Review: Wandering Star by Romina Russell

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Zodiac #2
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: December 8th, 2015
Rating: 3 Stars
Source: ARC from a Giveaway
Pages: 352

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

***Once I get to the romance section of this review, things get spoilery***

Just like the first book in the series, Wandering Star is really mostly a cover read for me. Seriously, all the heart eyes for the covers of these books. Despite the lovely covers and the interesting premise for the series, I didn't love Zodiac as much as I had hoped to and I think I might have liked Wandering Star a little bit less.

Rho is having a hard time being sure of herself ever since her failed armada incident. She is stripped of her title of Guardian of Cancer and is trying to just live under the radar a little bit in the Cancrian settlement on Capricorn. After an attack by the terrorist group, the Marad, Rho gets a tip from Ophiucus (who seems to have switched sides) that while the Marad claim that they plan to attack Sagittarius, they really mean to attack Capricorn.

Not willing to trust Ophiucus, or herself, she keeps this information to herself and heads to Sagittarius to help Nishi and Deke and the young people they recruited to her cause of unity among the Zodiac. The more thought she gives to Ophiucus's warning, the more she thinks it might be true until she finally has a warning sent to Capricorn.

There really isn't a whole lot of action in this book. This is mostly kind of introducing the war that is going to be going on between the Zodiac and the Marad, a growing group of imbalanced Risers fighting for Ophiucus's master who is the real bad guy of this story. A lot of the story is trying to figure out more about the master and the Marad.

I think the only character I really liked in this book was Hysan. He's so perfect and charming and just so very wonderful. He deserves all the good things ever.

Rho is just frustrating in this book. She constantly doubts herself just because the Plenum did. Her constant indecision about everything drove me nuts. And something else frustrating was the fact that she's fighting for unity among the houses, but she doesn't practice what she preaches and always chooses Cancer over everything. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, love for her own house is not so bad, but she's trying to get everyone else to accept the idea of unity, she needs to accept it too.

Pretty much every other character in this book drove me nuts too. Rho's friends, the Guardians, basically just everyone drove me nuts at one point or another in this book.

The romance in this book was a giant, predictable mess. I knew since the moment that Mathias 'died' in Zodiac that he would be back. So probably a lot of the reason I didn't love Wandering Star was because I spent the entire book waiting for that to happen. And surprise, surprise, it did.

For the whole first half of this book, Rho is having a hard time letting herself love Hysan. She still feels horribly guilty over the fact that Mathias 'died' during her armada attack. Every time she's with Hysan, she's thinking of Mathias. But she finally gets over it and kind of lets herself BE with Hysan and Mathias frickin' comes back.

Like how can she still be so obsessed with Mathias? I don't remember a lot of Zodiac, but I think I remember that disaster of a love triangle fairly well. The 'relationship' that they had was basically just admiring each other from afar for however long and then she appoints him her Guide and he doubts everything she tries to do for the rest of the book or something.

Whereas she has a more real relationship with Hysan, like he's actually supportive of her and always so nice and sweet to her. AND he's so patient with her after Mathias 'dies' like he has all the time in the world to wait for her to love him that way that he loves her.

But then Mathias comes back, beaten and tortured, after being rescued from a Marad ship. Another hostage is rescued from the Marad as well, a girl named Pandora. Mathias is obviously broken after his rescue, only really responding to Pandora. She is the one who pretty much kept him sane during his torture. And they kind of cling to each other and Rho thinks that he's replaced her with Pandora. WHO CARES?! You have Hysan who is INFINITELY better than Mathias in every possible way!

But since this is a love triangle, he miraculously comes out of his incredibly broken state in a solid two seconds to once again to vie for Rho's love. You can't love two people equally. Like, you're hurting everyone, you need to choose and let the other one go.

Overall, I liked this book less than Zodiac. The love triangle is really what ruined this whole book for me. And a little bit because the characters weren't my favorite. If you are really against love triangles, I don't think this series is for you. I am probably going to continue this series because I'm curious to see what happens with the war and the master. And the slight cliffhanger at the end of this book makes me curious about what will happen in Black Moon. And let's be real, the cover.

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