If you’ve been looking for a pirate YA adventure with a morally grey female protagonist, fantastic squad banter, and a medium burn romance… be sure to pick up All the Stars and Teeth!
About All the Stars and Teeth
Publisher: Imprint | Release Date: February 4, 2020
Pages: 384 | Genre: YA, Fantasy | Format: eARC | Source: Publisher via Netgalley
She will reign.
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 am the right choice. The only choice. And I will protect my kingdom.
This post uses affiliate links and I may receive a small commission for purchases made through my links at no additional cost to you. Click here for more info.
My Review of All the Stars and Teeth
Narrative style: first person | Perspective(s): single
Well, I devoured this book in a five-and-a-half-hour sitting! If you’ve been looking for a pirate YA adventure with a morally grey female protagonist, fantastic squad banter, and a medium burn romance… be sure to pick up All the Stars and Teeth!
“Frigid air floods my lungs the moment I step outside. It’s coating in a thin veil of mist that wraps around my skin and sweetly coats my face, greeting me like a forgotten friend. The odor of brine and seaweed is thicker than I’ve ever known it.”
The writing is beautiful and descriptive, lush and vivid. The language flows but doesn’t overburden the narrative. As a person who has spent her life near the ocean, reading this book gives me the distinct feeling of being on the water with the wind in my hair and salty brine in my nostrils.
“Magic is part of a person’s being; everyone has it. You can learn it, study it, grow with it, but you cannot make it disappear once it’s yours. Even if you never use it, it’s still forever with you.”
For the most part, the worldbuilding and exposition is incredible. Visidia is an intricately built fantasy world. Effortlessly plotted, All the Stars and Teeth has a number of twists and turns. I will admit the pacing of the second and third chapters dragged for me. The book is in Amora’s first-person perspective, as a result I found these chapters a bit heavy-handed and repetitive in conveying her anxiety for her upcoming performance. It felt like I was beat over the head with foreshadowing, but chapter 4 hooked me and didn’t feel the narrative dragged in any other place.
(Speaking of chapter 4, Adalyn shared that she wrote it to the Witcher 3 soundtrack during her book launch event at Mysterious Galaxy. Before then, she didn’t really know ~how~ Amora’s magic would work. 🗡️ It explains a lot and I kind of love it! .)
But this just isn’t your run-of-the-mill pirate adventure! In addition to the fast-paced plot, battles with sea monsters, and various mysteries to solve, the cast of characters is lovable and complex with their own goals and distinct character arcs. And the romance?! It’s medium burn and swoony!
While Ferrick has my favorite character arc, Vataea is absolutely my favorite character of the book. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and Vataea’s fury for how she’s been treated by men knows no bounds. But she joins the Keel Haul crew and rounds off their found family in such an endearing way. A sapphic character who expresses curiosity about the opposite sex, Vataea isn’t broken by her experiences. I simply adore the Keel Haul crew and their found family.
There is this hilarious scene where Amora’s period begins, dirtying her white trousers to the abject horror of Bastian and Ferrick. They are so uncomfortable, suggesting that they catch her some salmon to help with her condition, and she is like “whatever this is just a fact of life” and goes about her business. An icon. I appreciate seeing menstruation normalized in fantasy!
“The mistakes I made in the past do not make me weak; instead, I’ll use them to become stronger. I’m done being afraid of my own power.”
All the Stars and Teeth discusses power and the cycle of violence perpetrated throughout generations. And one of my favorite things about this book is a revelation that I won’t even allude to, but it kicked up my love of this book a notch for sure! Suffice to say, the book is intensely feminist.
Overall, All the Stars and Teeth is an impressive YA debut and has the spirit of adventure woven into its pages. Absolutely no shade, but this is the book I hoped These Rebel Waves would be (I liked the book, but the marketing misled the community into thinking it is a pirate adventure). I am really looking forward to the second book in this duology!
[bctt tweet=”All the Stars and Teeth is the pirate fantasy we’ve been looking for with medium-burn romance, mermaids, and adventure! Check out this spoiler-free review to find out more!” username=”kalventure”]
Representation: lesbian side character (Vataea), periods
Content warnings: animal torture (pgs 299-301), blood magic, domestic violence, sexism
eARC provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected opinions in any way. Quotations are from an uncorrected proof and subject to change upon final publication. I have since purchased a finished copy.
Have you read All the Stars and Teeth yet? If so, what did you think?!
What piratey fantasy adventures would you recommend?
Let’s go on another adventure together!