Monday, April 12, 2021

All the Stars and Teeth - Adalyn Grace

Summary: Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice.

She will reign.

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.

But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder — and more peril — than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.

I am the right choice. The only choice. And I will protect my kingdom. (Summary and pic from

My Review: In case you haven’t noticed, this book has some beautiful cover art. I always appreciate a good cover and I think this one alludes to what it is in the genre (because there are lots of books in this genre that look somewhat like this) but also stands on its own. The cover art! It was great!

It’s always fun to read a pirate book, is it not? I feel like I’ve read several books about the sea lately that could be cousins to this book (not including the ones about the sea that aren’t like this book): Fable, The Vanishing Deep, and the House of Salt and Sorrows. If you took those books and married them with Stephanie Garber’s Caravel series and sprinkled in some Black Witch Chronicles, and Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen series, this book would come shooting out with a glorious cover and a pirate theme. And it did and here we are.

I realize that I am not necessarily the audience of this book (because I am old and jaded), and so reading lots of books that are very similar is a good thing for a YA reader. Getting a YA reader to read is the point. If there are series that are like other series that lead to more and more reading, it’s a win. For this, I am very happy about this book. First of all, the main character is a strong female character, which is always a good thing. However, she is not strong without faults, and there are some points in the book where she is forced to evaluate herself and her family and how she was raised and examine the beliefs she’s been taught with a more discerning eye. I think we could all use a little more of this, and teaching YA readers to do this, and to show them it’s okay and also that there can be a resolution of old beliefs and new beliefs together is a really good thing. I very much appreciated that. Secondly, it was a book that moved quickly. The story moved along at a good clip with lots of exciting action. I read this book in a short time and I enjoyed it. There were definitely some parts that made me think, which is not always the case for books in this genre, and there were lots of times when I rolled my eyes at place names or made up names of characters that were just a little too ridiculous. I’m okay with names that seem foreign or fantastic, but sometimes (and in all YA books like this) there are always a few makes that make me roll my eyes and come back down to my old and jaded self.

As with all YA fic books worth their salt there is a love story, and this one is complicated and gets more complicated as things go on. That’s ok as well. Grace gives credit to Stephanie Meyer for her love of YA fic and desire to write, but I’m glad she was smart enough to not base the love story off of some of Meyer’s less healthy love stories. It seems for a while, thanks to Meyer, the gold standard was for older fantastical men in power positions to engage in stalking and inappropriate behavior for about a decade or so. There is a sticky love situation that happens at the end of this book that I’m hoping will be resolved in a less icky and dependent manner, and so far, it looks like it will be, but time will tell. PSA to authors: If you are writing a love story, please try and at least model healthy behaviors. Or if they’re not healthy behaviors, make that obvious and show a way out or something. I’m over the love stories that feed into toxic behavior on either party’s end.

For the most part, although I didn’t feel like this story was super original, there was some fun stuff like magic and abilities and all sorts of mythical creatures that made it exciting and a fun read. I think YA readers will really dig it. It’s definitely a good book to read if your YA reader enjoyed any of the books mentioned above, or the plethora that I didn’t mention that are similar. Look for my review of the sequel, All the Tides of Fate, next Monday!

My Rating: 3 stars

For the sensitive reader: Although there isn’t language, there is quite a bit of violence and gore, some of it explicit, and one fairly steamy love scene (without having sex).

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