book reviews, Egypt, Egyptian mythology, Egyptian myths, Greek mythology, Greek myths, Kiersten White, the chaos of stars, YA, YA fantasy, YA fiction, young adult, young adult fantasy, young adult fiction
When I was a little girl, I still believed I was part of the world’s secret magic.
“Isadora’s family is seriously screwed up. Of course, as the human daughter of Egyptian gods, that pretty much comes with the territory. She’s also stuck with parents who barely notice her, and a house full of relatives who can’t be bothered to remember her name. After all, they are going to be around forever—and she’s a mere mortal. Isadora’s sick of living a life where she’s only worthy of a passing glance, and when she has the chance to move to San Diego with her brother, she jumps on it. But Isadora’s quickly finding that a “normal” life comes with plenty of its own epic complications—and that there’s no such thing as a clean break when it comes to family. Much as she wants to leave her past behind, she can’t shake the ominous dreams that foretell destruction for her entire family. When it turns out there may be truth in her nightmares, Isadora has to decide whether she can abandon her divine heritage after all.”
Meh. This book was a weird mash-up of stuff, and really disappointing in some respects. I mean, I wasn’t expecting it to be great (which was I got it from the library), but I was hoping for something more than this fast, easy to swallow…mush. The cover is the best thing about The Chaos of Stars…it’s simply gorgeous. What is inside isn’t as lovely. First of all, the Egyptian world wasn’t developed nearly enough. Okay, so, apparently Isis has to keep having children every twenty years in order to help the gods survive off the prayers??? That didn’t make a whole lot of sense, and neither did Isadora. She’s lived in Egypt all her life, yet she still narrates like a typical American teenager. But when she arrives in San Diego, there are all these things that are totally foreign to her, like fist-bumping. Despite this, she calls people “lame” and things “peachy”. Also, she uses a lot of really stupid expressions like “floods” and “by the idiot gods” that totally don’t fit with the rest of her jargon. Isadora felt 100% American to me. Lack of authenticity and creativeness: check.
The plot itself was also weakly constructed; basically nothing happens throughout the book until the very end. The story is basically this: Isadora goes to San Diego. Isadora makes some new friends/has new ideas about things. Isadora has a strange feeling of being watched and there are two burglaries. Nothing…and then Isadora figures out what’s really going on. Admittedly, the book is short but a good part of it is nothing action-wise, and the talking itself isn’t very substantial. Then, when there’s actually a teensy bit of action, it’s all resolved seemingly within 5 pages, and there are very convenient things that get Isadora where she wants to go.
Ry (or Orion) also annoyed me a bit. Isadora must talk about his incredibly blue eyes at least twenty times throughout the book. Okay, I get it, he’s attractive, and he has nice eyes. Let’s move on, shall we? I don’t need to hear the same, uninteresting descriptions over and over and over and over again. That said, I did like other elements of their relationship, such as their discussions; it just seemed like too substantial a part of the book. That’s all that happened for much of the middle section. The mythology part seemed almost extraneous; if you took it out, you’d have a very typical and boring contemporary story. None of the mythology was woven in well, and the several paragraphs of explanation at the beginning of each chapter didn’t help.
Another thing that ticked me off was the random addition of Greek mythology at the end. Kiersten White had enough trouble attempting to add Egyptian; she should have just stuck to her mediocre rendition of it, rather than adding a whole other element probably too complicated for her to handle. The book was so simplistic, and not in a good way. I was expecting the Greek mythology add in, but it was still so off, and I hated the way it was woven in.
Isadora is also one of the whiniest characters you’ll ever meet. Seriously, she complains all the freaking time, and the way she goes about her life, never allowing herself pleasure because hey, it’s only temporary also annoyed me. Just like Ry’s blue eyes, it was hammered in over and over that she’s mortal and her parents aren’t and she thinks they don’t love her enough to really care for her. And I get it; her childhood, once she realized she was going to die, was probably pretty awful. But a couple times was enough. And she was completely juvenile.
Overall, The Chaos of Stars was not cohesive or seemingly planned at all. Nothing happened for most of this short book, and then the whole plot was resolved super quickly. Really, I don’t know how this thing could have been published, because as soon as you think about the structure for half a second, it completely falls apart. The Egyptian gods and goddesses are just stick figures in the background. Frankly, I’m not sure how anyone can have enjoyed this book, although people have. I suppose you just have to shut off all of your brain cells, or just not have any to begin with. I didn’t loathe it with a fierce hatred, but it was pretty bad. I only finished it because it was so short, and the pages flew by. And, God, just look at that cover. But really: skip The Chaos of Stars. Do it for your own sanity and intelligence, and do not waste your valuable time on this piece of juvenile trash. (OK, maybe I do loathe it with fierce hatred. I’m doubly mad because I was fooled by the beautiful cover and marketing). If you’re not convinced, read more negative (and some positive) reviews on The Chaos of Stars Goodreads page.