Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Zodiac Reread Campaign: Wandering Star Review and Disney Princess Sorting

Title: Wandering Star (Zodiac #2)
Series: Zodiac
Author: Romina Russell
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: December 8, 2015
Source: ARC from Penguin Teen

A breathtaking sci-fi space saga inspired by astrology that will stun fans of the Illuminae Files and Starbound series.

Orphaned, disgraced, and stripped of her title, Rho is ready to live life quietly, as an aid worker in the Cancrian refugee camp on House Capricorn.

But news has spread that the Marad--an unbalanced terrorist group determined to overturn harmony in the Galaxy--could strike any House at any moment.

Then, unwelcome nightmare that he is, Ochus appears to Rho, bearing a cryptic message that leaves her with no choice but to fight.

Now Rho must embark on a high-stakes journey through an all-new set of Houses, where she discovers that there's much more to her Galaxy--and to herself--than she could have ever imagined.

My Review

Warning: There may be spoilers ahead for the first book in the series, Zodiac, so read at your own risk!

Holy Helios! For those of you who have read Zodiac by Romina Russell (and if you haven't, go get yourself a copy right flipping now!), Wandering Star picks up a few weeks after the catastrophic ending that left readers of this stellar science fiction series in shock.

Rhoma Grace, also known as Rho, is now disgraced, stripped of her Guardianship and living with her brother and a mysterious new character, Aryll, as refugees on House Capricorn. There, Rho has been researching everything she can about the Zodiac's history, while her brother and Aryll try to preserve what's left of Cancer's wildlife. But no sooner than she gets there, does Rho decide to jet off into space again with Hysan to try to save the world. And thus, another adventure through the galaxy begins!

 Once again, readers are greeted by Rho's voice as she narrates everything in this action-packed space opera. Readers will love the familiar feel of her voice, and they will instantly find themselves standing right beside Rho as she embarks on another mission to save the home and the galaxy that she loves. Although Rho's point of view makes Wandering Star a quick and thrilling read, I suggest savoring her words and stories because a lot of Zodiac history is revealed in this book. There is also a lot of Grace family history in Wandering Star that will help readers understand Rho and her family a lot more than they did in Zodiac. You don't want to miss out on any of the important details. Trust me... there are a lot of them, and I loved every freaking galactic minute of it.

This time around, the events in the book start on Capricorn. From what I gathered through my reading, it seems like a pretty technologically-advanced planet, and I would love to ride around on their transportation system. But Rho being Rho, doesn't stay on Capricorn for long. She leaves to meet Deke and Nishi on House Sagittarius where they begin training for the imminent war that every fan of this series wants to see. Rho is ready to fight, but then again, she's not ready to fight. She's is still hurting on the inside, and she's having a hard time coping with everything emotionally. She's lost family members, and the world has lost its faith in her. Ergo, she's lost a little bit of faith in herself, and she's struggling. It's troubling, but her friends, both new and old, step up to make sure that she's prepared and supported as they get ready to take on the threat to the Zodiac.

This moment is seriously everything that I needed in the book. Yes, Rho is determined to finish what she started, but after everything that happened to her in the end of Zodiac, she's at her wit's end. It takes a little bit of convincing from these new characters for Rho to see who she really is - one of the most talented and accurate Seers in history. I loved how these moments really put everything into action. Much of the rest of the book builds off these new characters and their faith in Rho, and it just made me squeal with happiness to see her come into her own during Wandering Star.

Now... what happened with that love triangle, right? If you read Zodiac, you know that Rho was torn between two guys. One was Mathias, a Cancer who she adored from afar for years but only really got to know during her time as Guardian. The other young man was Hysan, a Libran who she met during her Guardianship. These three traveled the world together in the first book, and Rho became more and more confused about them as she got to know them both on personal levels. Romina Russell shocked us all when she killed Mathias in the first novel, and that really, really hurt me. I cried for days.

