Sixteen-year-old Portia White is used to being overlooked—after all, her twin sister Alex is a literal genius.
But when Portia holds an Egyptian scarab beetle during history class, she takes center stage in a way she never expected: she faints. Upon waking, she is stronger, faster, and braver than before. And when she accidentally touches the scarab again?
She wakes up in ancient Egypt—her sister and an unwitting freshman in tow.
Mysterious and beautiful, Egypt is more than they could have ever imagined from their days in the classroom. History comes alive as the three teens realize that getting back to the present will be the most difficult thing they’ve ever done. Stalked by vicious monsters called Scorpions, every step in the right direction means a step closer to danger.
As Portia and the girls discover that they’re linked to the past by more than just chance, they have to decide what it truly means to be yourself, to love your sister, and to find your way home.
Huge thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free ARC of The Blazing Star!
THINGS I LIKED
I have been obsessed with both present and ancient Egypt since I was a child, so any book that takes place there (and sounds promising) goes to my TBR immediately. And here's the thing: the setting was really well-done in this one! On top of that, the culture was presented in an interesting way, with the magic fitting into it perfectly.
The Blazing Star is definitely one of the - if not the - most diverse novels I've ever read or heard about. The majority of the characters was POC and that made me so happy, because #WeNeedDiverseBooks! Next to that, all of them were unique, interesting and complex lovelies that I adored so much, Portia being my favorite of the bunch, of course.
Character development is one of the most important things in a novel for me - AND WE HAD SUCH A SPECTACULAR CASE OF GROWTH HERE. Instead of just bathing in the glory of her newfound powers, she gained confidence, started to stand up for herself AND learnt to love herself. The fact that this is a less than 300 pages long book makes what I've just described even more remarkable.
The whole story is from Portia's point of view and her voice was so realistic and easy to relate to. It was very teenager like and fun, but never crossed a border to being childish AND it definitely didn't have the feeling that an adult wrote it, so huge shout out to the author for this.
PORTIA & ALEX
I don't have any siblings (and thank god for that), but I loved loved LOVED the way Imani Josey portrayed Portia and Alex's relationship. It was totally obvious these two loved each other dearly, but that didn't mean their relationship was in any way perfect. Plus they might have been #twinning sometimes, but they were in no way carbon copies of each other - like I've seen twins being represented in some movies and book -, rather two VERY different girls.
THINGS I DISLIKED
SOME CHARACTERS WERE UNDERDEVELOPED
Clearly, I can't praise any part of a novel without bringing it down immediately after that, BUT HEAR ME OUT, I'm not just being an asshole here. Overall, the characters were awesome, but I could have used a bit more info on some of them - great example to this is Selene. I liked what we've seen of her so far, but also feel like she disappeared too many times in the novel for me to form a coherent opinion about her.
WHY THE ROMANCE, WHY?
I'm one of those who loves romance in YA novels, but it just didn't work for me in this one - it felt completely unnecessary and poorly developed. Also, out of place AND SO AWKWARD OMG. I mean, the guy literally asked Portia how she would feel about becoming his Chief Wife, which refers to the principal wife... meaning, there are quite a few more. #OTP
Overall, I think The Blazing Star was a really great read - I debated between 3 and 4 stars, but ultimately I believe it deserves the better rating, because it was an exciting read with amazing characters and great fantasy elements. RECOMMENDED!
The story idea: 5/5
The realization of the story: 3/5
The characters: 4/5
The cover: 5/5
Enjoy factor: 3.5/5