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I finally got around to reading the Zodiac Academy series by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti. I tried my hardest to avoid all spoilers with regard to this series. So far, only 8 of the 9 books in total have been released, with the last coming sometime in the future. They are available right now on Kindle Unlimited. While only eight of the books have been released, the first book was re-released but from the POV of the guys since the first book is solely told from the girls’ POV. Every book after that is a mixture of their perspectives, with each POV told from the first POV.
I’m not going to be going into heavy details about the books, so there will be no spoilers here. Though some of the book synopsis can spoil things, if you want to avoid that, skip to the “Overall Thoughts” of this post.
The Awakening (Book 1)
I’m a Gemini. Impulsive. Curious. Headstrong. A twin. Heir to a throne I know nothing about. And it turns out, I’m Fae.
But of course there’s a catch – all I have to do to claim my birth right is prove that I’m the most powerful supernatural in the whole of Solaria. And sure, technically that’s true as I’m the daughter of the Savage King. But the bit they didn’t put in the brochure was that every single Fae in this Kingdom would claim my throne if they could.
The school they’ve sent me to is both dangerous as sh*t and one helluva party. Vampires bite weaker students in the corridors, the Werewolf pack has orgies in the Wailing Wood at every full moon and don’t even get me started on the dark and twisted ways the Sirens use their powers on people’s emotions, or how my sinfully tempting Cardinal Magic teacher hosts detentions that leave people needing therapy.
Classes are totally interesting if you manage to live through them. And that Gemini star sign I mentioned? It now determines my elemental magic and affects my destiny, so learning astrology is essential if I’m going to beat down my classmates – which is actively encouraged by the way.
My biggest problem is the drool worthy Dragon shifter who has his eyes on my throne. He and his three psycho friends are determined to make my time here hell.
All I’ve got to do is survive. But fate might have other ideas.
Dammit, why couldn’t I have gotten a letter to Hogwarts?
- Published: August 2, 2019
- Page Count: 411 pages
The Awakening as Told by the Boys (Book 1)
**This is a retelling of book 1 of Zodiac Academy from the perspective of Orion, Darius, Caleb, Seth and Max**
The Vega twins are alive.
Those five words circle in my mind like an oncoming storm. They change everything about the future we thought had been set in stone. They challenge everything we were raised to be and the stability of the entire kingdom.
They’re coming to our academy looking for the life that was stolen from them, but we can’t let them take it back.
So much hangs in the balance and we can’t risk the arrival of two naïve princesses destroying everything we worked so hard for.
I have trained in dark magic, overcome all challenges and stood in the shadow of Lionel Acrux for far too long already. I won’t let them come between me and his downfall.
Which means they have to go before they discover how powerful they truly are.
- Published: August 30, 2021
- Page Count: 534 pages
Most of the scenes are direct retellings while there are also new scenes to give more insight into what’s been going on with the Heirs. You can kind of guess about what those things are throughout the rest of the books, but it helps provide more context to why the guys are the way they are.
Ruthless Fae (Book 2)
They tried to break us.
They almost did.
But we’re not going anywhere.
The Celestial Heirs think the stars are on their side. But they don’t know what’s coming. We have to be smart. Fighting them one on one isn’t an option so we have to be stealthy. Remaining under the radar won’t be easy, but if we pull it off, they’ll never suspect our involvement when their lives start falling apart.
Besides, they’ve already taken us to the brink of hell, what more can they really do?
- Published: August 30, 2019
- Page Count: 475 pages
The Reckoning (Book 3)
The answer to your question will be revealed on the Lunar Eclipse. But when finding the truth, don’t let the shadows take you.
The week of The Reckoning has begun.
And senior students have been tasked with making the freshmen’s lives pure hell as we prepare to take the assessment that will decide whether we stay at Zodiac Academy or lose our places here forever.
With the Lunar Eclipse on the horizon, my sister and i have more to worry about than just passing our exams.
A dark plot is unfolding and the shadows are drawing closer.
It looks like our enemies could be more powerful than we ever realised.