This time around, Rho's confused because she still has feelings for both young men, but she also feels like Mathias' death was her fault. There's a lot of survivor's guilt in this book, but you can also tell that Rho is guilty for wanting to continue to get to know Hysan while still grieving for Mathias. It's hard for her to move on, but she needs to move on, or at least harden her heart a little, in order to save the world. I won't spoil you, but I really like how Russell addressed all of this in Wandering Star. Rho's grief and confusion were real enough to make me cry even more, and I just wanted to jump into the pages and console her.

There are so many different twists and turns in Wandering Star that I felt that my head might twist off! But you know what... I loved every single one. It never felt like any of these twists and turns were forced; they just felt natural and worked with the story. There are new friends. There are new enemies. There are new problems facing the Zodiac. I laughed. I swooned. I cried. Basically, everything that I wanted in this book happened, and I couldn't be more excited for book three. I seriously don't think I'll be able to wait another year to get my hands on it!

So should you pick up a copy of Wandering Star? Absolutely, especially if you read and loved Zodiac. Wandering Star is just as good, if not better than its predecessor, and readers will be dying to know just what's going on in Rho's life. Now... if you haven't yet read Zodiac, but you think these books might be for you, give them a chance. I can tell you that I'm not super into science fiction, but these are so well-developed and written that any reader will appreciate them. I would recommend both books to teenagers (14+) and to fans of Harry Potter, Star Wars, and The Lunar Chronicles.

Disney Princess House Sorting

By now, I'm sure you all know that I absolutely love the Zodiac series. Because of that, I wanted to make sure I had an original post to share. I thought about it and realized that I've never seen anyone sort the Disney Princesses into the Zodiac Houses.


House Aries
March 21 - April 19
House: 1
Word for Guardian: General
Word for Zodai: Major
Color: Red 
Element: Cardinal House, Fire
Strength: Military

The People, Personality:
House Aries brings Military strength to the Zodiac, so it makes perfect sense that its people are brave, bold, competitive, battle-ready, aggressive, boastful, and natural leaders. Aries is the most ancient House in the galaxy: There’s evidence that human pioneers colonized Aries first, before spreading to the other Houses.

I think Mulan would be a perfect house for House Aries because she's brave and bold. Instead of sitting at home like her peers, she ran off to fight in a war. She's strong, both physically and mentally, and House Aries would be proud to have her.


House Taurus
April 20 - May 20
House: 2
Word for Guardian: Chief Executive
Word for Zodai: Promisary
Color: Olive Green
Element: Earth
Strength: Industry

The People, Personality:
House Taurus represents Industry. Its people are competitive, diligent, committed, and efficient—traits that sometimes make them come off as stubborn, tunnel-visioned, and intimidating to outsiders. Taurians are all about working hard to play even harder. They get in the game not for the competition but for the rewards—they work through the night Monday through Wednesday so that they can double their weekends.

Anyone who has seen Disney's The Princess and the Frog knows that Tiana isn't your typical Disney Princess. She dreams of owning her own restaurant, and she works 24/7 just to save up for it. She's a bit stubborn and doesn't want anything to interfere with her plans. She's a perfect fit for the hard-working people of House Taurus.


House Gemini
May 21 - June 20
House: 3
Word for Guardian: Twin
Word for Zodai: Dreamcaster
Color: Orange
Element: Air
Strength: Imagination

The People, Personality:
House Gemini represents Imagination. Its people are creative, loquacious, curious, and complex, and can be indecisive, cryptic, and moody. Though not all Geminin are twins, only twins can be chosen to be Guardians. In the early days of the galaxy, Gemini led the Zodiac in scientific and humanitarian achievements. Its leading thinkers imagined solutions for every problem and brought many of those solutions to life. When Geminin scientists discovered cell regeneration, holding onto youth became a House obsession.

If you haven't seen Frozen, let me tell you a little bit about Princess Anna. She's basically the odd princess. She finds it hard to fit in, but she's also a dead ringer for House Gemini. She's indecisive, she talks a lot, and she's just curious about the world.


