In her debut novel, Hodgson invents a universe where nearly every star in the solar system contains life.
Teenage siblings Stella and Isaac lead a normal, if isolated, childhood on Earth. But after their parents’ sudden death, they learn that their mother and father were powerful royalty of the Zodiacs, the 12 constellations surrounding the sun. Stella and Isaac were raised in hiding after the evil Gershon overthrew the Zodiacs’ true rulers. (Their parents knew Gershon would never look for them on Earth, a place considered insignificant based on the low intelligence of its inhabitants.) Now, only Stella and Isaac possess the special skills to overthrow the vindictive regime and reclaim their rightful throne. While Isaac takes on the role of intrepid hero, Stella struggles with the circumstances: She lacks self-confidence and doesn’t believe she’s capable of saving the world. The characters’ feelings, spanning from incredulous to inquisitive to enlivened, are refreshingly believable within the book’s wholly fantastical setting. Despite their grief and naiveté, both teens prove to be natural leaders as they vow to avenge their parents’ deaths and to rescue the oppressed Zodians. But young Stella and Isaac don’t have to battle Gershon and his followers alone; winged horses from the Pegasus constellation volunteer to aid, as do dragons from Draco. Though they eventually face off with Gershon, Stella and Isaac spend the majority of the book practicing their powers—including an ability to travel as “Shooting Stars” from star to star—and learning the basics about the universe that is new to them, in preparation for a battle yet to come. There’s much that Hodgson can develop in future installments, and readers will be eager to learn more about this magical world.
A classic good-vs.-evil story set in a world ripe with opportunity for creative expansion.