ALL THE STARS AND TEETH | Adalyn Grace
Series: Book 1
Hardcover: 373 pgs.
Publication Date: February 4, 2020
“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 read this one mostly due to FOMO, since I’d been seeing it floating around the blogosphere and blowing up my updates page on Goodreads. The buzz drew me in, along with the cover because I mean, come on, look at it. IT’S GORGEOUS. That being said, I have to honestly confess that I was not as taken with the book as some might be.
As a debut, All the Stars and Teeth is solid. The writing isn’t exceptional, but it does flow nicely and Adalyn Grace’s descriptions are rich and textured. The world-building flourishes as she describes, in great detail, the stunning environments, outlandish clothing, and cultural quirks of specific locations and peoples.
The author delivers a magic system that is unique and gruesome in some ways. I especially loved the dark, twisted nature of Amora’s magic. The brutality of her soul magic and how ruthlessly she acquires the materials (bone, body parts of the target, and fire) she needs to carry out her magical practices was shockingly frank and a bit jarring in some cases.
However, because Amora needs three things for her to use her magic as a weapon, it made it hard to believe she would be useful at all. What are the chances you would find fire readily accessible to you while in battle? Or while on a ship out at sea? What happens if you lose all your bones? What then? The only thing that can save you at this point is deus ex machina and extreme suspension of disbelief.
While I loved the the imagery, the magic, the lore of Visidia, and the siren-esque version of a mermaid, I wasn’t much captured by the characters. Bastian was a typical love interest with a thin backstory and Amora lacked compelxity. Her main and only thought was that she was “Amora Montara, princess of Visidia, and heir to the throne of the High Aromancer,” repeated ad nauseum. She very much reminded me of Inigo Montoya (
Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.) There wasn’t much else to Amora, other than she liked the sea and cared about her people or how well she could serve them as a potential ruler. Though these were good qualities, I still felt very disconnected to her character since there wasn’t much to hold on to in the first place.
The only character I really liked was Ferrick and he was mostly a side character. In fact, I wish that he had been given a little bit more room to shine since he was honest and likable.
I couldn’t get invested in the romance since the main characters weren’t impressionable. And their connection seemed to just happen. Besides the main characters, the villain was lackluster and was introduced far too late in the book. His name was mentioned throughout the story but we only see him for the last 1/4 of the book.