Stars, Teeth and Magic!
Coming to you from quarantine central with my bumfoot with another review for y'all. All The Stars & Teeth by Adalyn Grace was one of my most anticipated reads for this year. And while the book itself didn't disappoint and I really loved the complexity of the plot.... but.... I have some buts so here we go!
Lets stay with the magic system in this world. This bad boy was massive. The main character of this book Amora Montara is the next in line for the throne of Visidia. In this world you can only reign over one magic sector for your entire life and once you choose that that's it. But each island in her kingdom is a hub for a different kind of magic, whether it be healing or curse magic, control of the elements etc etc. And if you try and harness the ability of the different magic there are major consequences. Soul magic is a rarity in this world on whose of the Montara line have the ability to use it. But the baseline of this plot is that a banished part of the kingdom is attempting to use soul magic/a second kind of magic. And as the story goes along you learn more and more about all the different kinds that this story has and what they can do what their limits are. And you also see some very clever and unique ideas that Grace structures the world with. I really enjoyed this aspect of the book. It gave Amora, a wonderful story arc and I think it was extremely creative... not only that but there is a lot to juggle when if came down to it all. And while I did love this magic system it was a bit overwhelming until you really broke it down.
Now here's my biggest issue with this book. I could not stand Amora. She came across as a know-it-all whose worlds slowly crumbles around her as she finds out the truth surrounding her kingdom. And as I write more and more reviews.... I'm finding that there are two ways for these kinda characters to go. We either spend enough time getting to know the character in different shades... or all you see is royal and that's that. This was a case of what I'm gonna call the royal personality bug. Amora was very confident that even with everything unraveling she is still overly confident in her abilities with her soul magic and then acts like a spoiled brat devastated when she doesn't end up with the answers she wants. Not only that but the way she talks about her magic through the entire book really made me feel as if she genuinely believed her magic to be the best and only that anyone would want. Obviously the bad dude wants it so it has to be. I needed more from her character so that these entitled immature qualities would seem maybe less harsh. If just seemed like even with this amazing story happening around her she did not change. So with the ending of the book being what it was my interest is very much piqued to see what happens to her in the next book.
Another thing I was just blown away by was Grace's ability to take creatures that readers already know such as mermaids and the kraken and make them new again. She gives them new life and makes them her own with her own portrayal. Not only that but the description that goes into it was beautiful as well. Taking something so well known and making it all you own really showcases an author's ability to create. And this was done flawlessly.
My last point which I'm struggling to put in the positive or negative column is the underlying story of magic itself combined with all of Bastian's connects and Amora's too... Without being spoilery... there is a lot of extraneous circumstances that bring our characters to where they are. And all of it comes out at the same time versus a slow come to Jesus moment or having Bastian's truth come out and then the Montara's... its literally all dropped on the reader's lap within a matter of chapters and I found myself struggling to remember which components fell into which character's back story. That being said both angles were extremely interesting and well crafted. Plus holy wow the Montara's bloodline were assholes. Again without being spoilery. But it left me muddled as there was just so much all saved for the ending of this book that everything kinda eclipsed. It felt like someone had hit fast forward on the book itself at the end and I would have liked a little more time to process all the different parts. I would have read more pages if it meant understanding it all a little better.
That being said. This book was highly thrilling and I enjoyed the cast of characters that you find along the way. I think this plot was very well thought through and all the components in it were so meticulousluy sewn together that it makes for stellar first book in this series! I gave it a four star rating and will hands down coming back to see where it goes!
These pages take me places! And I cannot wait to see where I got next!
Once again I hope to find you all well and healthy and staying safe. I know I am doing my best. Not only that but I'm sending out good vibes to all of you and remind you that our physical health is not the only thing we need to take care of. I have been practicing a lot more self care and love recently because I have been overwhelmed with all the changes life has taken. Take time for you and your mental health!!
All my love!