{Review} ALL THE STARS AND TEETH by Adalyn Grace

Love fairy tales and mythology?
Fans of mermaids, dragons, unicorns, and other mythical creatures?
Enjoy when a beloved classic tale is retold?
A Twist in the Tail Thursdays features all this and more!

O P E N I N G   L I N E:

  THIS DAY IS MADE for sailing. 
  The ocean's brine coats my tongue and I savor its grit. Late summer's heat has beaten the sea into submission; it barely sways as I stand against the starboard ledge. 
  Turquoise water stretches into the distance, stuffed full of blue tangs and schools of yellowtail snapper that flounder away from our ship and conceal themselves beneath thin layers of sea foam. Through the morning haze sits an outline of cloud-shrouded mountains that shape the kingdom's northernmost island, Mornute. It's one of the six islands I've not yet seen but will one day rule.

(pg. 1, US hardcover edition)

“'I've made a legendary weapon. I'm sure it will work better than I can imagine.'

'If it's a legendary weapon,  it deserves a legendary name.'


I am always a little nervous when I pick up a book I've been desperately craving. What if it doesn't live up to my expectations and I get a crash of disappointment? But also, what if it supersedes those expectations and I fall desperately in love? Sometimes I freeze and can't read the book, out of that fear. I'm really glad I picked up ALL THE STARS AND TEETH by Adalyn Grace despite that fear. My expectations for this book were HUGE. It had a blurb from Tomi Adeyemi, who wrote one of my 2018 favorite novels, CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE (Check out my review!). It had a mermaid tail on the cover. AND a pirate ship. And...sea monster tentacles?? The summary was AMAZING. This quickly shot up to one of the books I was most excited about in 2020, which made the pressure to love it as much as I wanted to super intense going into this one.

Thankfully, I DID love it. However, it wasn't at all what I was expecting! Truth be told, I'm not sure what exactly I was expecting. Perhaps something like TO KILL A KINGDOM by Alexandra Christo, another of my 2018 favorite books, which is all about the mermaids and the pirates. (Check out my review!) I will say, however, if you go into this one expecting a high-sea adventure full of mermaids and pirates and sea monsters, they're all there, but they're secondary, and the book is about so much more than that, about the intensity and high stakes of the kingdom in peril.

The story revolves around Princess Amora Montara, who has been practicing soul magic her entire life, and is about to showcase her skills to the kingdom and officially become heir to the throne. She's ready for this, has been training for years. Her magic is dangerous and cursed, but she is fully in control. Instead, she gets distracted during the ceremony and loses control of her powers, causing the kingdom to lose faith in her. She is rescued by Bastian, who pirates her away onto his ship and told about horrors occurring within the kingdom. Some of the islands are rebelling, and want the ability to perform multiple magics, including the cursed soul magic. It's up to Amora and Bastian to save their beloved homes, but only by working together.

This book is dark and gritty and shimmering with power. I loved the world-building and the magic system, the way each island contains one type of magical ability, even though it, of course, creates separation among the people, which has become a problem in and of itself. The magic of the island of Ikae has all the whimsy and wonder that made me fall so deeply in love with Stephanie Garber's Caraval trilogy (Check out my review!). This enchantment was needed to flesh out the scope of the world, which has danger lurking around every corner. The adventure can be deadly and bloody and tragic, but that only raises the stakes higher and keeps readers changing pages.

There's plenty of wonder to balance the darkness. Bastian's ship somehow runs with no crew or guidance. A mermaid is needed to see through a curse hiding an island from view. There is a battle with a dangerous sea monster that will have readers on the edge of their seats. 

While the mermaid is a secondary character and this isn't a frolicking mermaid adventure -- plus, the "mermaid" is more siren-like in nature (Which I'm completely okay with! I actually prefer the danger and brutality of sirens, because they aren't human-like in nature-- something I loved about the lore in this world was the way you can spot one. I wracked my brain, but can't recall seeing this before in other mermaid-centric books I've read. To spot a mermaid, you look for her scars: 

 "If you can't tell a mermaid by her face, you'll be able to tell by her scars. Once they trade their fins for legs, it's said mermaids have giant scars running down either side of their thighs -- scars on their neck, too, where their gills should be." 

 (Pages 132-133, Uncorrected Galley That May Be Altered Upon Publication)

There's also a stand-out scene late in the book that I'm not going to spoil for you here, but there is a moment where readers will see the world through a mermaid's eyes. If you've ever wanted to see ocean-life the way mermaids do, you will love the way Grace captures this moment and brings it to life and shares it with readers. It is an utterly enchanting moment, despite the grit and danger surrounding it, and that's all I'll say.

And the romance? *fans self* I LOVED the intense chemistry between Amora and Bastian that snapped on the page. Before either of them either acknowledged their feelings, readers could feel it through the page. You know that feeling when you just want to be around someone all the time, when they give you a buzzing sensation in your veins, or when you can feel them walk in the room, and maybe it's a small space and you should be feeling claustrophobic, but you aren't because it's so cozy and just the two of you? It's a sign of good writing that Adalyn Grace could capture that sensation and bring it so fully to the page that the chemistry was literally sizzling and I wanted more of all the scenes where these two were together.

ALL THE STARS AND TEETH may not have been the story I was initially anticipating, but you know what? It was so much better. And I'm okay with that! I love fierce, unrelenting, high-stakes fantasy, and that's what this book actually is.  The sequel is already on my 2021 most anticipated list, and we're barely into 2020. It's hard to believe this is a debut novel,  and I beseech you to pick it up for your #weekendreading!


Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG13 ( Kissing; making out; allusion to off-page sex )
Language: PG13 ( Whore, innuendo; some frank talk about what men think they deserve and how a female might want to later avenge herself )
Violence: PG13 ( A lot of murder and death; battles where characters die; a magical ability that can torture a person; disassembling an arm through the flesh and meat to the bone and draining the blood, etc.  )
Other: --
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

Not gonna lie, this cover is what made me truly sit up and take notice. It has a MERMAID TAIL. It has a PIRATE SHIP.  It has...SEA MONSTER TENTACLES. It even has a blurb from Tomi Adeyemi! I needed this book as fast as I could get my hands on it!

This was a true cover home run!
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Adalyn Grace
Release Date: February 4, 2020
Publisher: Macmillan
Received: For Review


“Fierce and unrelenting…Do yourself a favor and get lost in this beautiful book!” — Tomi Adeyemi, #1 New York Times bestselling author of CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE 

Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice, Adalyn Grace’s AALL THE STARS AND TETH is a thrilling fantasy for fans of Stephanie Garber’s Caraval and Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series. 

She will reign. 

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. 

I am the right choice. The only choice. And I will protect my kingdom.



  1. Strange "water hack" burns 2 lbs overnight

    More than 160 000 women and men are utilizing a easy and secret "liquid hack" to lose 2 lbs each night while they sleep.

    It's proven and works with everybody.

    Here's how you can do it yourself:

    1) Grab a drinking glass and fill it up with water half glass

    2) And then learn this crazy HACK

    so you'll become 2 lbs skinnier when you wake up!


Post a Comment

Thanks for taking the time to stop and comment! I appreciate it more than I can say. I try to respond to each one!