While threats still loom after Zodiac (2014), vilified Rho must pick up the pieces.
On a Cancrian colony on the surface of the Capricorns’ planet, Rho is haunted by both the deaths she’s seen and the ones she feels responsible for, as well as dealing with the dramatic reversal of public opinion toward her. She also learns the reason why the armada fell apart: sabotage by Risers, those born in one House who shift to another. Furthermore, the Riser population is rising. The Risers—mentioned in the first book—become a major plot point here, leading to thought-provoking dilemmas about how to handle violence coming from oppressed minorities. Rho—still flawed and nuanced, a delightfully conflicted reluctant leader—struggles to find her voice again after having been so thoroughly shut down. Making it difficult is what she has to report: nemesis Ophiuchus reaches out to her with a terrible warning, as well as an offer, and Rho doesn’t know if she should trust him. She doesn’t have much time to decide; terrorist group Marad is ramping up the violence and the brutality. While this story unfolds, Rho pieces her way through the Trinary Axis chapter of Zodiac history that was hinted at as terrible in the first installment, finding parallels that help shape her character development. After twists, action, and heartbreak, the ending sets up the next in the series.
A thematically powerful ride. (Science fiction. 14 & up)