenly finds herself appointed Guardian to the planet Cancer. Shortly before the disaster that befell her home, she sensed something dark and unknown lurking in the stars. Rho comes to suspect that what befell Cancer was not an accident, but part of a larger plan by someone wishing the entire galaxy ill- the exiled thirteenth house, Ophiuchus. Now she must convince the rest of the Zodiac to unite to face a threat she can't even fully prove exists.

Out of Ten: 6/10

Review at a Glance: A compelling idea, unfortunately aspects of the execution really didn't work for me.

Review: This was a really neat concept. Essentially, the Zodiac consists of twelve major planet systems, each based on one of the Western zodiac. This is mainly in the people, but also in the characteristics of the planet itself (for example, Cancer, the crab, is a world of mostly open sea). The people of each planet have a unique culture and and- more or less- race.

As you can tell, I really liked the worlds themselves. Even if some of them are a little scientifically improbable (though not necessarily of everything... even the binary-planet thing is hypothetically possible... though they would likely collide with each other, either full-on, or glancing off each other). They were such a fun concept, even if, at times, they pushed the limits of my suspension of disbelief.

Where my suspension of disbelief struggled was with the people and the magic system. The magic system because it wasn't fully explained- was there any actually astrology involved? What exactly is the Psy and how is it supposed to work? The people because peoples' personalities cannot change their genetic make-up (this mainly stems from a line which basically said that some people are born with character traits that so strongly contradict their zodiac sign that their physical traits change to that of the house the suit...). Basically, it wasn't something I fully understood.

So that aspect was a strength. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy much else. I didn't particularly enjoy being in Rho's head. She just didn't approach problems in a way that worked for me, and didn't seem willing to learn from her mistakes or compromise. While I did appreciate her determination and loyalty, I still found I couldn't connect to her. I know that this is meant to be series, so I assume that she'll grow, but there weren't enough convincing positive traits to make me invest in her in this first book.

And there was a love triangle. Seriously. I'm sure if this wasn't a trope that I am incredibly, indescribably tired of nearly all of the time, I wouldn't have been so irritated by it. But it is, and I was. It was, at best, lukewarm for me. I never really felt the any of the characters had connection (chemistry?) and the plot could likely have done without it. I get why it was in there... it just wasn't necessary, and that point could have been made without it.

As the plot went... well, the most enjoyable part for me was the travelling to other planets part. Otherwise there were times where I was frustrated by the storytelling, but I was overall alright with it, I suppose, up until the ending, which didn't work for me. It felt like a forced climax, and a more subtle one probably would have worked better for the first book in a series.

Overall, I didn't love this one, but it was alright. I felt the concept had potential, but it wasn't met by the characters or plot. I'm not sure if I'll be picking up the next book.

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