Hi and welcome back to my blog! Today's post is a tour blog stop for the FFBC's tour for All The Stars and Teeth. I'll be sharing the synopsis, a bit about Adalyn Grace, and my review!
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.
About the Author:
Adalyn Grace graduated Summa Cum Laude when she was 19-years-old. She spent four years working in live theater, and acted as the managing editor of a nonprofit newspaper. During and after college, she studied storytelling as an intern on Nickelodeon Animation’s popular animated show, The Legend of Korra (sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender). She was a participant in Pitch Wars 2016, and is a former literary agent intern for an established agency.
Adalyn splits time between San Diego and Arizona with her bossy cat and two dorky dogs, and spends her days writing full time while trying to find the city’s best burrito.
She has several projects in the works, and hopes to continually push the boundaries and explore the limits of upper young adult fiction.
*Thank you to FFBC and Imprint Reads for providing me with an ARC of this book. Some parts may have been changed as I did not read the final book. Please know that all of the expressed thoughts are my honest opinions.
All the Stars and Teeth was easily a five star read for me! It's a highly anticipated book for this month and year, so my expectations were high. I am so happy to stay that it was even better than expected! (And if you've been following my reviews for a while, then you know how rare it is for a hyped book to meet or exceed my expectations.)
In the Goodreads summary, Adalyn Grace includes a warning about the content in the book.
Here it is:
"Violence and Death: There are 7 main forms of magic in this book. One of the most commonly used ones is violent in nature, requiring blood/skin/bones, or other parts of the body. The methods to obtain these are often violent and sometimes torturous in nature. There's a blanket statement on this book for on-page graphic violence, blood, and murder.
There are several character deaths throughout the novel. One of these deaths is death by suicide.
There is self injury (fingernails digging into the palms to the point of blood) in chapter 31
There is a brief moment of animal abuse (no animal death) in chapter 29.
A character mentions past attempted sexual assault in chapter 19.
There is a severely toxic relationship that portrays emotional and physical abuse (gripping too tightly/fingers digging into skin) in chapter 29.
There is on page drinking as well of mentions of alcohol throughout the novel."
First, I want to talk about the world! ATSAT focuses on the seven islands, each focusing on a different type of magic (I'll talk about the magic next). At times, it was difficult to envision the world and how they all interacted with one another, but the map did help. The descriptions of each island were vibrant and distinct. Because of the descriptions, I was also able to better associate islands with their magic. For example, Mornute, symbolized by a rose beryl, practices enchantment magic. They are also known for their elaborate parties, fashion, and whimsical nature.
Additionally, magic plays a massive part in the story. The background for magic on each island is given, but if you know me, you know I invariably want more details. Some magic is the basic enchantment or elemental type, but others are totally unique and as a result, my favorites. The MC, Amora Montara, and her family possess soul magic. Besides being able to see someone's soul –– the worse of a person you are, the worse your soul looks –– she can use hair and or blood from a person to bond them to a bone. Then, the bone acts like a voodoo doll –– whatever Amora does to the bone happens to the person. It does get a bit gruesome at parts, but that is somewhat the nature of the magic. My other favorite magic was restoration magic. Most people only possess one of the types of healing magic: the ability to heal others or the ability to heal yourself. If you have the latter magic and your leg gets cut off at the knee, you can “regrow” it; kinda epic.
Amora Montara is the main character, the daughter of the High Animancer—the master of souls. She has been training to take over her father's position her whole life to continue the monarchy and to keep her people safe. Easily my favorite thing about Amora is that she's a morally gray character. Most of the time, the MCs have a clear cut stance on whatever problem they are facing, and they are used as a comparison for the morality of the other characters. I rarely see a character like Amora –– except for Jude from The Cruel Prince. She is also incredibly fierce! While somethings may scare Amora, she projects an image of a fearless leader. She isn't the pretty little princess that can't get her hand dirty. Often, she's one of the first into the fray, fighting to protect her friends and herself. She isn't afraid to take a power position, which is so incredibly wondrous. And, like any good character, she makes mistakes and learns from them. She takes her failures and tries her hardest to make it better. The internal conflict and character choices and mistakes make her feel more realistic because let's be honest, who actually makes all the right decisions and is always sure of the right thing to do. No one.
While Amora is the main character, she meets and interacts with plenty of others. The three other people she sails with are vital to her development and I loved watching their interactions. One of these characters is Bastian, a pirate with a mysterious background. At first, I didn't know where I stood on his character, but as the story continued, and he grew and his history revealed itself, I began to warm up to him. And a lot of the characters are that way. Being on a ship, there are tight quarters without a place to storm off to when mad. I found that these situations, and the life-threatening ones (there are plenty), helped to reveal a character's real personality. Each primary character has their own strengths and talents too, which aid in the journey. Vataea is a vicious mermaid who quickly shows that there's more to her than her looks. She's devious and has no qualms about doing what she needs to do to survive –– and maybe having a little fun all the while.
One of my biggest takeaways is that Adalyn Grace's writing is spectacular! With a book like ATSAT, it's easy to either get too in-depth with the world and magic or leave the reader confused without any knowledge of the world. I know that I said I wanted more details in regards to the magic, but that's just my personal preference. By the time the journey started, I felt well acquainted with the islands and some of the magic. The pace also worked well for the book. There weren't too many slow parts as there always seemed to be a surprise at every turn. It did get a bit exhausting at points, but the story needed that tempo to reflect the pressure and urgency the crew was on. Furthermore, the immersion into Visidia's island kingdom was effortless. As I've mentioned before, ATSAT has a complex world and it needs more explanation than usual to understand. And while the book was descriptive, the descriptions weren't clunky or used as filler.
Overall, Grace wrote a magnificent book that I will be reading many times over. At first, I was suspicious of all the hype (it's being called 2020's biggest YA Fantasy), but by the second chapter, I was a believer. There are so many unique and special aspects to this book that make it unforgettable. Two elements, in particular, are the magic system and Amora's fierce and morally gray character. Both added so much to the reading experiences, and I couldn't recommend this book more!
Have you been hearing about ATSAT or have read it? Let me know by leaving a comment below; I'd love to hear your thoughts!