October 28, 2020

Novel Lives

Book Publicity, Reviews, Author Interviews, and Discussion Posts by Susan Crosby

All The Stars And Teeth By Adalyn Grace Should Have Been Called All The Tropes And Tropes

Tropes aren't bad things. Or they don't have to be. In All the Stars and Teeth? Yeah. Just. No.

Ok Look. Let me be upfront. This is going the way of Verify. With a quickness. I don’t get salty with books often.I feel bad when I do. All the Stars and Teeth should have been DNFd. But I got caught with it because I had started reading the ARC. Then I put it on audible because I was organizing my apartment. I wasn’t at a DNF point, yet. By the time I was, well… I was organizing my apartment. I can’t audible my upcoming reads, so I finished it, tropes and all. And now I have to review it. Geeze man. This book.

It doesn’t help that I was so looking forward AND SURE that I would LOVE THIS BOOK that I did the pre-order through Mysterious Galaxy Bookstores for the artwork. Look for that giveaway at some point when this site actually starts growing again.

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And to add insult to injury that treacherous trader, Rob Blake, is ripping my L.A. Kings apart, AGAIN. So how about a little bit more salty for the saltiness? My mood? I’m at Liam status right now.


Magic System

When I was a NYC classroom teacher, we always had to start off with a positive in the comment section of the report cards. This sounds like common sense. Except when you are working in some of the most challenging areas of the city, it doesn’t always workout so well. So NYC is going to NYC. There was a safety net: “Child has an inquisitive mind.” I remember this some 15 years later because we used it A LOT.

So let me at least try to try. There is one good thing I can say about the entire mess of this book. The magic system is pretty wicked. I would have liked more than just Amora’s and Ferrick’s magic explored in-depth. However, one magic per island and each serving a purpose. You choose a magic learn to hone it, wield it and move to that island. Some are better at their magic than others.This all makes perfect sense to me. And only the royal family has it in their bloodlines to practice the dark soul magic.


All the Stars and Teeth

Thank you to Macmillan/Imprint and Edelweiss for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Intrigue beguiles me with this one and is probably why I swapped over to the audible without getting to a point of DNF. The ability to read souls, see the true intent and nature of a person. Yes, please! Plus, it provides the ability to execute people with mercy or in a slow, and torturous manner. If soul magic sounds dangerous, it is. It comes with the threat of a beast, which if not controlled, can overtake the person wielding its power to induce corruption and incite destruction of all souls.

Yeah. That’s my inquisitive mind starter comment. Now about those tropes.


Coming Out Ceremonies… Wait Let Me Back Up- A Quick Word About Tropes

Tropes aren’t a bad thing. They can be done well. So I’m not listing these out as always and never kind of things. One, there are no absolutes in life, which is why Absolut was created, I fathom.

 

I in no way am endorsing the consuming of any alcoholic beverage.

But I digress. My point is that I’m not really knocking tropes, per say. I’m knocking the tropes in All the Tropes Stars and Teeth.

Whether it is a matter of being poorly executed, poorly written or one layered on top of another, on top of another… in the context of this book? Just. No. Ok. Moving on…

Coming Out Ceremonies/Catastrophes/Decadent Food/Wine Amora

Apparently I don’t even know where to begin this section. And see that’s the problem. It isn’t a trope or tropes. It is the tropes upon tropes with the utter predictability of each. First off… no wait. For me to explain this I have to go into Amora. So let me do that first. Do you see my problem with this book? HOLY HELL THIS BOOK.

How utterly deplorable and unlikable is Amora? One of the first things she express in the book is, and let me quote it:

Because even as the king’s only child, my people will not simply hand me the crown and let me lead out of birthright. Here, in the kingdom of Visidia, I must first prove myself to them if I’m to earn the title of heir. And I’m to do it by showing them a proper demonstration of Aridian magic; the magic shared only through the blood of the Montara family.

Then she spends the majority of the book acting like an entitled brat. Ferrick even has to finally point it out to her (and I’m not directly quoting here) that she keeps saying she is the best thing for Visidia and that she will be the best Animancer ever but what if she’s wrong and maybe she’s not the best thing since sliced bread.

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I think by the time they go to the big meanie of the book I kinda wanted him to win just because I wanted him to be right just to put her in her place. But of course I knew that wasn’t going to happen because that would be original and this book is so cookie cutter that it made actual cookie cutters look original.

For a split second… I mean a nano second? Like a Dr. Strange kinda time stone kinda second? I thought MAYBE Grace was going for a Spaceballs kind of vibe between Amora and Bastian. She is just that bratty and he was just that witty. Even with all my romance triggers? I would have been so DOWN FOR THAT MESS. Because. Spaceballs.

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Except even Bastian got soggy and wilted in the second half of the book and she well she just remained insufferable. I didn’t think that was possible but…

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Now that Amora is out of the way…


Coming Out Ceremonies/Coming Out Ceremonies/Catastrophes/Decadent Food/Wine

Back to the section I don’t know how to start because tropes upon tropes upon tropes. Look, again, it isn’t that this can’t be done or can’t be done well. It is when so many are thrown at you, at the same time. Let alone the fact that the ceremony with the catastrophe (don’t cry spoiler- this isn’t a spoiler- seriously- it is right at the beginning of the book and…) smacks you in the face so hard that you would have to be like literally brainless not to see it coming. I mean like a spine and a bucket of popcorn.

