I first was introduced to author Romina Russell when I was at Barnes & Noble with my friends. She was doing a book signing for the second book in her Zodiac series when we happened to be there. All three books in her Zodiac series --- ZODIAC, WANDERING STAR and now BLACK MOON --- take place in a galaxy that contains 12 Houses represented by the 12 signs of the zodiac. To highlight this astrological theme, she not only autographed our books, but also gave us these special bookmarks with each of our astrological signs on them. It was the perfect touch because it felt like we left with not only the gift of meeting this amazing author and her newly released book, but also with a little matching accessory for the book as well. That book signing was just two months ago, so I was very ready to dive into her third book in the series --- BLACK MOON --- and continue where the second book left off.
"BLACK MOON...would appeal to those teen readers who enjoy science fiction, fantasy, space, adventure, romance and especially to readers of those genres who like following story arcs through a book series."
Our journey in the Zodiac series begins with an understanding that at one earlier point in time, there had been 13 Houses in the Zodiac Galaxy, but that the 13th House had been destroyed. Now only the first 12 Houses remain. Each House has its own geography; its characters look and behave distinct to their House; and each House is identified by a unique strength, Guardian and flag. For example, the First House is known as Aries, the ram constellation, whose strength is military, whose Guardian is General Eurek and whose flag color is red. This feels very different from the Fifth House, Leo, the lion constellation, whose strength is passion, whose Guardian is the Holy Leader Arelius, and whose flag color is royal purple.
The 12 Houses that remain are never fully secure but are under threat from some ancient powers that destroyed the 13th House. We follow Rho, a teen protagonist, who has special powers and visions that have helped her rise to a position where she is now the Guardian of the Fourth House, Cancer, the crab constellation, which has the quality of nurture as its strength. With her special visions, Rho tries to alert the other Houses of what she sees are imminent threats. The challenges that ensue comprise the heart-racing adventures that span across all three books in this series. Rho has an innate ability to tap into an understanding of this galaxy and its constellations, which becomes most evident in this third book in the series. Here, her long-lost mother appears in her visions when she looks at the stars, and this leads her on one of her most personal missions in the series.
It was pure luck that I happened to meet Russell that day at her Barns & Noble book signing because I might have never come across her Zodiac series. BLACK MOON, and her two books that came before it in the series, would appeal to those teen readers who enjoy science fiction, fantasy, space, adventure, romance, and especially to readers of those genres who like following story arcs through a book series. I would also recommend this series to readers who love collecting beautifully illustrated book jackets.
Reviewed by Alizé J., Teen Board Member on January 11, 2017