- Published: October 4, 2019
- Page Count: 562 pages
Shadow Princess (Book 4)
The shadows are in my blood.
I can feel them crawling through me, slithering under my skin and taking me hostage.
But the darkness within me, isn’t nearly as bad as the darkness that lives around me.
The four heirs will stop at nothing to destroy the lives of me and my sister.
But they haven’t figured out yet, we’re the strongest creatures they’ve ever known…
- Published: January 13, 2020
- Page Count: 724 pages
Cursed Fates (Book 5)
After the devastating events at Zodiac Academy, we have to deal with this darker world we’re faced with.
Lionel seeks to hurt us, the Nymphs seek to hurt the entire Fae race, and between all of it, we just have to try and survive each day as it comes.
I’m afraid of everything falling apart, but it looks like it already has.
- Published: May 20, 2020
- Page Count: 886 pages
Fated Throne (Book 6)
Fate has torn us apart and sometimes I believe the stars have given up on us altogether.
Without my sister, the world seems darker than ever before and the shadows loom thicker, rising up to answer the call of the Shadow Princess and changing the face of Solaria for good.
Now Lionel Acrux has the strength to make a move for the throne, I’m not sure how much time we have left to stop him.
Our only hope is to find the Imperial Star before he does. We made the sacrifice the stars called for and we’re paying the price for that decision so it can’t be for nothing.
But with the stars turning against us at every move, and the last light in the world seeming to fade, I’m afraid we’re almost out of time.
Hope is a dangerous thing. It’s the key to us fighting on. But it could be what destroys us in the end.
One thing is for certain, I won’t stop until I have been reunited with my other half and together we will fight to take our crowns.
A war is coming.
The throne is calling for a new monarch. And someone must answer its call.
- Published: December 25, 2020
- Page Count: 739 pages
Heartless Sky (Book 7)
The winds of fate are shifting, and it finally seems like they’ve been twisted in our favour.
On the run and cast out from society, we’ve been forced to hide from the mad man who stole our throne. But as more secrets come to light and my sister and I work harder than ever before to reach our potential and claim our birth right, the end is finally drawing closer.
There is no turning from this path now. The curse chases on our heels as time rushes by and the blood drenched destiny of the man I love looms ever closer just like the monster who stole our throne.
We must prepare for the final battle, but three things are clear now.
The cards have already been dealt.
Blood will spill for a new future to rise.
And the stars themselves can’t help us.
The fight for the throne is upon us. All hail the heartless sky.
- Published: December 18, 2021
- Page Count: 990 pages
Sorrow and Starlight (Book 8)
All stars must fall.
Bloody, lost, broken. We live to fight another day. But with so much stolen from us, can the fates ever twist in our favour again?
My sister and I have been torn apart by shadows and despair, and now we each stand alone.
Our sorrow is spun like a web, trapping us tight, and I fear our enemies will soon come to feast upon our souls.
But if I have my way, the merciless sky will have dealt us its final fortune. It’s time for us to take back the power that’s been ripped from our grasp and turn the tide of this war.
All stars must fall, and all Phoenixes must rise.
Long live the Savage Queens.
- Published: December 11, 2022
- Page Count: 1244 pages
Overall Thoughts on Zodiac Academy
The series mainly follows Darcy and Tory Vega; girls who grew up in the mortal world but it turns out they are lost Fae princesses. They are whisked away to Zodiac Academy where they find out they have all four elements, while most Fae only have one or two elements. On top of that, there are four Heirs who do not want them to reclaim their thrones, so there is a lot of tension between the two groups as the stars keep bringing them together and have other ideas for their future. I especially liked when we started having POVs from the guys as they have a very different take on things than the girls. While the guys are set up as the antagonist, you also can’t help but root for them.
