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.
‣ POV: 1st person, Amora
‣ Summary in Emojis: 🌊🤐🧜🖤🗡️
‣ Trigger and Content Warnings: death, physical and emotional abuse, sexual assual (mentioned), gore, violence
Is it weird to love a book, not for the main character, but for the side characters? Honestly the heroine, Amora, was pretty boring apart from her magic (which I’ll get to later) but the side characters were fantastic! I adored them all. We had Bastien, the swaggering pirate who had so many intricately hidden layers. Some I guessed, but a few honestly took me by complete surprise! Then we have Vataea who is a mermaid and I wish she’d been introduced earlier because she was amazing, so strong and fierce. She was never really give the time she deserved to become a properly developed character, I would have loved to see more of her, especially because her siren powers sounded so cool but we never really see them. I’m hoping that she gets more of a chance to shine in the sequel!
And then we have Ferrick sigh my favourite of all. Ferrick, who is too good for Amora, and this book really. He was just such a sweetheart. He endlessly struggled on the boat with seasickness but did he complain? No he didn’t! He is Amora’s fiancé and she spends most of her time unnecessarily angry at him about it. Ferrick, who is just trying to make the best out of their rubbish situation, has realised she doesn’t love him but he still tries to protect her anyway. Amora pretty much just uses him for his power (which involves chopping off parts of his body), and is very blasé and unappreciative of how much he really helps her. He deserved better goddamnit! Also it’s stated that it does hurt him when he loses an appendage but does Amora think twice before slicing off his arm? No she does not.
Can you tell I am very Pro-Ferrick?
Onto the magic! I loved how dark and gruesome Amora’s magic was. The ‘beast’ inside of her isn’t really delved into much but I did appreciate how unique her magic was, and how the whole equivalent exchange thing worked. She actually had to work for her magic and I loved that.
Another thing I enjoyed? The sense of adventure! The crew sail to all these different islands and their exploits on the high seas were so much fun to read. In fact, it’s just such a wonderful journey that I didn’t even care when the plot became a bit meandering. I will say this book does lack a certain amount of tension at times. I mean, is there a kingdom in danger? Yes but first lets go to this bar and get drunk! But I still enjoyed these moments because of the character’s antics. Also Ferrick is a cute drunk.
One last thing to say is that I wasn’t a huge fan of the romance. And normally I’m all for a bit of added romance in my fantasy. But this time I felt it was a bit too rushed and there wasn’t enough time given to it for them to properly develop feelings for one another. I actually would have much rather they had stayed friends for this book, and then possibly explored a relationship in the sequel but we’ll see how it plays out in the next one.
All in all I was quite impressed by this debut. All the Stars and Teeth had a lovely cast of characters, a sparkling sense of adventure, and some dark and interesting magic! The ending wraps things up nicely whilst still leaving some questions for the sequel. Luckily I managed to get an ARC of it so I’ll be jumping right into that one next!