*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Title: All the Stars and Teeth
Author: Adalyn Grace
Publication Date: February 4, 2020
Synopsis from Goodreads:
As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer — the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic. When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.
Ah, yes! This was just what I needed. I’ve been reading a ton of literary fiction and some nonfiction lately, so this was the perfect, easy, all-consuming YA that I needed to balance out my reading life. I was nervous at first, but this novel proved me wrong. All the Stars and Teeth seemingly begins at the end: Amora is claiming her title as the High Animancer of Visidia, a position that she has trained for her whole life. Although she is, hereditarily speaking, next in line to take over from her father, she must still prove herself worthy and capable. Everything seems to be going to plan. But her coming of age ceremony ends in despair and disaster, leaving Amora with no options but to run.
There are a number of things I really enjoyed about this book. First, is that I honestly couldn’t see what was coming, or where this was going to go. Grace’s writing style harkens back to YA’s before the market was over-saturated. It’s an epic adventure tale with so many twists and turns, it’s impossible to know where the story is going to end up next. Yes, it has the classic romance: “supposed to marry the boy I’ve known my whole life but don’t love, but end up falling for a wholly unsuitable guy who’s obviously super hot and perfect” vibes. But this story is so much more than that, and it’s so well written that I can forgive this romance trope that’s all too common in YA lit today. I was excited by this read. I actually couldn’t put it down. And despite having an 8-month-old at home, I devoured this book in 2 days.
Second, I loved, loved, loved that Amora is incredibly imperfect. In fact, she almost reads like a villain, rather than a beloved protagonist. Amora’s magic is full of darkness and it threatens to consume her. She is not infallible or impervious to the beast. Her magic requires control, and that’s something that she struggles with. There are many villainous beings in her world and many mistaken rulers. It’s questionable whether Amora is truly suitable for the crown, yet we, the readers, still root for her. You actually can’t help but come to really like her as the story goes on. She’s honest and truly wants to do what’s right for the people.
Overall, I am happy to have had this in my TBR. I’m only sorry it took me so long to get to it!