Title: The Chaos of Stars
Author: Kiersten White
Genre: Young Adult; Fantasy; Mythology
Synopsis: Isadora’s family is seriously screwed up—which comes with the territory when you’re the human daughter of the ancient Egyptian gods Isis and Osiris. Isadora is tired of living with crazy relatives who think she’s only worthy of a passing glance—so when she gets the chance to move to California with her brother, she jumps on it. But her new life comes with plenty of its own dramatic—and dangerous—complications . . . and Isadora quickly learns there’s no such thing as a clean break from family. (Goodreads)
I think what saved this book for me was how it brought Egyptian mythology into the narrative, and the family dynamics involved. There were some genuine moments of thoughtful words, especially ones about life/death and love. It was those parts that I really liked. However, the book suffers from a rather bratty protagonist (not that the love interest is any better), rather flat supporting characters, rushed pacing, and moments of purple prose.
First of all, the characters. I tried to like Isadora, but her bratty attitude was really getting on my nerves. While I understand that her home life is rather chaotic, I just couldn’t really bring myself to like her. Maybe it was her narration, since the story is told from her point of view, so all her snarky comments were clear to the reader. Instead of coming off as snarky-witty, it came off more as snarky-mean. There was one part where she and her new friends go to the beach, and play a game of “mocking the most ill-fitting swimwear.” Although they play this game “off-screen,” I did not appreciate the body shaming in this part. It left a bad taste in my mouth.
As for the love interest, he has some attitude issues that I just did not like. He’s described as gorgeous, so gorgeous that other characters also take notice. Isadora first notices his eyes, which are said to be incredibly beautiful. Since she’s an interior designer, she understands colours and thinks that his eyes are the “perfect” shade of blue. She’s beautiful and incredibly good with colours, and has many other skills. He’s also beautiful, and has a host of other skills. Even with Isadora’s bratty mouth, I couldn’t really accept them as well-rounded and realistic characters.
For the supporting characters, I wanted them to make up for the annoying main characters. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen. While Isadora’s new friends are likeable enough, they don’t really seem to get much development. They drop in to help her explore California culture, or praise her, or try to convince her that she and the love interest work well together. The rest of the time, they feel more like a framing device or very lively background props.
The pacing also felt rather rushed. I guess it makes sense that they would have less time for exciting plot, given that Isadora has so many musings about her love interest’s beautiful blue eyes. I guess the drama and danger mentioned in the synopsis must come second to a “will they or won’t they” kind of romance. What’s left of the plot is actually really interesting, since it covers fascinating Egyptian mythology. I’m actually really frustrated that the plot wasn’t better developed.
Some parts also suffer from purple prose. There was a paragraph where Isadora describes seeing the love interest’s eyes that I just found so funny because I found it rather melodramatic. The writing at the climax also felt rather… Off. I don’t want to spoil what happens, but the writing seems to shift to more of a stream-of-consciousness rather than the (almost) straightforwardness of the rest of the book.
Overall: Two stars, mainly because I loved reading about Egyptian mythology. I found the main character bratty, and the romance oscillating between cute and moments of “are you freaking serious?” The love interest and supporting characters don’t feel very well-rounded, and the pacing was rushed.
If I have to listen to her talk about his eyes one more time, I SWEAR I’m going to take to the liquor.