I really tried to like this.
There was a lot of potential for Zodiac, but it was poorly executed. I own the second book because I was sure I would like it. But I won’t be continuing the series.
Let’s start with the plot. Where should I start with the plot? It was everywhere. The book started off on one of Cancer’s moons. Rho, the protagonist, is a in a band with three of her friends. With the beginning, I thought, “Oh this is cool, a musician lead.” But her musical talents end by chapter three. Things are referenced here and there, but her talent isn’t brought up in any helpful way.
Not only that but she becomes Guardian of Cancer in the span of like several paragraphs. A SIXTEEN YEAR OLD to be the face of a fucking galaxy? planet? I don’t understand the world building. Maybe I skimmed over that part (or zoned out).
Just to show how young and naïve she is:
“I can’t lead an armada. I barely even know what that is!”
How do you live in a universe where you can travel to other planets within hours and not know what an armada is? YOU LIVED ON FUCKING MOON FOR SEVEN ODD YEARS. And not only that, you’re in school??? And you mentioned a war that happened centuries ago?? Didn’t your teachers teach you anything about it?
“An armada, it turns out, is a fleet of warships.”
Like bitch??? But anyway…
She leaves Cancer to go on some quest (which this leads into my next bit). She’s so whiney. Like what did the fucking ambassadors expect, electing a 16-year-old to be their fucking face????? She is so caught up in this conspiracy, that she doesn’t listen to anyone, and they’re giving her sound advice. She should’ve kept some details to herself if she wanted people to believe her.
“…says Sirna, giving me the briefing she tried to give earlier, when I stormed out of her office.”
Rho stormed out, while someone was trying to tell her of a new threat facing them. She didn’t want to hear it because it refuted what Rho wanted to believe. Like, I get you’re 16 and you want to act that way and that you have a ton of responsibility now, but you are the first thing people think of when they think of Cancer.
Just like how Obama was what people thought of when he was president of the USA (now we have a fucking cheeto as our face).
My point is, if you’re given the position of responsibility and power, you don’t go storming out of places, or stomping your foot, or slamming doors. You act civil. You act reasonable. Be what is expected of you when in a position of power. Listen to everyone, and be open minded. That’s all Rho needed to do, and had she done that, I think Zodiac would’ve been a much better book.
Back to the plot. Transitioning was terrible. At one point in the book, they were talking about a children’s rhyme about the 13th zodiac. Rho was trying to figure out if there was a prediction in it or whatever.
“…All these references to time . . . are they just coincidence, or could they be clues?
Before Sirna leaves, I find an excuse to pull her into the privacy of a bedroom. As soon as we enter, she lowers her gaze, and I realize she knows what I’m going to ask.
And I already know her answer.”
That’s the transition. It’s talking about time, and then from nowhere… I don’t even know???? It just doesn’t go with the previous paragraph. I’m just so lost.
And then of course there’s a love triangle. And I use that term loosely. There was no tension between Mathias and Rho, and even less with Hysan and Rho. I think it’s mainly because Hysan kept calling Rho ‘My lady‘ and that shit makes me cringe on a molecular level.
And also, when Rho and Hysan have sex, where the fuck did the condom come from? He just happened to have one on him? Someone who’s FORBIDDEN to have a partner just carries around condoms??? O.K.
“Hysan is wrong for me in so many ways— the Taboo, the innate differences between us, the timing. And, of course, Mathias.”
Of course Mathias??? What? You have ZERO chemistry with him. He treats you like a child, yet just because you’ve had a thing for him since like middle school, doesn’t mean he should be pursued. But also, do better Rho, Hysan is gross.
I just can’t get over how messy this book was. And I’m really mad it’s messy. I wanted to like it so much. I’m a Cancer too… like shit, thanks Rho.
One last thing I wanna bitch about:
“Philosopher’s Stone between her fingers. The device is encased in a lead pendant that hangs from a silver chain around her neck, and its design varies according to clan. Mallie’s pendant is shaped like an owl.”
Like really?? Did you really have to make a Harry Potter reference? Like just pluck me out of this galactic sci-fi and throw me into a fantasy one… As if I don’t get enough of that world. And even if that wasn’t your intention, Russell, if you mention philosopher and stone next to each other, and then wrap that with an owl, I fucking think of Harry Potter holding the sorcerers stone and guess what? HE HAS AN OWL AS A PET. So even if you didn’t do it on purpose, you did it on purpose.
If you like forced relationships, haphazard plots, and a whiney protagonist, then you’ll love Zodiac.
PS. For those of you who don’t know, I work in Diagon Alley. I’m there 5 days a week, I don’t want to get lost in a world and then thrown right back into my own.