Zodiac by Romina Russell
"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 Cancrian 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?"- summary from Amazon
This book was such a fantastic debut and Russell's writing is amazing and compelling. I loved following Rho's journey as her life is turned upside-down by this mysterious force and as it propels her to grow up very fast and make some huge decisions. I also really loved the characters of Mathias and Hysan and her complicated relationships with both as the three of them travel the Zodiac together and figure out what exactly is going on.
Russell's world-building here is so good and I really enjoyed learning all about the Zodiac world and how it works as well as its mythology and the differences between each of the Houses. It's extremely clever and makes for an interesting read.
Overall, I really enjoyed this debut and I'm looking forward to seeing where the rest of the series goes from here.
FTC: Received hardcover from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.