House Cancer
June 21 - July 22
House: 4
Word for Guardian: Holy Mother
Word for Zodai: Lodestar
Color: Blue
Element: Cardinal House, Water
Strength: Nurture

The People, Personality:

House Cancer represents Nurture. Its people are loving, brave, compassionate, loyal, and selfless, and can also be quite clingy, self-absorbed, and moody. As represented by House Cancer’s symbol of the Crab, Cancrians are hard on the outside but all heart on the inside. Since they love more deeply than others, their hearts often pack more armor.

Okay, I know Moana isn't technically in the official Princess lineup, but she's the daughter of a chief, and a pretty cool character. I think Moana would make a perfect Cancrian because she is selfless. When she realizes that she needs to save the world, she does it, and she does it for the sake of her family and her people.


House Leo
July 23 - August 22
House: 5
Word for Guardian: Holy Leader
Word for Zodai: Lionheart
Color: Royal Purple
Element: Fire
Strength: Passion

The People, Personality
House Leo represents Passion. Its people are larger than life, magnetic, proud, decisive, honorable, and can be self-absorbed, pushy, and vain. As represented by the House symbol of the Lion, Leos consider themselves to be the kings and queens of their universe. They are natural leaders who chase their fears instead of hiding from them.

Okay... so we all know Elsa didn't get the perfect start in Frozen, but how could anyone be confident if they're told to hide who they really are. After Elsa realizes that she has a sister who loves her, she comes into her own, and becomes the queen that her people need, so I think she'd make a pretty good Leo. (Maybe a Rising Leo...)


House Virgo
August 23 - September 22
House: 6
Word for Guardian: Empress
Word for Zodai: Minister
Color: Emerald Green
Element: Earth
Strength: Sustenance

The People, Personality:
House Virgo represents Sustenance. Its people are organized, practical, shrewd, and analytical, and can be obsessive, anal-retentive, and pedantic. Virgos are control freaks who like to be self-sufficient—that’s why their gift is knowing the secrets of the earth. Humanity’s most basic need for survival is sustenance, and their control over this need ensures that Virgos are truly independent and do not need to rely on others. They export more and import fewer goods and services than any other House, and their veil keeps them safe from unwanted visitors.

If there's any Disney Princess who can really and truly claim to be a Virgo, it's got to be Pocahontas. She and her people are very self-sufficient in Pocahontas, and Pocahontas herself teaches John Smith a thing or two about how to treat the Earth.


House Libra
September 21 - October 22
House: 7
Word for Guardian: Lord
Word for Zodai: Knight
Color: Yellow
Element: Cardinal House, Air
Strength: Justice

The People, Personality:
House Libra represents Justice. Its people are fair-minded, charming, graceful, nonviolent, vain, cocky, and keenly perceptive. The pursuit of justice is a sacred quest for every Libran, and it’s represented by the House’s symbol, the Scales of Justice.

Fair and kind always come to my mind when I think of Cinderella. We all know Cinderella was treated like dirt by her stepmother and stepsisters, but she never acted out or against it. She just had faith that one day her circumstances would change, and she would not sacrifice her kind disposition for it to happen. That's why I think Cinderella would be a perfect fit for House Libra.


House Scorpio
October 23 - November 21
House: 8
Word for Guardian: Chieftain
Word for Zodai:
Color: Black
Element: Water
Strength: Innovation

The People, Personality:
House Scorpio represents Innovation. Its people are inventive, inquisitive problem solvers who can also be obsessive, greedy, secretive, dark, and moody. As represented by their symbol of the Scorpion, Scorps are most often likely to sting first and ask questions later. They can spend their lives exploring rabbit holes so deep that others would drown in their darkness. Yet Scorps dive eagerly into every depth, determined to discover the secrets of tomorrow before even the stars do.

Jasmine, one of Disney's feistiest princesses, is a match for House Scorpio for her inquisitive nature. Frustrated because her father is forcing her into marriage, she escapes the palace to see what life is like outside its walls. After meeting Prince Ali, who we all know is really Aladdin, she questions him because he's just oh-so-familiar. Another reason she's a perfect match for House Scorpio - she gets her father to change the marriage laws.


