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Thursday, September 19, 2013

THE CHAOS OF STARS by Kiersten White | review


The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White
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Contemporary/Mythology/Supernatural, 288 pages
Published September 10th 2013 by HarperTeen
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.


I've said many, many times before that I think Kiersten White is a good funk-breaker author. I look forward to her stories, especially when I have a lot on my plate, because I know I'll tear through them, they'll keep me entertained, and they'll jumpstart a good reading kick. They just get me in the zone; she has this quality to her writing that draws you along and makes you keep turning pages - even when it's flawed, it goes down like candy.

But surprisingly, The Chaos of Stars didn't quite get there for me. It was still candy, I still devoured it pretty quickly, but it was like the candy in the vending machine that wasn't quite what you were craving, but you got anyway because at least it was chocolate... I just didn't have as immediate a connection as I was expecting, and though I won't call it boring, exactly, in the beginning, it was akin to boring. Boring's sometimes-amusing cousin. Boring's sometimes-amusing cousin that grows on you, fortunately, and loosens up and becomes funnier the longer you know them. Because I did enjoy this and thought the story picked up once Isadora hit US shores, but it just... It was missing some of that zing, some of that something, that made Evie from Paranormalcy pop and draw me in.  (Also, it probably took me awhile to get my bearings, because until close to the end of the book, this cover doesn't really seem to suit the story at all.)

Isadora was probably a big part of my initial disconnect, I think. She didn't really pull me in in the beginning - 'sullen, bratty teenager' is a thing best left behind when you're out of that phase yourself, thank you very much - but I never disliked her outright; she's a teen dealing with family shit, so I get it. Like all teens dealing with family shit, she becomes a little self-absorbed, a little oblivious, and a little bit acting-outy. That's believable, and fits well with White's approach to this mythological family, which above all else, is a family - all the petty drama and frustrations that come with. But that doesn't change the fact that I found her a little harder to connect to or root for as a result. These tendencies do change, and she does begin to grown up in the story - and I love me a dynamic character, as you know - so I forgave her. But if the story is going to be "bratty teen child of Egyptian gods comes to term with mortality and stuff," I would have liked to see a little more struggle and depth added to that storyline, rather than just bratty acting out, and then a sudden realization and complete reversal.  I dunno, maybe that's asking too much; every story can't be that, but whatever, it just made me a little less enthusiastic about this, whereas with Paranormalcy, I found myself wanting to push it on everyone. (And Evie isn't without flaws - but there's something captured there that really works, and I guess I wanted lightning in a bottle twice...)

But as I said, once Isadora hit US shores, the story balanced and found its tone, and I really did enjoy it from there on out. I won't say it's ever not predictable, because it most certainly is, but it still always managed to be enjoyable and engaging. And Isadora grew and became someone I really liked by the end, so that made me happy. White does give an interesting, homey take on the gods, and I wish we could have seen a bit more of that, rather than it just framing the story. It's a fairly short story, and I think I could have done with more overall. But all the same, White's style remains quick and ultimately palatable, and as always, I found myself tearing through and finishing in a sitting or two. There is just something about Kiersten White's stories - no matter how flawed, they're just always so addicting...

Candy.

8 comments:

  1. I want so badly to like this book, so I'm glad that while it wasn't as great as her previous books, you did enjoy it. There's hope for me still!

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    1. I think you'll like it. I didn't not like it, I just wanted more. But still, really fun and enjoyable, and as predictable as the romance was, I kinda loved it. =)

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  2. I have read a number of mixed reviews on this one. Hmmm... I haven't read anything by White yet. I don't think that I will start with this one. Considering even in this review- you raved about how great a character Evie was. We shall see.

    Thanks for the review,

    ~Sara @ Just Another Story

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    Replies
    1. Good point - it's always telling when you talk a lot about another book when reviewing something... Partly, it's because I couldn't help comparing the two, since I know how capable she is of making something memorable. Definitely read Paranormalcy, but I think this is still worth a read either way. It's quick and it's fun, even if not as fun as Paranormalcy.

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  3. I was initially intrigued by the Egyptian gods tie-in, but you are not the first person to mention the bratty-teen behavior and that is really not my thing.

    Thanks for sharing!

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    Replies
    1. It's not bogged down in bratty behavior, by any means, and she does get over it and grow. It just kept me from connecting a bit. But in some ways, the bratty behavior really did work - I mean, having immortal parents who tell you you're going to die, that they're not going to make you immortal? That's cause for some brattiness. But there is more to her than that, so if you're intrigued, I'd say still give it a chance, and just know that if the bratty behavior is getting to you, it's short lived. =)

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