Black Moon by Romina Russell || Stunned, Drowned, and Slayed

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B L A C K   M O O N

A u t h o r : Romina Russell

O r d e r : Book #3 in the Zodiac Series

P u b l i c a t i o n : December 6th 2016 by Razorbill

G e n r e : Sci-fi, Fantasy, Romance, YA

S y n o p s i s : Book 3 in the breathtaking sci-fi space saga inspired by astrology that will stun fans of the Illuminae Files and Starbound series.

One final secret stands between Rho and the enemy. But will the devastating truth be enough to destroy her first?

Rho, the courageous visionary from House Cancer, lost nearly everything when she exposed and fought against the Marad, a mysterious terrorist group bent on destroying balance in the Zodiac Galaxy. Now, the Marad has disappeared without a trace, and an uneasy peace has been declared.

But Rho is suspicious. She believes the Master is still out there in some other form. And looming over all are the eerie visions of her mother, who died many years ago, but is now appearing to Rho in the stars.

When news of a stylish new political party supported by her best friend, Nishi, sends Rho on another journey across the galaxy, she uses it as an opportunity to hunt the hidden master and seek out information about her mother. And what she uncovers sheds light on the truth–but casts darkness upon the entire Zodiac world.


 

I started this review right away after finishing the book.

In Black Moon, the stakes are higher. A greater threat than Ophiuchus lurks around, a mystery waiting to be unraveled. Rho has grown suspicious and distrustful, but in the end she finally decides to confront her doubts and fears. There are reunions, both happy and bittersweet; new allies, but also unprecedented enemies; revelations about the past; ominous prophecies foretold; a slow destruction for another world; and an organization rising to become a pioneer for change.

Black Moon was one of my most highly anticipated reads, and because it isn’t available in our nearby bookstores yet, I opted to borrow an e-copy from another bookworm friend. (I JUST COULDN’T WAIT.) And ta-dah! I finished the book in just a couple of days.

Which brings me to my review…

Without further ado, here are my thoughts about this book.


 

PROS:

1. Romance – I liked the way the author handled the love triangle. Though I have nothing against love triangles, there ARE countless times I’ve come across poorly executed ones, but here in this series, it was done right. It took a while for the main character, Rho, to sort her feelings out, but what matters is she got there in the end. The whole process was natural and I didn’t begrudge her for being unable to sort it out earlier. (Because hello?! Aside from her lovelife, she’s also dealing with how to save the entire universe?)

2. Mystery – After the appearance of a new threat in Wandering Star – the Mahrad – the plot becomes more urgent as Rho and her friends search for the Master – who is actually the one who’s been pulling the strings all along, and not Ophiuchus. Then there’s also Rho’s search for her mother, whose disappearance has intrigued me for so long now. And a bunch of other questions and mysteries that remain unsolved. I love how in Black Moon, we’re finally getting some answers.

3. Diversity – Those who’ve read or are just starting to read Romina’s series will know how diverse her worldbuilding is – which is what makes it an interesting and enjoyable sci-fi. The presence of multi-cultures, multi-races, multi-planets, etc. I shouldn’t be surprised anymore but I am. It doesn’t cease to amaze me how much effort the author spent on the world-building, and how much fascinating the details are. In Black Moon, we also get to explore new planets like Scorpio, Aquarius and Pisces all through Rho’s eyes – as the entire novel is written from her perspective. There are just times when this book gets overboard with its descriptions that I find it hard to maintain my attention to the plot.

4. Characters – There is so much character development to be found here, especially with regards to Rho. She used to wallow herself in self-pity (most of them are, and she still does!), but at least now she has learnt to accept the pain and confront her fears and doubts with a strong resolve. And I loved her better for that. As for the other characters, my god, I just wanted to jump into the book and comfort them, especially Mathias and Stan. Other favorite characters of mine are Lord Neith (an android), Nish, and of course, my darling Hysan.

