Fantasy, romance

The Awakening by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti

This one was a real surprise!

Themes: New Adult, fantasy, romance

The synopsis

If you’re one of the Fae, elemental magic is in your blood. And apparently it’s in ours. As twins born in the month of Gemini, we’re a rare breed even in this academy of supernatural a-holes.

Changelings were outlawed hundreds of years ago but I guess our birth parents didn’t get the memo. Which means we’re totally unprepared for the ruthless world of Fae.

Air. Fire. Water. Earth.

No one has ever harnessed all four of them, until we arrived. And it hasn’t made us any friends so far.

As the rarest Elementals ever known, we’re already a threat to the four celestial heirs; the popular, vindictive bullies who happen to be some of the hottest guys we’ve ever seen. It doesn’t help that they’re the most dangerous beasts in the Academy. And probably on earth too.

Our fates are intertwined, but they want us gone. They’ve only got until the lunar eclipse to force us out and they’ll stop at nothing to succeed.

We never knew we had a birthright to live up to but now that we do, we intend to claim our throne.

We can’t expect any help from the faculty when it comes to defending ourselves. So if the dragon shifters want some target practice, the werewolves want someone to hunt or the vampires fancy a snack then we have to be ready. But we’ve been looking after each other for a long time and fighting back is in our blood.

Today’s horoscope: totally screwed.

The review

You know when you are really liking a book and you are wondering why? The first book of Zodiac Academy is exactly giving me this feeling.

First, I must say that this book is about a topic that I usually do not look for in books or even like: bullying. But one of my favourite booktuber has been talking about this series in the past months and just made me want to read it (yes, I am weak). Plus, I was in a bit of a reading slump and the idea of a fantasy school romance just triggered my interest.

And if you are looking for a dark academia type of romance, you have found it! Our two heroines end up in a magic school based on the zodiac signs (quite originals) which are themselves linked to an element. So, each part of the school is built according to one of them and I have to say that the descriptions were easy to read and efficient in giving me a mental picture of the setting.

I also enjoyed the fact that for once the characters are a bit older than what I recently had in my readings. I especially liked Tory who is nothing like a princess and does not back up in front of the Heirs (the exchanges she has with Darius are just hilarious). What I found really interesting is the fact that we are expecting friendship and romance between the twins and their bullies is exactly the fact that they are bullies. I was wondering (and still am) how I will like or root for any of them. In any case, the one I am absolutely not rooting for is Darcy and her incapacity of taking care of herself or surviving without her sister – really her behaviour is the one of a 14-year-old at best. I also had a hard time with the amount of bullying they endure without fighting back while they are supposed to be the “most powerful ever seen”. I am sorry but if I had their powers, was readily bullied, still had friends and then discover that people can coerce me into doing silly or even dangerous things, I would ask those friends to train me and just skip my sleeping time to solve the issue, no? This book made me also a bit uneasy with the way vampires are taking blood from people, which is basically an assault.

In brief: given the simplicity of the plot and the writing, the repetitions, the bullying and the weird timeline, you could expect me to hate this book. Weirdly enough, this is absolutely not the case! I really enjoyed it and even have the second volume coming next week! So, I would say if you are not triggered by bullying give it a chance, it might surprise you as it did with me.

My rating: 3.5/5


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