  1. Mentions ceremony with ultra high stakes where she must pass or world ends/family falls apart
  2. Second family member has already caused ultimate betrayal that makes #1 even worse
  3. She is to inherit an empire
  4. 1-3 is repeated so many times before the ceremony that it the dead horse has been revived just to be beaten to death again
  5. Oh did I mention it is her 18th birthday? Sorry. Forgot that one.

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Then there is the whole oh isn’t this dress made of the finest of materials to fit me perfectly, the stunned parents who can’t believe how amazing she looks. Oh and let us not forget the in detailed description of the decadent food, pastry and wine. The TEN THOUSAND TIMES barrels and barrels of flowing wine is mentioned. I MEAN LITERALLY BARRELS are mentioned. MANY BARRELS. I actually thought a Hamlet like poisoning was gonna go down and on that front I was wrong, but still.

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Wasn’t there some controversy over a monthly subscription considering shot glasses for one of their boxes in recent memory? Look, I don’t have an issue with wine or alcohol flowing at these functions. Eighteen is the legal age in most countries. Grace can surely make it the legal limit in her world. I’m just pointing out that this seemed, to me, on the younger side of YA and there was a lot of wine talk.

Oh and the dreaded engagement. He wants her (well by the middle of the book it is more like- look I’m willing to do right by much country you insufferable brat) and she doesn’t want him because she’d rather keep all the suitors who lavish her with gifts and things. YES.This is expressed.

Anyhow, I digress. The point here is that there are so many tropes layered upon tropes and it is all so predictable that the ceremony goes bad and she gets jailed and here comes the pirate to break her out of jail and said adventure ensues.


Hidden Agendas/Family Lies

Oi. Vay. But of course. And again it isn’t so much any one of these tropes in isolation. It is all of them together and the fact that you can see them coming ten leagues away.

  1. Of course Bastian has his own agenda. When does a pirate ever do anything out of the kindness of his heart?
  2. All up until the ceremony everyone is whispering behind Amora’s back. It isn’t about presents for her 18th birthday.
  3. All Amora says up until the failed ceremony is that she can’t wait to get the damn ceremony over with because she knows the whispers aren’t about presents. <– She doesn’t say the present part.
  4. Because if 1-3 isn’t enough to smack you upside the head that there are political and family secrets? Of course she has to overhear people bad mouthing her father, the King and no one will give her a straight answer about the what, who and why. I would repeat the cat meme above but, overkill.

So, yeah. I mean nothing is left to the imagination on any of these points. There is no suspense to keep you guessing or interested. It is all just spelled out and handed to you. And it isn’t because this falls on the younger side of YA. Spin the Dawn didn’t just spoon feed everything.


Marketplaces

This isn’t really a trope as much as just a flat fail. Well one part is a trope. And one part is a repeat of above. The marketplace. Maybe it just a repeated pattern. I’m not sure. But it is enough. Markets with shiny things and girls who can’t pay attention. Every other minute something distracts them. Like LADY the world is coming to an end, do you think you cannot be a materialistic wench for a split second? Stop thinking about yourself and move on.

This isn’t a shopping spree, which by the way, she even expresses before they go into said  marketplace. She ruminates on how she would love to just go and wonder around with Bastian and spend time shopping the fine wares and marveling over the beautiful clothes. But no! They are on a strict time table. Then they get into the market place and sheesh girl. Shiny thing! Shiny thing! ALL THE SHINY THINGS!


Adventure- Meh

It isn’t much of an adventure when the pirate can

  1. direct you straight to the town you need to go to.
  2. direct you straight into the tavern in said town
  3. walk into the tavern and say to the waitress the dog flies at midnight (ok that isn’t the code phrase but not the point) to get you what you need when you need it.
  4. Do 1-3 while feeding you and…

Again with the alcohol. In the tavern. Mead, yes Amora orders mead. Like Bastian says beer and she says mead. If you don’t know, mead is honey wine and can be quite high on the liquor content. So now you have Amora, Bastian and Ferrick drinking in a tavern. TIMETABLE? Is this the time for that?

Once more, alcohol is not my issue here. For all my problems with Wicked Saints  (either you know or you don’t) Serafin’s drinking is not one of them. Also, it isn’t on the younger side of YA by a long shot. Either way, not the battle, not the hill. However, a lot of people did have issue with it and beat the book over the head for all of Serafin’s drinking.

 

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Yes, I did look because at this point I know I’m like numero uno in my vile hatred of All the Stars and Teeth so there was no harm in it. And to my shock, I didn’t see any mention of it. That surprised me with all the outrage over trigger warnings and the such around other books.The only thing that shocks me more is I just said something nice about Wicked Saints and came to its defense. I will need to shower after this review is done.


No Spoilers

Just know that the ending, for me, follows right in line with everything I’ve said about the rest of the book. Tropes? Check. Predictable? Check. There is gonna be a sequel? Have fun with that. I’ve done enough harm here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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