5. Aquarius – I think, out of all the Zodiac planets, this one is my favorite because they harbor Pegazi! And trust me, I had never been fond of pegasi in my life (not even in Percy Jackson) until this. Seriously, I want to find one and bond with it (preferably one with rose-gold fur.) But aside from that, Aquarius really do seem like a land out of fairytale books. The only downside to it are its people.

6. Unpredictability – Love how this book turned on me! Especially those last few chapters. I really didn’t see that one coming and the irony of their situation really struck me to the core. The impact is absolutely real you guys! I felt like I’d been hit with a series of Stunning Spells, or being drowned in an unexpected wave of tsunami (now… I’m just exaggerating but you know what I mean). Plus it also gets difficult to know who to trust anymore. Just like the characters, you’ll also find yourself suspecting each and every person involved and try fitting the pieces together.

7. Friendship – Rho and Nishi’s friendship are definitely one of my favorite friendships ever!!! And I even like the fact Rho and Ophiuchus came to a sort of truce.

8. Politics – I saw how well Rho navigates her way through the tangled web of politics. Her suspicion and fear becomes her armor. And even though she trusted the wrong people and made grievous mistakes in the past, she became all the more wiser for it. Sometimes, her personal feelings tend to get in the way but that too, I think, is part of her Cancrian nature.

 

CONS:

1. Writing style – Though I enjoyed the latter part of the book, I wasn’t as hooked with the beginning and middle. The flow of the story initially felt slow and it wasn’t until I got to the last chapters of the book that I started really getting excited.

2. MAJOR CLIFFHANGER – Dear Romina, how could you let it end that way? I can’t, I just can’t. *sobs internally*

3. THE ENDING STILL – My god, so many more months to go before Thirteenth Rising comes out. Really, Black Moon’s ending is so awful – and by awful, I mean by the way cliffhangers are awful. Why, why, why? #feelingdesperate

 

OTHER MUSINGS:

  1. Black Moon’s cover is as beautiful as expected, though it somehow resembles the cover of Empress of A Thousand Skies too. Anyway, I find the cover of Thirteenth Rising prettier.
  2. I totally ship Mathias and Pandora! I always felt like what Mathias had with Rho was only a remnant of the past. Hysan, on the other hand, made Rho stronger while Mathias only kept making her question herself. Besides, I believe Pandora is right for Mathias since she was the one with him during his darkest hours, and vice versa. It’s life’s principle – the ones who’d seen you in your worst and made you stronger are the right ones for you. (This is me speaking from experience.)
  3. I love how Romina explored the concept of “unity” and caught its true essence.

 

Would I highly recommend it?

  • YES, definitely YES! This is one of the best science fictions I’ve read in so long and the series is getting more and more popular these days. I hope you guys will pick it up too.

There are so many more things I want to say here but I’m afraid it’ll take me pages before I’m satisfied. So I’ll end my ramblings here for now. Thank you for taking the time to read my review! 🙂 🙂 🙂


-“Favorite Quotes”-

“I should be used to betrayal by now. And yet, each time it feels like a fresh slap across the face that I never saw coming.” – Romina Russell, author of Black Moon

“And that is why the bad must exist alongside the good… because to eradicate one is to eradicate both.” – Romina Russell, author of Black Moon

“How is it that an android is able to restore my faith in humanity so much better than humans?” – Romina Russell, author of Black Moon

“When you are an exile with no home, no personal agency, no living loved ones, no hope to keep your despair – that is when you are truly dead.” – Romina Russell, author of Black Moon

“I think conviction works against us when what we want to be true becomes more important than what is true.” – Romina Russell, author of Black Moon

“Freedom shouldn’t move like an arrow, in a singular direction. It should flow like an ocean, swallowing the whole horizon.” – Romina Russell, author of Black Moon

“Haven’t you noticed yet? We create our own darkness.” – Romina Russell, author of Black Moon


RATING

Exceeds Expectations (★★★★☆)

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