Author: Adalyn Grace
Narrator: Shayna Small
Audiobook Length: 12 hours
Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice.
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.
I have been hearing a lot about the All the Stars and Teeth duology for quite some time, so I was very excited that I finally got around to, at least, reading the first novel. I believe I went into this story with my expectations set too high and that led some disappointment on my part by the time I got to the end. It is an adventure story that features pirates, mermaids, and a very unique and interesting magic system.
The story centers around Amora Montara who is the last High Animancer (master of souls). She will have her ceremony to become official that she has been training her whole life to become. She is a wielder of Soul Magic, which can control and destroy her enemies. The magic system in this series is interesting as there are many different types, so it is difficult to keep track of all of them as not every person wields the same type of magic. The events of the story are set into motion when Amora’s magic fails and she is thrown in a dungeon as one of the many consequences that came from this failure.
Amora escapes the dungeon and flees her kingdom in search for answers. She wants to figure out her failing powers and to find a way to stop the threat of the power-hungry Kaven from stealing the throne. When she finds her way on a magical pirate ship, captained by a pirate named Bastion, she finds her betrothed, Ferrick, has stowed away after he decided to join the adventure. Together they go on a mission to find a way to prove that Amora belongs on the throne.
This novel is difficult to review, as the narrator for this series was just okay. I commend her for trying tons of different accents, but it just became too much at times and took away from the story. There were, what sounded like, British, Irish, Scottish, Caribbean, Southern/Old Western (?), among others. I am, by no means, an expert, but those are what they initially sounded like. The effort was appreciated, but, for me, it was not needed to give one to almost every single character. It is difficult to; therefore, tell if it is the novel itself that I did not fully enjoy or if it is just the audiobook version. After finishing this novel, I directly moved on to the audiobook, for consistency, for the second, so I am hopeful it will get better.
The story itself was done well with some slower sections, but overall it had good pacing. The plot was very interesting, but it was a tad predictable and I would have preferred a few more twists and turns along the way. As this is the first novel, it could be that those will be revealed in the second novel, so it is hard to tell based on this novel alone. The characters were interesting and have tons of potential, but they did not feel as fully developed as I would have liked. I did enjoy the romance that is brewing between Bastion and Amora and I have hope that their story will continue to develop in the next novel. For Amora herself, I was not a huge fan of her as I did not like her treatment of Ferrick in this one and she seemed too focused on her right to rule that I needed more from her as a character. Again, this could be “fixed” in the next installment so I can’t fully judge her as a character yet.
Overall, this is a series with excellent potential as all the pieces are there, but it just needs to come together to make it great. I liked that the focus of the story is on the adventure and the romance wasn’t front and center so it never felt like the two plots were competing against each other. The ending of this story was a nice twist and perfectly sets up the next part of the story, so, although this was not my favorite, I am still excited to continue and finish the duology.