Book Review: Zodiac Academy: The Awakening (Supernatural Beast and Bullies #1)

Title: Zodiac Academy: The Awakening

Author: Caroline Peckham & Susanne Valenti

Pub. Date: August 2, 2019

Pages: 498

Pub: Independently Published

Genre: NA Paranormal Fantasy

Rating: ⭐️⭐️.5


You have been selected to attend Zodiac Academy, where your star sign defines your destiny.

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.

This will be a spoiler free review. I listened to the audiobook via Audible. 

I first saw this recommend on BookTok and honestly, that should have been my first warning.

Words and phrases like dark academia, dark Harry Potter, Draco+Hermione Romance and a few other choice clickbait things that made me go “ooo that sounds good, let me buy that.”

It sat on my kindle for a few months – I just didn’t have the time or the energy to read it.

Then I noticed that the audiobook came out, so I bought it and downloaded it. Right off the bat – the MC’s (the twin sisters) were damn annoying. The writing style left a lot to be desired and I was just seriously underwhelmed. But I kept going. I wanted to give it a fair chance and I was at work with nothing better to listen to. Okay, well that’s a lie, but I really wanted to find out if the book lived up to the hype I saw surrounding it on BookTok.

I know where they got Dark Harry Potter from – it’s set at a magical school – but honestly, this felt more like dark Winx Club. No, not the live action Netflix adaptation Winx Club – but like, if someone took the animated show, aged the characters up a few years and made it dark. I kind of found the whole thing ridiculous and I kind of wish I hadn’t read it – or wasted the money on it.

I know I’m being harsh, but y’all this book wasn’t it. I really don’t understand why it has such a high rating. From unlikeable MC’s, to really surface level writing with like, no description, a fucking convoluted af magic system that I couldn’t keep straight – it just wasn’t that good. Now, by the time I reached the end of the book I was wishing that all those things were big turnoffs for me, because the plot is actually kind of interesting. Like, if all those things were better – even marginally so – I could probably convince myself to read book 2 and the rest of the series. But as it stands, it’s not enough to keep me interested.

I guess I won’t say that I’ll never read book 2 (or the rest of the series) because curiosity might win out, but I’m not holding my breath.

I wasn’t a fan of the MC’s, so I’m not wasting time on them. I just found them to be annoying, immature and shallow.

As for the other Heirs, something must be wrong with me, because I liked them so much more, including the teacher. I get that this is a Bully Romance and therefore they’re going to be giant asses to the MC’s, but it was kind of annoying and just felt like they were being mean for the sake of being mean, instead of being rooted in actual emotion. But with that being said, I found them infinitely more interesting and entertaining to read about than the MC’s. I do wish the book had been multiple POVs with the 4 heirs included, instead of just the two sisters. I always find it more interesting when we get to see inside their (love interests) heads.

The magic system annoyed the shit out of me. Okay, tied to the Zodiac signs, cool, cool. I can get behind that. Fae…sure…oh but every kind of fae and/or supernatural creature known to man…okay that’s a lot to keep track of. And elemental magic?

Honestly if they’d just not used Fae anything in this book, it would have been so much better. Or even narrowed it down to just a few core creatures. But Zodiac signs tend to come with their own abilities and classifications + the elemental magic would have been more than enough. I couldn’t keep the magic system straight and it just felt jumbled and crowded.

Overall, this just wasn’t for me. I’m bummed because it honestly sounded like it would be. I am glad I stuck it out and finished the book, because the plot wasn’t necessarily bad. Maybe one day I’ll read the second one, but until then, I’m not going to really recommend this. If it sounds like something you might like, give it a go! It might be right up your alley! It might be a case where the first one is so-so and the rest are fantastic. If that’s the case, let me know LOL.

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