The Blazing Star (Untitled #1)
Author: Imani Josey
Publication: December 6th, 2016
Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Format: e-ARC, 239 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Read: November 2016
I received an e-ARC of this book from Wise Ink Creative Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
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.
Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
I was really looking forward to reading this book but I was confusing most of the time while I was reading. It involves time travel, mystery and action. However, the book felt too long, like it dragged and it was kind of boring at times when things slowed down. The story was very elaborate with a lot of different elements, though one in particular (the romance) felt unnecessary. Honestly, I think this was a great idea but there was too much going on for me to enjoy myself while reading.
Writing Style – 3 out of 5 stars
The writing style is very descriptive, but it almost feels like too much sometimes. It’s detailed and packed full of information, so much so that it was overwhelming and intense and made it difficult to be sucked into the story. It was really confusing and drawn out and it really took away from my enjoyment of the book.
Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
I’m still not really sure how I feel about the characters. I appreciate how the entire cast is made up of people of color. It’s realistic and it’s definitely something needed in Young Adult literature right now. However, I liked some of them, hated others and was even confused about some too. Portia is our main character and narrator. She’s a twin which I found really interesting and unique, though she’s currently struggling with what that means for her individual identity. She’s really headstrong and strong in general. However, I feel like she has a low self-esteem and she’s very hurt in this moment that we get to know her. She’s caring and kind to those around her but I still wanted more from her. I don’t know what specifically but I feel like I didn’t get to know her personality as much as I wanted to. I also felt like with the characters in general, they adjusted too quickly to their surroundings which made the progression of the story feel a bit unrealistic. Also, I have to say that there were way too many side characters. It got very confused with all the different names which were culture and period specific (which is perfect but hard to remember) and I felt like I couldn’t get to know them well because as soon as I felt like I had them all down, more would come. Like I said above, Portia is a twin and unfortunately, I feel like that dynamic was not explored enough. The sisters spend most of the time apart and since I wanted to see how the twin bond was going to be for them, that was really disappointed.
I was really looking forward to this book but it definitely wasn’t what I was expecting before I started reading.
The plot is complicated. We follow Portia, a high school junior who accidentally travels back int time with her twin sister and a classmate to Ancient Egypt through a talisman. She gets caught up in a silent war when she discovers she has magic, or heka as they call it. I really, really wanted to like this book more because the premise is so interesting but the book was so long and slow and confusing. I buddy read this with a blogger friend of mine and we were both very confused a lot of the time, we didn’t understand what was happening in general and it really tampered our excitement for the story. The plot moved really slow between action scenes. This book spans months of time in an ancient civilization. There’s a lot of time that goes by with nothing really going on. When there were action scenes, those were confusing as well because it was like it moved three times faster than the rest of the book and what really happened got lost in the narrative. I enjoyed the world building, I love the setting. I’ve always wanted to read a book set in Ancient Egypt and this one was great. But there were times when the author tended to assume that the reader (and the characters) had working knowledge of that time period. Terms were mentioned and explained once or twice tops and then they were thrown in throughout the story. Normally, that’s not a problem but because there were so many different terms and so many different places and so many different names, that it became a huge problem. That again was confusing for me, but it also made me feel like it made the characters adjust too quickly to their surroundings and it was unrealistic. The conflict in this story is really complicated and I still have a hard time wrapping my head around it. The ending was a bit lackluster for me, specially after everything that takes place throughout the story. I was under the impression that this was a standalone but the ending suggests that there may be at least one sequel after this. I hope the second book improves in the narrative style because I really want to be able to understand the story better.
Portia is okay, kind of meh for me. I don’t feel like I got to understand her personality well or that I connected with her well. I liked that she’s determined and how caring she is with the people she cares about. She had some spunk in her but it was shown in short intervals though I would’ve liked to see that part of her more. I feel like maybe I was expecting too much so I was much more disappointed with what her characterization ended up being than I would have been otherwise. I wanted to see more growth in her character but I hope that can be remedied in the upcoming books. I really want to like her guys haha.
There are a lot of freaking side characters, and there’s no possible way to talk about all of them so I’m going to mention the ones that are most prominent or the ones that caused the greatest reactions in me. First off, Alex, Portia’s twin sister, is really freaking annoying. I did not like her at any point in this book. Not in their time or in the world they time travel to. She’s stubborn, pretentious and smart in all the ways that make her stupid to understand people. She treats her sister like an extension of herself not as an individual and it really pissed me off. She expected Portia to do whatever she said because she’s oh so smart and what she wants matters most and I just wanted to strangle her to be honest. Selene is the character that gets tangled up in this time traveling adventure and I think she’s cool. I mean, she’s very vulnerable and kind of lesser than the other two. I don’t know if I was made to feel that way on purpose but she always had to have people looking out for her. She’s younger than the other girls but she also has kind of an important role I think. Again, everything was kind of confusing so I’m not sure I really know her well. I feel like she adjusted too quickly to the time period as well but she’s kind of cool. Seti was just okay. I feel like he was kind of unnecessary. Not as a character per say but the role he ends up playing in the story. It would’ve been much better to keep him in an official capacity than what he turned into but he has potential to be a great character. He needs to have a little more development though. Sikara is my favorite character so far! She’s freaking badass and has a take no shit attitude that I appreciated considering how polite everyone tended to be toward each other. She takes her job very seriously and she’s really good at it and I hope she gets more page time because I’d love to know more of her story.
Overall, I was a little let down by this book. The plot and the writing were both really confusing and I felt like I didn’t know what was going on half the time. The setting was great but there was a lot of information and terminology that was hard to keep track of. There were a lot, a whole freaking lot of side characters and it tended to take the spotlight off the main character which made me feel disconnected from the narrative. I will continue with the series because it’s an amazing idea but I hope I’ll be able to understand it better.
So that’s it for this post! I’d love to know what you guys think of my thoughts. I know a lot of fellow bloggers got an ARC for this book as well so I would love to know what you all thought of it. Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!