House Ophiuchus
November 30 - December 10
House: 13
Word for Guardian: Master

The People, Personality:
House Ophiuchus represented Unity. Its people were spirited, magnetic, impulsive, clever, flamboyant, and at times jealous, power-hungry, and temperamental. At their hearts, they were healers who hoped to one day rid the Zodiac of every ill—disease, violence, etc—and bring everyone closer together.

Everyone's favorite mermaid would make a splash in House Ophiuchus. All she wanted was to be a part of the human world, and after quite an interesting adventure, she got her wish, and she was able to unite both merpeople and humans.


House Sagittarius
November 22 - December 21
House: 9
Word for Guardian: Guardian
Word for Zodai: Stargazer
Color: Lavender
Element: Fire
Strength: Curiosity

The People, Personality:
House Sagittarius brings Curiosity to the Zodiac. Its people are inquisitive, intelligent, brave, independent, and natural adventurers who can sometimes come off as argumentative, detached, and impatient. While most citizens do live on their own home planets, Sagittarius is one of the more widespread Houses because they’re born wondering wanderers: Sagittarians are truth-seekers who will follow a trail of knowledge to whatever end, having fun the whole way.

I can't think of a more perfect Sagittarian, and that Princess is the one and only Rapunzel from Disney's Tangled. Not only is she curious about the world outside of her tower, but she's is brave and independent for leaving the only home she's ever known to just to see some floating lights. Ultimately, her adventure leads her to the home she was born into.


House Capricorn
December 22 - January 19
House: 10
Word for Guardian: Sage
Word for Zodai: Chronicler
Color: Brown
Element: Cardinal House, Earth
Strength: Wisdom

The People, Personality:
House Capricorn represents Wisdom. Its people are wise, patient, organized, down-to-earth, by-the-book, stubborn, and conservative. They carefully amass knowledge throughout their lives, and every Capricorn considers it his purpose to protect the planet’s animals and environment, as well as pursue and promote knowledge.

Okay... so Aurora didn't get a lot of speaking time in her feature film because she slept through most of it, but I think she'd make a pretty great member of House Capricorn. Her humble upbringing taught her to respect and appreciate nature. She also seems like a pretty by-the-book princess because she accepted her fate to marry a prince she thought she'd never met. All in all, she'd fit in nicely with the Capricorns.


House Aquarius
January 20 - February 18
House: 11
Word for Guardian: Supreme Guardian
Word for Zodai: Elder
Color: Aqua
Element: Air
Strength: Philosophy

The People, Personality:
House Aquarius brings Philosophy to the Zodiac. Its people are introspective, intelligent, inquisitive, humanitarian, and true trailblazers, though sometimes their determination to design a better world can make them seem excessively eccentric, radical, and revolutionary to outsiders. At heart, Aquarians are full of hope for tomorrow, and their minds are fountains of ideas for how to create a more interconnected world.

Everyone's favorite bookish princess fits in perfectly on House Aquarius due to her intelligent ways. Not only does Belle hit the books, but she tries to make the Beast's castle a better and happier place while she's there. Belle's also a bit of a trailblazer. Her arrival in 1991 allowed Disney to move forward with different kinds of princesses, and I only hope they keep evolving.


House Pisces
February 19 - March 20
House: 12
Word for Guardian: Prophet
Word for Zodai: Disciple
Color: Silver
Strength: Spirituality

The People, Personality:
House Pisces represents Spirituality. Its people are compassionate, faithful, selfless, intuitive, introspective, quirky, and can at times appear spacey and detached. Piscenes are more concerned with the soul’s inner journey than the body’s physical one. They can explore a single thought or feeling for hours, but decide to dive off a fifty-foot cliff in an eyeblink.

Merida from Disney and Pixar's Brave is compassionate (after that one little mishap...), introspective, and a wee bit quirky. After her mishap with the cake, Merida needs to find a way to fix what's been broken. She connects with her mother and herself in a way that only a Piscene can.

Zodiac images and facts courtesy of Romina Russell.

Russell, Romina. "Zodiac." Signs. Penguin Teen, 2014. Web. 21 July 2017.

So... What do you think? Are these Princesses in the right Zodiac House? Would you place them elsewhere? Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments below!

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