BOOK REVIEW: The Awakening (Zodiac Academy #1) by Caroline Peckham & Susanne ValentiThe Awakening (Zodiac Academy #1)
by Caroline Peckham, Susanne Valenti
Purchase on: Amazon
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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.


I took a slow breath as I tried to process it all. “So what do you think me and Tory are, sir?” I asked, nervous of the answer.
He drummed his fingers on the desk then swallowed the last of his drink. “Trouble,” he muttered and I stiffened.

I think it goes without saying that I’ve lost my mind because this is exactly everything I avoid in a book or series when I have said head on shoulders correctly. That’s not to say I never WOULD have read this back in the day, perhaps when I didn’t know any better, but this is so far out of my realm right now that even I am shocked that I chose to go this route.

I won’t lie and say I’m feeling normal again-because I’m not-but I will say that I am desperate for some normalcy and sometimes digging deep and finding something that works for you in that particular moment in time is of paramount importance for personal defense and mental health. Do I condone this sort of bullying? I mean, no. Do I find this realistic whatsoever? No. Is the writing everything I cringe about on a daily basis and avoid at all costs? Yes and No. Does that make this any less entertaining or addicting? Hell no. And here we are, me knee deep in the series and complete and utter trash for it.

He leaned an inch closer to me and the space between us burned hot with raw energy for a moment and I suddenly felt like I was caught in a hunter’s snare. The worst thing of all was that I didn’t even want to break free. He had me and in that second we both knew it.

I will admit I’m a writing snob and I do like certain types of writing more than others-I generally avoid the more childish narrative (this is borderline, to be fair, as I don’t find it childish as much as having horrid sayings, but that’s a slippery slope as only I know writing styles that bother me). When I saw this pop up, though, I immediately decided I needed to read it. I think I have passed on it 100x because, as I said-Snob. But sometimes….ya just gotta let the reigns go-And I’m having literally the best time binge reading and it’s helping me get through these rather rough days as of late.

“Do you have a pirate fetish or something?” I blurted, eyeing the coins and gold with confusion.
“What?” he asked, his scowl somehow defying the laws of physics and finding a way to deepen.
“Well you’re half naked in a bed full of coins so either you’re doing something with them or putting them somewhere… inaccessible while fully dressed or I missed the memo about your enrolment in Captain Silver’s new fleet.”

^^DYING at the way these two GOAD these monsters.

It also helps-mind you-that I asked my bestie who the endgame ships are (I MUST KNOW OR I RAGE) so I could focus on the subtle nuances, the way certain characters interacted so I could lap it up instead of doing the age old ‘ah man, I wish I had known all this so I could have immersed more and now I have to re-read it’. We never re-read it. Never. Not hardly, anyway. Such is life and it’s an absolute fucking tragedy.

“You really don’t know anything do you?” he asked. “This is how my kind regenerate our power; from gold.”
“Oh.” I frowned at the coins again as I processed that. “So are you Order of pirate then? Do you transform into a one legged man with an eyepatch, a hankering for rum and a pet parrot?”

^So much joy.

THAT BEING SAID-I am LIVING for the moments between x and y because they are horrendous but oh so steamy (yes I am almost done with book two, so I can almost look past the murderous vibes (don’t judge me))

and moments between y and z because they clearly were meant to be, okay, and he’s not quite as abhorrent-though I am loving his absolute childish snark and off-handed way of barking orders at people.

And this is so important. I am finding more and more that for the nourishment of my health I need a good monthly or bi-monthly dose of sticky, ooey-gooey, passionate, and sickly-sweet trash. I don’t know where this came from-and so suddenly-but I blame covid wholeheartedly as that DRAGGED me out of my two year YA fantasy/fantasy win streak and threw me into a two month long contemporary streak and then, inevitably, led me to Crave (which I have avoided for years) (talk about a childish book , and yet, I loved it, too until I SAW MY GUY I FELL FOR GOT FUCKED OVER DIE A FIERY BURNING DEATH YES THIS IS WHAT I WAS REFERRING TO ABOVE I DO NOT GO IN BLIND FOR THIS REASON EVER DO YOU SEE WHY)…and now to this abomination of absolute fucking obsession that I did not want nor did I prepare for but I’ve chosen to embrace it. I think it’s going well.

So no, I do NOT care that the girls embrace others than they are meant to be with and NO I do not care that there are murderous moments without actual murder and NO I do not care that there is bullying I JUST WANT TO LIVE IN IT and thus is why I needed to know things ahead of time because now? Now I get to sit back and relax and enjoy this drama. I am cool as an icy demented cucumber.

And, I must say, though it’s not the level of fantasy writing I generally enjoy or strive to find, I don’t find it all that bad-I actually kind of enjoy the writing style and I don’t even get turned off by the cheesy horrendous catch phrases because it’s not horribly written in the least surrounding them. See? I can be civil and I can be fair. I can see reason. Where Crave had a definite ‘juvenile’ written feel, though extremely enjoyable, this series seems to have a higher level of footing, in my opinion. I do so love my toxic sludge, sometimes.

What’s the worst that can happen in a library anyway?
Tell that to the guy who was killed by Colonel Mustard with the candlestick.

So. Thus is my crazy life and this series is breathing life into it. I can’t say if I will love them all…but for now, they are my life force and they are addicting as all get out. I have a feeling that if these stay even A LITTLE close to the momentum they’re at now, I may very well be a fangirl by the end of the month. You’ve been warned.


aRiElLe-You know.
Cassie-I don’t think so. Not because you couldn’t love it, but don’t think you like toxic or bullying. I do lol
Anna-You don’t like Toxic but man I’d laugh at your reactions.
Jen-Probably lol I’d say if you knew ahead of time you’d like this as much as me.