Genre: Fantasy (Young Adult)
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: 04/08/20
All the Stars and Teeth joins my short list of books I’ve put and immediately wanted to read the next one in the series. (Along with Spin the Dawn, The Cruel Prince, and the first two Shades of Magic books. Oh and The Never Tilting World.) And I mean this in a really, really good way. It’s the kind of book that completely absorbs you into the world and characters, and although the end of this nicely wraps up the first book, there’s still that sense of wanting more.
Visidia is an island kingdom, with the inhabitants of each island practicing a different type of magic. Amora is destined to become the heir, but to do so she must demonstrate her mastery over the monarchy’s soul magic. Having more than one magic is dangerous, and it is up to the monarchy to ensure their people follow the rules. But when Amora’s demonstration goes wrong, she discovers there are dangers threatening her kingdom, and she must travel with the pirate Bastian, across the water, in order to save Visidia.
Amora starts off completely sure of her and her family’s place in the world, but as the story progresses, we see her understand how much has been kept hidden from her. I really liked the development of her character, and how she remains strong throughout the story, determined no matter how many setbacks and complications they face.
I also really appreciated the relationships in the book. Amora travels with the pirate Bastian and her betrothed, Ferrick. Whereas it felt like this could have tripped into ‘typical’ love triangle territory, Grace avoids that. Their relationship has been arranged by their parents, but it becomes clear Ferrick’s feelings towards Amora are different than hers for him. Still, she cares about him, and they do make a good pair, with Ferrick’s presence able to enhance Amora’s magic.
I really liked the magic aspect to this, too. I love stories that deal with magic, and the oppression/suppression of magic, and normally these are about those without restricting those with. But I really liked the world created here, and the idea that people could practice more than one ‘type’, but to do so would be dangerous to them and others.
As a character, Amora was really easy to engage with, and right from the start I wanted to stick with her and root for her. Bastian was intriguing as a pirate, and Ferrick helped balance out the other two. Later, Vatea – a mermaid – joins the crew, and she’s another fantastic character. The four together make a great team, and the interactions and dialogue between them felt natural and real.
They visit a small number of islands, and seeing the different places really emphasised how little Amora knows about her kingdom. The worldbuilding throughout is solid, drip-feeding just enough information to the reader without it being overbearing, and keeping us desperate to find out more, too.
This is a really enjoyable, strong, fantastic YA Fantasy, with a heroine who doesn’t give up and is an absolute joy to read. The only thing I don’t like is that I’m going to have to wait for the sequel.
You can find out more about the author here.
Thank you to Titan Books for providing a copy of this book via NetGalley.