The development of their friendship between the two groups was good. There’s tension throughout the series on who’s going to take the throne. Though some elements were heavily rushed or had easy outs to fix issues. Most of those came once Gabriel became more involved since he could see the future. Granted, he’s one of my favorite characters in the series. As the series progresses, more and more points of view are introduced. What began as just Tory and Darcy was expanded to include the Heirs/Orion and other characters (Xavier, Lionel, Geraldine, and others). In my opinion, not all of the POVs are necessary, and some of the characters are difficult to understand. Don’t get me wrong, I love Gerry but reading her chapters sometimes gives me a headache trying to figure out what the hell is going on. It fits her character, but my god, it’s hard to read at times. Especially when you know there’s another character in the room with her who would make more sense if we got the scene from their perspective.
This series is a dark, bully romance, though the romance for most of the main couples doesn’t kick off right away in the series. It takes several books before they begin. Though you can kind of guess who’s going to be paired up. Granted, there is some romance during the first book, but they aren’t the real pairings. But you can tell that’s going to be the case throughout that book, so it’s not too much of a spoiler. Granted, some of them do continue on past that book.
As we reach the later books, there is a lot of filler. Like it’s important for character development sure and there are a lot of characters, but at some points, I felt like I read the same thing twice between books. Scenes mirroring each other, development but no strides forward (looking at you Seth and Caleb), and details that could’ve been informed in other means that would’ve been shorter. Show don’t tell, sure, but at some point, some details can just be told through other mediums. Like the news articles and social media updates that are featured throughout the book. Or when characters are coming in for only a chapter or two on something that could very easily be something shown another way. I don’t want to give spoilers, so if you want my thoughts on those check out the spoiler section below.
In Sorrow and Starlight, there are many chapters that were unnecessary to the overall plot of the book.
Chapters of Justin flying away from the battlefield that killed Darius could’ve been entirely cut and shown when he reappears. You get Tory wincing realizing she left him floating for days in that parachute and then are attacked by Nymphs. We didn’t need several chapters of him flying away with nymphs chasing him. It still would’ve held the impact it had without his chapters.
Francesa coming to attempt to free Orion could’ve been told from Orion’s POV. He would’ve gotten her mental message regardless and the ring that gave him access to the memories. Plus, he saw her take Lionel’s memories and realized that she loved him through the conversation they had. So, giving her one chapter and then immediately killing her before replaying aspects of it from Orion’s side is a bit overkill. They could’ve just combined her chapter with his reaction.
Also, Lavinia has another child with Lionel. We didn’t need that chapter. We got the horror when Seth saw it happening through the wall. We were already informed they were going to have a child within one day of that intercourse, we didn’t need a chapter in her head going through setting up a nest. We got that image clearly from Seth, and I think the reveal the child could wield all four elements plus shadows and turn into a dragon would’ve been more impactful without her chapter. Because you would be wondering what the heads and bodies meant when Seth witnessed the birth of the child. It’s ok to give hints at what is about to happen, without fully revealing it to the audience. It’s called foreshadowing.
Anyways, that’s just my thought. The same could be said in other books of the series but Sorrow and Starlight is the biggest one released and really highlighted this for me.
Overall, I really enjoyed this series. I couldn’t put the books down. I would give these books a rating of 3.75 out of 5 stars. Let’s just say I was emotionally drained multiple times throughout the series with some of the plot twists and cliffhangers. The one after Heartless Sky was the worst, as many fates are hanging in the balance before the events of Sorrow and Starlight.
One of the reasons, I didn’t give the series a higher rating is due to editing and formatting errors throughout the series. Both the physical version and the Kindle version. I wouldn’t have docked many points if it had been minor issues, but in the first book, instead of saying “can’t,” it said “can>t,” and whenever there was a graphic in the physical copy, the text sometimes overlapped, making it difficult to read. On the Kindle version, it went back and forth between double-spaced and single-spaced. Or in a character’s POV (since the books are in the first person POV) they would refer to themselves in the third person, almost like the authors forgot for a split second which character was the narrator for that chapter.
On a total side note, I love that in the Kindle version of Lionel’s POV, there is a dick in his element symbols. There isn’t one in the paperbacks; it appears that the rest are, but I thought it was funny that they included that in the Kindle version.
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We’re loving this series so far!
Same, I can’t wait to see where the next book takes these characters.