Review: Zodiac Academy: The Awakening by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti

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Tory Vega and Darcy Vega have had a difficult life of going from foster home to foster home. Now that they’re 18, they live together in a crappy apartment in Chicago, Illinois. But they barely have enough money to get by.

One night a man named Professor Orion stops Tory as she’s getting home. He forces his way into their apartments and tells Tory and Darcy that they’re coming with him…to a place called Zodiac Academy. Suddenly, Tory and Darcy are taken to a mysterious world called Solaria. One where the Fae rule and can master the elements.

Tory and Darcy are Fae and also the heirs to the thrown of Solaria. When they were born, their mother sent them to the human world, causing them to grow up as Changelings. Shortly after, they’re parents were murdered and their council, the Celestial Heirs, took over.

Now that Tory and Darcy have returned, some desperately want them on the thrown, others wants to see them bow to the four sons of the Celestial Heirs: Max Rigel, Caleb Altair,  Darius Acrux and Seth Cappella. All Tory and Darcy want is to complete their training, get their families money and never have to worry again. But things at Zodiac Academy are never simple and unwillingly the twin sisters are thrown into a brewing power struggle.

Wow, what an exciting debut to a series. We decided to read Zodiac Academy: The Awakening when we saw it was on Prime Reading. It’s basically a mix of Harry Potter, Avatar: The Last Air Bender and Fate: The Winx Saga. We love that Peckham and Valenti focused on Zodiac signs and the fact that all Fae bend the elements. Most bend one or two, but Tory and Darcy can bend all four. They’re also twin Geminis, which makes them even more unique in Solaria.

We really liked Tory and Darcy as the MCs and their dual POVs. We will say that we did enjoy Tory’s chapters a bit more because she’s snarky, badass and confident. She never runs away from a challenge. While Darcy is fine overall, we hope to see more character growth from her in book 2.

Now for the Celestial Heirs! They’re characters felt reminiscent of Prince Cardan from The Cruel Prince. They each lead a house at Zodiac Academy (air, water, fire, earth) and will do anything to keep their power. Out of the four of them, we’re most intrigued by Caleb (earth) and Darius (fire). They seemed to be the more complex guys. Seth (air) was just the worst in our opinion and Max (water) was a bit boring.

The plot overall is off to a great start and we’re super intrigued about the world created. We really want to know more about the Kingdom and about the Vega twins’ parents. The book left off on a cliffhanger and we need to know how Tory and Darcy will get themselves out of this mess.

If you’re interested in a creative and dark upper YA fantasy set at a Fae version of a college, then pick up the first book in the Zodiac Academy series ASAP. We can’t wait to start book 2: Ruthless Fae soon.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Published by I'm All Booked Up YA

We write recommendations and reviews for YA books.

14 thoughts on “Review: Zodiac Academy: The Awakening by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti

  1. I actually saw this book series being recommended to me on Amazon, and I got the first book in the series. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, even though it was so highly rated! I’m pleasantly surprised by the fact that you enjoy the book as well! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the rest of the series as you read it! xx

    Melina | http://www.melinaelisa.com

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been hearing about this series nonstop lately on bookstagram and it has certainly made me want to pick it up, but I truly had no clue what it was about. I loved reading your thoughts on it. It makes me want to check it out even more now that I know the premise!

    Liked by 1 person

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