The end of the world as we know it, happens with the awakening of the beings known as the Zodia, in Casey L. Bond’s newest YA Fantasy offering. These beings, familiar to us as the Zodiac signs from ancient mythology once ruled over assigned swaths of the Earth, and for the most part were cruel, and ruthless sovereigns, who assigned no true value to human life. The Zodia ruled the people born under their sign, and saw them primarily as a means of obtaining the energy necessary to ensure their own survival. To Larken, they are murderous monsters…except for Aries. Aries is different, wanting the best for his people, and desiring to keep them safe from the other Zodia… but it is Larken he wants to protect above all. Things That Should Stay Buried revolves around the mystery of who, or what, Larken is, and why her fate is so important to the balance of power among the Zodia, and to the future of humankind itself. No pressure right?
Larken is a likable heroine; before the world ends, she is a typical seventeen year old student athlete, worrying about college scholarships, personal records in track, and prom. She is the all-American girl next door type. Her twin brother, Kres, on the other hand is anything but normal, and holds the key to the secret of Larken’s identity and the rise of the Zodia. And then, there is brooding, alpha male Aries, who is at turns primal and then utterly sophisticated, leaving Larken weak in the knees. The story contains many sweet moments between Larken and Kres, who are truly devoted to each other despite their differences, and between Larken and Aries as they navigate feelings for each other that they don’t believe can ever be a source of lasting fulfillment. Things That Should Stay Buried is a romance, but it is also a story about the ties that bind us to our blood family, and to the family that we choose. It is a story about what it means to be a monster, and what role nature and personal choice play in the making of a monster. And in these areas, this book delivers a wonderful, magical tale, that is difficult to put down.
My only disappointment with this book, is with the lack of closure for the people of Earth, or signs of a clear path forward for humanity. Some of the Zodia are exceedingly cruel, and show no desire to change their ways. Talk of revolution seems to fall flat and be lost in the background noise of the story, as the focus shifts to zero in on the romance between Larken and Aries. The book advances the idea that change is good, and that humanity was too tied to technology (particularly smart phones), and that a return to the basics would be a positive idea. While I definitely agree that we are too dependent on our phones, in my opinion, the idea that people would just roll over and accept the world of the Zodia seems unlikely, particularly when thinking about young people from democratic societies. But perhaps that leaves open the possibility of a sequel, which is something I would certainly welcome.
Things That Should Stay Buried is an exciting summer read. It offers up a delightful blend of romance, adventure, mystery, and magic, in one tale of destiny, written in the stars and defined by blood.