ALL THE STARS AND TEETH, by Adalyn Grace , Imprint, Feb. 4, 2020, Hardcover, $17.99 (young adult)
Adalyn Grace’s All the Stars and Teeth is one of the darkest, grisliest books I’ve read in a while. It’s an acquired taste that will have some begging for more and others turning away.
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 stowaway she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever. —Synopsis provided by Imprint
All the Stars and Teeth is the first book in a duology that left me feeling more ambivalent than anything else.
On the one hand, Adalyn Grace is a strong world builder that pulls you in immediately. Her detail is impressive. And that attention to detail makes a big impact. Amora’s magic is so gruesome it comes across as a shock. And while I think the repugnance associated with it is key to the entire story, it has a serious ick factor to it that I never felt comfortable with.
The pacing throughout All the Stars and Teeth could be a little bit tighter. I found myself wandering a few times. But on the whole, it’s a solid book.
Grace is a very good writer. And while I’m not sure I would enjoy the second book in this duology, I certainly see the merit in it. I’m interested to see more for from this author if only for comparison sake.
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