Book Review: All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace

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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.

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The first thing that captured my attention about this book was the gorgeous cover and I’m always enamored of stories about princesses who have to protect their kingdoms, so I knew I had to read this one. And I just flew through it in such a short time.

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I have seen a bit of mixed reviews for this book but I personally felt that the plot was very fast paced, and I couldn’t put it down for the most part. I loved the gorgeous descriptions of the different islands and the cultures, fashions and architectures which are unique to each of them. And even though I’m not that fond of water, I could totally feel the joy and the freedom that the main character feels when she is on the ship in the middle of the vast ocean. The different kinds of elemental magic are things we know about but the way they are distributed across the kingdom and the lore behind it is fascinating, and I especially liked seeing majestic sea monsters as well as seductive beautiful mermaids. I will not say the book is action packed, but the journey the characters undertake is pretty cool, with things happening all the time and I never got bored.

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The main character Princess Amora has grown up knowing she is the perfect leader for her kingdom and despite what happens in the beginning, she never loses sight of her goal. She may come across as naive and arrogant and privileged, which isn’t untrue, but I liked the fact that she understood and accepted her faults and tried to be better for her people. Her intent always remains to protect her kingdom, even when revelations about her family rock her whole existence and I liked that confidence in her.

Bastian is a pirate and his depiction is quite tropey but I enjoyed his character. He may come across as just a swashbuckling type, but his character really has a lot of depth and it was fascinating to know his backstory and what lengths he was ready to go to protect his island from being destroyed. Ferrick is a healer and honestly, one of the most selfless character I’ve read in a while who is doing the best he can in the situation he finds himself in, even when it’s not what he wants. He puts the needs of the kingdom before his own and I admired him a lot for his bravery. Vataea is a mermaid who has been imprisoned for her powers and Kong’s for freedom, but still decides to help the princess on her quest because she believes in honor and she was another brave character with wicked cool magic. I loved the changing nature of the bonds between each of these characters and how they built a trust through the course of the story and became the kind of crew everyone would love to have. There is also a budding romance which kind of changes into something unexpected towards the end and I’m quite interested to see what happens next.

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To conclude, this was a fun, fast paced, entertaining YA fantasy read with a cool magic system, gorgeous descriptions and likeable characters. Even though it can feel predictable or tropey at times, it did have its revelatory and satisfying moments and I found it a comforting read in my favorite genre, which is what I needed.

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