Review: Zodiac Academy 8: Sorrow and Starlight by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti

Finally, seven months after reading Zodiac Academy 7: Heartless Sky, we’ve finished Zodiac Academy 8: Sorrow and Starlight. The book starts right where the previous left us off, at the end of a huge battle between Lionel Acrux’s loyalists and the resistance.

Everything has changed for the Vega twins. With Darcy Vega cursed by Lavinia, Darcy has no choice but to leave the resistance, since she’s a danger to everyone she loves. Tory Vega is trying to recover from the worst day of her life, while also trying to rebuild her troops.

At the same time, the Celestial Heirs and their parents are being held captive at the Acrux Manor, while Lance Orion and Gabriel Nox are prisoners at the Palace of Souls. It seems like stars are on the side of Lionel and everything is going wrong.

Tory has no choice but to pick up the pieces of her life and find the resistance a new home. And along with her friends Geraldine Grus, Sofia Cygnus, Tyler Corbin and Xavier Acrux, save everyone she loves from ending up like Darius Acrux.

Tory makes it her mission to save Caleb Altair, Max Rigel, Seth Capella and their families, while Darcy is on a journey to find Orion and Gabriel, desperate to save them from Lionel and Lavinia. Even when things start to go right for the Vegas, it seems impossible for them to achieve their ultimate goal: save Solaria.

With Lionel getting stronger every day and his surprise ally ready to help him, the resistance has to pick their moment to strike perfectly or else nobody will make it. Can the Vegas and their allies change the world and take their place on the throne? Only time (and the stars) will tell.

Wow, Zodiac Academy 8: Sorrow and Starlight was a monster of a book. The paperback edition released in December 2022 and is over 700 pages. And the print is super tiny! Reading it felt like conquering a huge challenge.

We had no idea what to expect for the Vegas, the Heirs and our other favorite characters. The end of Zodiac Academy 7: Heartless Sky almost destroyed us. Peckham and Valenti truly are heartless.

Initially, we believed that Zodiac Academy 8: Sorrow and Starlight would be the final book in the Zodiac Academy series. However, right before the release of this book, Peckham and Valenti announced that there would be a Zodiac Academy 9. There isn’t a release date, cover, title or description yet.

Thus, we knew going into this book that we wouldn’t get all the answers we craved. In fact, we have even more questions.

The first chapter is told from Darcy’s point of view as she deals with her new reality and recognizes what she has to do. That was when we knew that Darcy and Tory would spend most of the book apart, which was sad, but also necessary for their character growth.

Tory had to become so strong. She has to deal with making tough choice and rebuilding her ranks, after the worst day of her life. We loved her character arc this book and her desire to do whatever it takes to get back Darius and defeat Lionel. Tory is hilarious and fierce, but she’s also become strategic, loyal and relentless.

Darcy’s story wasn’t quite as exciting, well at least not until the end. While she discovers some interesting facts about the past of the royal family, not as much happens to her compared to her twin. She hasn’t experienced as much character growth. But her best scenes were with her beau, Orion, who is an incredible significant other.

The Heirs had their own trauma to deal with and it was interesting to see how they picked up the pieces after their lives have changed. One of our favorite parts was seeing Caleb and Tory’s strong friendship. It’s amazing how supportive Caleb could be, even after Tory chose Darius over him. He’s a really great friend.

Seth is still our least favorite character. His chapters are a drag. No matter what is going on in his life, he just can’t be honest and hurts people as a defense mechanism. It’s getting boring.

Max doesn’t have the most exciting story, but his relationship with Geraldine gets an A from us. The scenes they share together are some of our favorites and we love their unique love story. Nobody brings the comedic relief like Geraldine and we know Max would do anything for her.

As for the plot, it was insane. That’s the best way to describe it. While we do think the book was too long and some of the POVs from minor characters could be deleted, we still really enjoyed reading this book. We found ourselves invested in Tory’s quest to save Darius, Darcy’s need to get rid of her shadow monster/escape from Lionel and Lionel’s desire to fully conquer Solaria.

The most exciting chapters occurred at the every end, at a battle that returned the main characters to the Zodiac Academy. It was nice to be back to where it all started. There were some really happy moments that we don’t want to spoil. Just know the romance made us so happy.

However, the very end left the Vega sisters with their most difficult situation yet. They had a choice to make and they picked the wrong option, leaving them stuck. Without giving away anything, just know that our favorites have a villain to add to the mix, who might be worse than Lionel. We have no idea what Tory and Darcy can do next because everything is up in the air.

Overall, Zodiac Academy 8 was a bit too long and not enough happened in the middle chapters. However, the excitement that occurred, especially at the end, made up for it. Excuse us while we go check Goodreads for any update about Zodiac Academy 9.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

14 thoughts on “Review: Zodiac Academy 8: Sorrow and Starlight by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti”

  1. I’ve been reading your reviews for Zodiac Academy for quite some time now and every time I see a review, I think “I’m going to finally pick up the first book” aaaaand it doesn’t happen haha. Maybe I’ll change that soon? I’m still going back and forth on whether this series would even be my cup of tea, but I’m at least curious enough to try the first book and see!

    Liked by 1 person

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