Princess. Pirate. Stowaway. Mermaid. The crew makes the queen.
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.
Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice, Adalyn Grace’s All the Stars and Teeth is a thrilling fantasy for fans of Stephanie Garber’s Caraval and Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series.
All the Stars and Teeth has everything you’d want in a riveting, swashbuckler adventure. Boasting an incredible cast of characters, the stakes are high AF and the pacing full throttle as we’re swept up in the shifting politics of a watery world.
Amora Montara is the crown princess of Visidia, future High Animancer and heir to a fierce, unrelentingly dark power. But Amora is not your classic docile princess. Okay, she might have been raised in a sprawling palace [silver spoon and all] but our girl is anything but docile. Amora is brave and adventurous with a will of steel. When she wasn’t training with her blade underneath the King’s guard, she was determined to master control over her dangerous soul magic, grappling with the human cost to said power.
But Amora’s world is turned upside down when her ceremonial demonstration goes awry and she finds herself smack bang in an age-long struggle for power. Thrust into a sweeping adventure spanning the high seas, Amora is forced to question everything she knows as dark secrets surface. Suddenly the quest to prove herself evolves into a blood soaked war to save her kingdom.
As much as I could rave about Amora and the world building, it’s the unlikeliest of unlikely crews that really steals the limelight. The Keel Haul’s crew was the found family of my dreams and I was high key LIVING for their dynamic. There was just so much for Adalyn Grace to work with – you’ve got a fugitive princess, a devilishly handsome pirate (who prefers the term sailor by the way), a sickly stowaway (who may or may not be Amora’s betrothed) and a seriously badass mermaid with a thirst for vengeance. This crew was the definition of epic. They bicker and fight but there’s this fierce loyalty, a common enemy that binds them all together.
But what makes All the Stars and Teeth so compelling, besides its characters, is Adalyn Grace’s writing which goes hand in hand with her plotting and pacing. All the Stars and Teeth is a wild ride from start to finish. There’s a perfect balance of high impact action scenes and quiet moments with the crew. I mean, I love battling sea monsters as much as the next girl but there’s just something to be said about those character-driven scenes.
Some of my favorite moments were the soul baring conversations between Amora and Vaseda. These girls bond over a mutual feeling of being trapped and it’s beautiful. Then there’s the buddying bromance between Fredrick and Bastian. #hereforit.
And Adalyn Grace doesn’t shy away from the heavy topics either. All the Stars and Teeth’s adventurous plot is fleshed out with some difficult themes that Adalyn tackles with respect. There’s graphic violence with murder, references to attempted sexual assault and an abusive relationship. Each issue is explored with depth and sympathy, adding an emotional layer to the characters.
Then there’s the scope of the world building and it’s intricately woven, fully fleshed magic system. Let me tell you, I got major Caraval vibes from this book. Especially during the crew’s stint in Mortnute and their brush with the seriously vicious Barracudas. And side note, the rendezvous in Mortnute was one of my favorite parts (the crew may or may not get a little too deep into their cups which makes for some seriously delicious banter). Basically, if you love watery kingdoms and booby trapped islands then you’re in for a treat.
The one fault I had with All the Stars and Teeth is that I felt the impact fizzled out towards the climax. The characters were gearing up to confront the big bad and there was still a hundred-odd pages left. Uh oh. There was so much room for things to go wrong – and go wrong they did. With 40 pages to go we were smacked with a major plot twist that completely changed the game. I actually feel that the book could have ended then and there. It would have been ballsy but it could have made for a strong start for the next book. Instead there was another battle to face and it all just felt a little rushed.
Anyway, if you loved To Kill a Kingdom or Pirates of the Caribbean then All the Stars and Teeth is the pirate adventure of your dreams. A solid start to a high-stakes duology, All the Stars and Teeth is a must read. The perfect swashbuckling adventure for the summer months.