Monday, January 26, 2015

Review: Zodiac by Stan Lee; Stuart Moore

Ages 8-12
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Stan Lee presents a brand new, magical, super-powered adventure!
Think your life's too complicated? Use our handy Zodiac checklist and see:
1. Are you running for your life, hiding from a group of super-powered mercenaries, including a guy who can fly, breathe fire, and read people's minds?
2. Are your new friends, who saved you from the guy in question #1, possibly even more dangerous and definitely hiding something?
3. Are you suddenly able to punch through walls? (Which is, admittedly, pretty cool so far...)
4. Are you pretty sure that somehow this is all your parents' fault?
*Subsection 4(a): Are you also pretty sure that your parents are trying to take over the world?
5. All of this "running for your life" stuff means you're missing the start of school (at least that last part's not all bad).
If you've answered "yes" to any of these questions, well, keep on running. And welcome to Zodiac.

The premise of this book really excited me.

In Zodiac, Steven Lee suddenly finds himself with extraordinary powers after he stumbles upon a ritual while following a tour guide who was acting suspiciously. He's not the only one with new powers, though, as the powers of the animals of the Chinese Zodiac have been unleashed. Now he and his new team must find the others before the villain does.

The start of the book was a little confusing then a little bit meh for me. I mean, there was plenty of action from the start, but I wasn't feeling it at first. Things only started to get interesting for me in Chapter 5. Once things became clearer and the hunt for the other Zodiac members were on, it became more exciting. Pretty much every time someone used their powers after that was a highlight for me.

The story made me think of Avengers mixed with a little Jackie Chan Adventures. Of course, unlike the Avengers, Steven and his team are very inexperienced. Their opponents, on the other hand, are very combat-ready. That's why the battles were often lopsided, at first. I understand that Steven and his team don't have a warrior mentality, but it irritated me to no end. Jasmine and Carlos should really consider adding mental toughness to their training regimen, otherwise, they're in for a tough ride.

The members of Steven's team are pretty cool. My favorite character is Liam. He's tough, but he's laid-back. Steven is okay, but he still has a while to go before he matures. Maxwell, the villain, on the other hand, is like your typical evil villain or dictator. He's intelligent, believes that what he's doing is for a higher purpose or a greater good, but because he's morally bankrupt, he does terrible things.

The book is graphics-heavy, and the illustrations are predominantly black with shades of red. The style reminded me of The Punisher comics, for some reason. It's not my style, but Marvel fans will probably like it.

Thanks to NetGalley and Disney Book Group for the e-ARC.


  1. There's a lot of potential here.
  2. The characters are generally likable.
  3. The premise is interesting.


  1. Reading about Steven and his team getting pummeled will make you want to cringe. 


  1. If you find the Chinese Zodiac fascinating.
  2. If you like the Avengers.
  3. You like books about people with superpowers. 



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