All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace
Series: All the Stars and Teeth #1
Published February 4th 2020 by Imprint
Age Range: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure (Pirate, Mermaid), Magic
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.
What a fun adventure from the lands to the seas! Due to the soul magic only royalties can use, All the Stars and Teeth had some morbid scenes that added a grim element to the plot. The world-building is amazing and continuously built upon as the characters visited each island that had its flavor and culture, making it fun to explore. There are island-hopping, a discovery of dangerous magic, a kickass mermaid, a mysterious pirate, and a childhood acquaintance.
As for the magic system, it’s pretty straightforward. Since the start of their rule, the royal family is the sole wielder of soul magic, and nobody else can learn it. Each person can only learn and use one type of magic in their entire life. Otherwise, it would tip the balance and the beast held back by the Montana’s magic would be released. That’s what Amora had been told by her parents.
For all of Amora’s life, showcasing her control of soul magic was the most important event. However, things went awry and she was forced to flee with a pirate who had a story of his own. A traveler by heart, Amora had daydreamed on leaving her homeland, Arida, and explore her entire kingdom, Visidia. Little did she know it would be involuntary and under such dangerous circumstances.
Vowing to make things right for her people, Amora’s courage and determination drive her throughout the entire book. When she found out about the secrets her parents had been hiding from her, nothing would stop her from getting her kingdom back on track, that is if she can prove she’s the right person to do so. I liked that Amora could think on her feet quickly when they encountered difficulties and dangerous monsters. While she struggled with the betrayal and the guilt, Amora put her all into doing the right thing.
Bastian provided Amora an escape when she needed even though she had never met him before. Though not knowing if he could be trusted, Amora went with him. As the readers find out about Bastian’s origin and the guilt that he had been carrying, it was easy to empathize with his situation. Ferrick appeared to be wimpy and timid at the beginning, and majorly unsure about himself, but he grew to be more confident and fearless. Despite seemingly defenseless, Ferrick’s exceptional skills in fencing gave him an edge during fights. The best mermaid award goes to Vataea. She’s so unapologetically herself and has no qualms in using her charm to get what she wants.
I’m excited to see where things will be heading. Seems like there’s a larger obstacle out there that Amora and her friends have to deal with. The aftermath and the secrets revealed will prove to be a heavy burden for Amora to carry. Overall, an entertaining read of a group that consists of people you wouldn’t think fit well together.
The review of ALL THE TIDES OF FATE, book two, below contains spoiler for book one!! Do not venture there if you haven’t read the previous book yet! Also, there’s a mini drop-down section that I added just *one* thought/feeling that contains spoiler for book two. Don’t click unless you’re done with the duology. I’VE WARNED YOU.
All the Tides of Fate by Adalyn Grace
Series: All the Stars and Teeth #2
Published February 2nd 2021 by Imprint
Age Range: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure (Pirate, Mermaid), Magic
Through blood and sacrifice, Amora Montara has conquered a rebellion and taken her rightful place as queen of Visidia. Now, with the islands in turmoil and the people questioning her authority, Amora cannot allow anyone to see her weaknesses.
No one can know about the curse in her bloodline. No one can know that she’s lost her magic. No one can know the truth about the boy who holds the missing half of her soul.
To save herself and Visidia, Amora embarks on a desperate quest for a mythical artifact that could fix everything―but it comes at a terrible cost. As she tries to balance her loyalty to her people, her crew, and the desires of her heart, Amora will soon discover that the power to rule might destroy her.
Newly on the throne, Amora is finding a balance with her approach to her people and dealing with the politics amongst all the islands. As Amora and her gang journey to the different islands of Visidia, the reception the new queen gets on each island are different. Some liked her while others would devise malicious plans to get rid of her. For those who seek tranquility and serenity, Curmana is the place to be. Kerost is where one indulges in their vices and all sorts of debauchery. With the kingdom of Visidia finding out what the Montaras did, Amora often found herself in sticky situations.
To distract the people of Visidia from what’s really happening, Amora’s consul suggested she find a husband. While trying not to be assassinated while venturing through different islands, Amora has to deal with her loss of magic and half of her soul. Desperate situations called for desperate measures and during her trip to “find a husband”, Amora’s true motive was to track down an item that may just help her reach her goal.
Accompanying Amora is Bastian, Ferrick, Vataea, Casem, and Shanty. Each of them has their own strength that created additional advantages and coverage for Amora’s lack of magic. I adored Amora’s relationship with the crew, especially with Ferrick who Amora didn’t have a particular fondness for at the start of All the Stars and Teeth. He was supposed to be her betrothed but they were better as best friends than potential spouses. Plus, Ferrick and Vataea were adorable together.
No matter where Bastian is, I can sense him like a lighthouse in a moonless night.
With Bastian, things are awkward. Though Amora has feelings for Bastian, with so much on her plate, Amora didn’t want to pursue more. With half of her soul in Bastian and her having no magic, all Amora could think about is rectifying her losses. This doesn’t mean that Bastian sat around letting suitors turn up without a fight. Even during the toughest and most vulnerable moments, Bastian’s support was highly valued by her. Unfortunately, without her soul, Amora isn’t sure if her feelings are wholly hers or not.
Throughout the book, Amora’s grief for her dead father resurfaces all the time. She was still mourning the loss. While her father might have hidden important information from her and the rest of the kingdom, as his daughter, Amora still had a strong fondness for him. This, however, has led to Amora keeping things to herself rather than sharing certain details with others.
Overall, within this duology, the exploration of the world and the types of magic were fascinating to read about. Add in a mermaid, a pirate, and a queen willing to do anything for her kingdom, I’m sold. Amora did annoy me slightly with her lack of communication with the others but I could understand where it was coming from. Her leadership and composure, during dangerous situations, were unwavering and laudable.