Soul magic, pirates, and a turbulent sea combine in an intriguing and entertaining debut novel by Adalyn Grace.
Set in the vast land of Visidia, All The Stars and Teeth follows Princess Amora Montara, the next in a line of high animancers, the name given to a person who can wield soul magic. To prove that she is worthy of leading them, she must perform an act of her magic to convince them she won’t lose control to the beast that drives her power. When it goes horribly wrong, her people and family turn on her and she must trust a pirate with a daring plan to restore her place on the throne and return Visida to it’s glory.
I was really impressed with the world-building in the book and its cast of characters. It was just the perfect blend of a fun seafaring romp and epic fantasy, a fast-paced and enjoyable read that many YA readers will love. Fans of The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig will love having another ship to get aboard and a dashing rakish love-interest in pirate Bastian.
The book is also dark, not straying away from topics such as the morality and power dynamics of royalty and the price that comes with power. I enjoyed the agency that Amora displays as she sets about gaining her rightful place on the throne. The Crew of the Keel Haul that accompany Amora on her journey, Ferrick, Vatea and Bastian are fascinating and well-rounded. I love a good ensemble story and this one sold me immediately on their growing dynamic.
Readers of YA fantasy looking to enjoy a unique magic system will enjoy reading about Visida’s diverse magic. From soul magic to curse magic, I was thoroughly intrigued. Amora’s ability—requiring the blood of an enemy, a bone (she keeps a satchel of them on her) and fire—is truly terrifying and capable of bringing down even sea beasts.
The burgeoning love story between Bastian and Amora seems inevitable but necessary was also fun, if not a bit predictable. In fact, a brief twist in a character ARC might read as predictable but doesn’t detract from the overall delight of reading such a wondrous story. Aside from minor predictability, this was a very promising debut that lives up to the anticipation and buzz that surrounded the release! A must-read for fans of fierce feminist YA reads. I can’t wait to read more of what Adalyn Grace writes next.