Cover All the Stars and Teeth: The book title surrounded by a spine with various objects (skulls, daggers, fish tails etc)

About the Book

Title: All the Stars and Teeth (All the Stars and Teeth #1)
Published: 2020
Series: All the Stars and Teeth
Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Cover Story: Up My Alley
BFF Charm: Roger Murtaugh
Talky Talk: Adequate
Bonus Factors: Magic
Relationship Status: Work Conference Acquaintances

Cover Story: Up My Alley

I’m pretty sure more than half of the ocean/pirate-y themed books we’ve reviewed here at FYA are done by me, so you know this kinda shizz is up my alley. Having the text in the center in focus is fine, but the little details on the sides are what make this cover shine. Every corner has something to do with the book, and the eel skeletons are appropriately creepy and delightful.

The Deal:

In Viridia, Amora believes her family has a divine right to rule due to the special soul magic within their blood only they possess (AKA the ability to read souls and also basically make creepy voodoo dolls out of their teeth and hair and such to torture them). All their subjects have an affinity for one of the other kinds of magic that populate the seven islands that make up their kingdom: time, elemental, curse, enchantment, etc. On the night Amora is to demonstrate her abilities to prove her eligibility as heir to the throne, she gets overwhelmed by her power and the eyes of everyone watching, and mercilessly kills a man.

Amora is facing down an execution when a pirate from the banished island of Zudoh breaks her out of prison and offers her a tantalizing opportunity: help him break a curse that cost him his magic and free his imprisoned island, and Amora will become so beloved the kingdom will be forced to give her another chance. Even though she’s heir to the throne, Amora knows woefully little about the kingdom she will rule, so she jumps at the chance to gain the knowledge her father has hidden from her—and for the opportunity to be a hero, natch. But can she be who her subjects need her to be when she’s confronted with the truth about her family’s history?

BFF Charm: Roger Murtaugh

BFF charm with Roger Murtagh from Lethal Weapon's face.

Amora’s father has refused to teach her anything about how their kingdom runs her entire life. She doesn’t know the political climate, who’s rebelling and why, ANY state secrets, nada. She’s never even stepped foot off the royal island and, for a person whose entire nation is made up of islands, she’s never been taught to use a boat! How, you must be asking, is she supposed to be a good leader?? How the heck does she even have the false confidence to believe she’d BE a good ruler?

So with all that taken into account, I found Amora’s personality a bit rough around the edges. She spends most of the book firmly believing she’ll rule well because she was born to. That’s…not how any of this works. Once that notion was finally tested, it rocks her world perspective, but by that point her naivety was making me as weary as Roger M. And if she is supposed to be as willfully headstrong as she’s written to be, I found it hard to believe she hadn’t—like any good enterprising YA protag—found a secret hidey-hole in which to spy on her dad’s council meetings or snuck into his office to read his work journal; something.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Bastian the pirate has a sad backstory and big biceps, and he’s also a little cheeky and irreverent with his princess, which I like. I don’t know if you can really call him a pirate—it seems we’re playing fast and loose with that term nowadays—as he’s really just more of a sailor, but he was nice enough and provided some minor tingles in his flirtations with Amora.

Talky Talk: Adequate

Grace’s debut is a lightweight fantasy with an interesting concept and decent enough execution. I find I can’t really muster up much enthusiasm to complain or to praise. As a fantasy- and apparent pirate-lover, I’ve read my share of sea-faring, magical adventures, but this book doesn’t bring anything new and shiny to the genre or completely wreck it on the rocks. The shocking twists and surprise reveals were telegraphed long before they happened, and I wanted more excitement in what felt like a pretty hefty read. The last couple of chapters, right as the action finally got, well, action-y, the descriptions become a bit confusing—ooooor I may have stopped caring to read every word. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

If you’re newer to the fantasy genre and this book sounds interesting, then read it! If you want more complicated world structures and are a fantasy master, then I’d say you can pass on this and not miss much.

Bonus Factor: Magic

Open book with moving pages in front of a glowing blue sphere and twinkle lights

After learning about all the different kinds of magic you can do, Amora’s soul power honestly sounded a bit lame. But the enchantment magic the people of Mornute practiced, like the ability to temporarily change aspects of your looks, the colors of things, illusions and such? Sounds way more fun. Also, those who practice restoration magic can literally chop off parts of their body and regrow them. Gnarly!

Relationship Status: Work Conference Acquaintances

As an introvert, going to a conference alone is nerve-wracking. But then you find someone like this Book, who is pleasant enough to wander the booths with and engage in polite small talk. And so you’re grateful for the companionship at the time, but now that it’s over, let’s just say you aren’t exactly racing over to LinkedIn to add them as a contact.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Imprint. I received neither money nor peanut butter cups in exchange for this review. All the Stars and Teeth is available now.

Stephanie (she/her) is an avid reader who moonlights at a college and calls Orlando home. Stephanie loves watching television, reading DIY blogs, planning awesome parties, Halloween decorating, and playing live-action escape games.