Like the first three books in the Zodiac series, this book was packed with exciting twists. I was drawn in from the first page. Halfway through this novel, I felt like there was so much left that could possibly happen and so few pages for everything to happen in. However, Romina Russell really pulled it off. All of my questions were answered by the end and I felt incredibly satisfied. Although I thought this was a really good ending, I wouldn’t have minded an epilogue because I would like to know a little bit more about the characters’ futures.
I really enjoyed the fact that Rho had a bit of a darker side in this book, something we hadn’t seen before throughout the series. Of course I was frustrated by some of her decisions, but in a way I appreciated that she didn’t always do the right thing. A lot of main characters are portrayed as perfect heroes, always making good decisions. In Thirteen Rising, Rho makes some bad choices and shows that she is flawed. However, this is not a bad thing because it made her more relatable. In real life, people don’t always do the right thing and no one is perfect. It makes sense that anyone in Rho’s position might crack under the pressure, and it was interesting to see her get fed up with everything and try a new approach to the situation. Eventually, she does come around and makes things right.
A lot of the things I liked so much about the other books were also present in Thirteen Rising, including the diverse characters and captivating settings (I maintain that Russell is an amazing world-builder). Another thing I really appreciated throughout the series were the themes. Like I mentioned in my review for Black Moon, there is an emphasis on acceptance, respect, and equality. Also, sacrifice becomes increasingly more present throughout the series. There were so many heart-breaking losses in Thirteen Rising. Furthermore, one concept I really admired throughout this novel was friendship. I feel as though several of the YA novels I read are more focused on love interests. While there are romantic elements in the Zodiac series, Rho never forgets the significance of her friendship with Nishi. I appreciated the strength of their bond. Overall, in creating this fantasy series Russell succeeded not only in creating a new and exciting galaxy, but also managed to send messages that are important in the real world.
I can’t believe this series is over. I loved it from beginning to end and I would absolutely recommend it.