Zodiac by Romina Russell | Review

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Title: Zodiac (Zodiac, Book 1)
Author: Romina Russell
Publisher: Razorbill, December 2014
Genre: Young Adult – Science Fiction
Page Count: 336
My Rating: 3 stars
Where to Purchase: Amazon, The Book Depository, Barnes and Noble

Summary (From goodreads):

Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories.

When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancerian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts.

Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians.

But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?

Embark on a dazzling journey with ZODIAC, the first novel in an epic sci-fi-meets-high-fantasy series set in a galaxy inspired by the astrological signs.

My thoughts:

When I heard about this book being released, I was very intrigued. I found the premise of a science fiction book based on the zodiac to be so interesting. Overall, there were a few high points in this story surrounded by low points.

This book felt broken up into three distinct parts. The beginning was engaging, but I found myself a little lost. Rho definitely has “special snowflake” syndrome. There is a back story regarding her abilities and such later on in the story, but it still wasn’t enough for me to find what occurs with her throughout the story to be believable.

I had (and still have) a lot of hope for this world. There is a lot of world building in the book, because of all the different planets and worlds of the galaxy being so different, but at times it felt very info-dumpy. We get to see so many parts of this world, and I found myself getting confused at times, and just being given too much unneeded information. But the imagery we do get of the worlds is beautiful and very unique. I imagined this world in a beautiful CGI style. I will say that if this book included a map, that would be very helpful.

WARNING: Love triangle. There is a love triangle in this series that I do not feel is very well done. One love interest feels very much like insta-love (they have “known” each other for years but have never once spoken) and the other love interest is a kind of insta-lust (which is more bearable.) But overall, the love triangle aspect felt very unnecessary.

Given Rho’s special snowflake nature that I mentioned before, I found it very hard to connect to the characters in this story. I felt that Rho made a lot of unrealistic decisions and jumped between feeling like a teenager and an old wise woman. There wasn’t a ton of consistency or believability. I did very much enjoy one of the love interests, who reminds me of a Hans Solo type character (my favorite) and hope to see more of him in the future books.

The last 50 pages or so were a whirlwind, and made up for a lot of the book. Those last 50 pages are the reason I plan to continue on with the next books in the series. Some of the events that happened made me think there is a possibility of me enjoying the future of the series. There is a 50/50 chance at this point. I’m willing to take that chance, because of the originality of the world and plot.

Let me know if you have read Zodiac and what you thought of it!

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken | Review

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Title: The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, Book 1)
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Disney Hyperion, December 2012
Genre: Young Adult – Dystopian
Page Count: 488
My Rating: 3.5 stars
Where to Purchase: Amazon, The Book Depository, Barnes and Noble

Summary (From Goodreads)

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

My Thoughts:

I really wanted to be blown away by this book, but I was left disappointed. I’m not sure what exactly I was looking for, but I just wanted more.

There were so many aspects I feel very neutral about. The concept and back story was interesting, but it’s something we have all seen before. The plot was extremely slow paced. I found the ending to be very fast, but overall pretty predictable. The characters were believable, but I didn’t find myself getting attached to them until the very end. The romance elements felt a little off. Overall, this book just left me feeling “meh.” I have no strong feelings either way about it.

I would categorize this book as more of a “survivalist” story than a dystopian. The world feels more post-apocalyptic than anything else, so fans of that kind of storyline will probably enjoy this. The characters felt very realistic as well, so if you prefer character driven stories, I would recommend this.

I do plan on continuing with the series, but as of right now, I am in no rush to do so. I hope the next book picks up the pace a little more and is less predictable.

My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins | Review


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Title: My True Love Gave to Me
Author: Edited by: Stephanie Perkins; Stories by Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt de La Peña, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins, Laini Tayler and Kiersten White
Publisher: MacMillan, October 2014
Genre: Young Adult –Contemporary
Page Count: 368
Where to Purchase: Amazon, The Book Depository, Barnes and Noble

Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes | Review

Gathering DarknessStats:

Title: Gathering Darkness (Falling Kingdoms Book 3)
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Publisher: Razorbill, December 2014
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy
Page Count: 416
My Rating: 5 stars
Where to Purchase: Amazon, The Book Depository, Barnes and Noble

Summary (from Goodreads):

Warning: This is the 3rd book in the series, and synopsis will contain spoilers for previous books!

In GATHERING DARKNESS, book three of the New York Times bestselling Falling Kingdoms series, the stakes have never been higher as three teams push forward on a race to find the Kindred, the four elemental crystals possessing ancient all-powerful magic, first:

Prince Magnus has just witnessed torture, death, and miracles during the bloody confrontation that decimated the rebel forces. Now he must choose between family and justice as his father, the cruel King Gaius, sets out to conquer all of Mytica. All Gaius needs now are the Kindred – the four elemental crystals that give godlike powers to their owner. But the King of Blood is not the only one hunting for this ancient, storied magic…

• THE KRAESHIANS join the hunt. Ashur and Amara, the royal siblings from the wealthy kingdom across the Silver Sea, charm and manipulate their way to the Kindred, proving to be more ruthless than perhaps even the King of Blood himself.

• THE REBELS forge ahead. Princess Cleo and vengeful Jonas lead them, slaying with sweetness, skill, and a secret that can control Lucia’s overpowering magic – all so they can use the Kindred to win back their fallen kingdoms.

• THE WATCHERS follow Melenia out of the Sanctuary. They ally in the flesh with King Gaius, who vows to use Lucia’s powers to unveil the Kindred. The only certainty in the dark times is that whoever finds the magic first will control the fate of Mytica… but fate can be fickle when magic is involved.

My Thoughts:

I LOVED everything about this book. It built on the foundation of the previous books, and is the best book of the series so far. I thoroughly enjoy the character development in this series, and the characters did not disappoint in this installment. They have all come so far since book one, and are not the same people we’ve seen in previous books.

My only complaint about this book was that the Kraeshians seemed very flat and two-dimensional as characters. But, ultimately, I overlooked that because of how well our main characters are developed.

We have reached the middle of the series, and the climax of this book has me very excited for the rest of the series.

This series is a very fun ride, and I recommend it for any fan of character-driven fantasy.