Monday, August 12, 2013

The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

The Chaos of Stars
by Kiersten White
Read: July 27 - 28, 2013
Published: September 10, 2013 by HarperTeen **UPCOMING**
Source: Edelweiss - THANK YOU Harper Collins*!
Category: Egyptian Mythology, YA

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. (From Goodreads)

Isadora is the mortal daughter of Egyptian gods, a fact that she's begun to resent in recent years, especially with her parents constant obsession with death. Her dad is the god of the underworld, after all. When her mom Isis starts having ominous dreams, Isadora jumps at the chance to move to her brother's house in San Diego. Having only family for company for her entire 16 years, Isadora is excited to escape her heritage and be a normal teen for once. Although life in San Diego doesn't start off exactly as she planned, Isadora quickly makes friends, gets a job and meets Ry, a cute boy with whom she's determined not to get involved. But Isadora soon realizes that her family and past is not something she can escape, and maybe she shouldn't want to. When frightening things start happening for real, Isadora finds out how much her family really means to her. 

I adored: 
  • The cover is gorgeous.
  • Egyptian mythology fascinates me. This is the first book I've read that features it and I thought it was very accessible and fun. 
  • For those of us that have trouble remembering the details of Egyptian mythology or its pantheon of gods, we get short history lessons at the beginning of each chapter. These sections are told to us by Isadora and feature personal touches, because they are part of her own family history. 
  • A standalone, self contained story. (Though I would like more from this world!)
  • Isadora wants to be an interior designer, and we get to see her at work throughout this book. I loved watching Isadora create. It was like an addicting design show. 
  • Isadora also spends time working in a museum. This is perfect because it is through museum exhibits that I've had the most encounters with Egyptian history and artifacts. Plus, I used to work at one and always like when they're featured in books (see more on this below).
  • The cast of characters was colorful and amusing, especially Isadora, Tyler and Ry. 
  • I had a lot of fun reading this book. It is a perfect happy palate cleanser (that's my new buzz word). 

I questioned: 
  • As much as I thought the museum job plotline was fun, the structure of the museum did not make sense to me. While there are lots of small museums where staff double as curators, visitor services etc., anything big enough to have a traveling Egyptian exhibit, several exhibit rooms and money for construction, would have a bigger staff with dedicated curators.  The fact that Marissa, Tyler and Isadora did everything (and seemed to be the only staff besides the no-named guards) was pretty hilarious. I doubt most people will even notice this though. 
  • The Chaos of Stars is based on ancient Egyptian mythology, but Isadora has grown up in modern Egypt (although fairly isolated). With all of the current events in Egypt and the incredible unrest there, I'm surprised there wasn't even a mention in passing about the state of the country. Although adding this element would have taken away from the lightness of the story, it would have brought some relevance to it. 

I wish:
  • The Chaos of Stars was a nice light read, and I like that it is a self contained story, but I wish the author had gone a little bigger or deeper with her story. Or at least, I'd love to see another book set in this world. Or maybe Egyptian mythology will start trending. 
  • The bad guy wasn't a huge secret and I definitely guessed some other elements before Isadora. I wish the plot had been a tad tricker. But I'm also surprised at how much I enjoyed this book despite it all. 
  • I wish there had been a cooler explanation for Ry's secret notebook writing. I was a bit underwhelmed by that plot line. (I want to say more here, but I'm going to stay vague for spoiler's sake).

The Chaos of Stars is a light easy read with digestible mythology and relatable coming of age themes. I could definitely sympathize with Isadora's struggles to reconcile her family and heritage with her modern life. Plus this story features a sweet and clean romance that I really enjoyed. While I always knew where Isadora would end up by the conclusion of this book - the lessons she'll learn and the personal growth she'll discover, her journey was still quite enjoyable. I'd love to read more of this world, or more Egyptian based mythology in general. 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone

*Book received in exchange for an honest review. 


  1. Egyptian mythology is so ineresting--one of my favorited. I wanted to be an interior designer as well when I was a kid, ha! I could definitely relate to Isadora. I'm glad to hear the characters were a joy to spend time with. However, I've heard really mixed reviews/thoughts on this book and predictability and lack of depth are some of the things that people have pointed out, just as you. I'm so happy that overall you enjoyed this. It has such a great potential and the cover is gorgeous:) Lovely review, hon!

  2. I really don't know much about Egyptian mythology but it's something that intrigues me and somewhat unique to YA, I believe. I really do like the sounds of this one and I like hearing it's a standalone. Predictability is always a hit or miss with me, depending on how the rest of the book flows, but I'd like to give this one a chance. Great review!

  3. I'm really excited for this one Lauren! I'm a huge fan of all things mythology, and Egyptian mythology is something I really haven't had the chance to read much about so I can't wait to get into it. I wouldn't mind if it turned into the newest YA trend either:) It's definitely a short read, so I'm guessing I'll want things to be explored a little bit more as you did, but overall this seems like a fun, fast book. Fantastic review:)

  4. You know, I just wasn't super intrigued by this book, though I SHOULD be. I've been to Egypt, in 1990. I consider myself very lucky because I would never feel safe traveling there today. I even have one tattoo, on my ankle, and it's an Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol:)

    And then there is the museum stuff--you know I worked in one.

    And I really liked Paranormalcy, though I wasn't as crazy about the sequel and never finished the series. So I kinda felt 'meh' about it in the end. But I did enjoy your summarizing it for me. It does seem like it should've been more detailed and in-depth and less light considering the subject matter, though. And yeah, I think the museum things would've irked me too:)

    I probably won't pick this one up but I'm glad to hear a little more about it from you!

  5. I've read White's entire Paranormalcy Trilogy and though I loved the first book, I found that as I grew, her writing felt increasingly juvenile and light when I wanted more depth. From what you've said, this seems to be a quick read, which is nice, but White usually disappoints me in some way so I think I'll skip it. I do just love that cover, though...actually ALL her covers are gorgeous. *sigh* Wonderful review, Lauren!(:

  6. I really enjoyed this style of review, Lauren! For a light and fun read such as this, I think this style works great. The Chaos of Stars feels like a book that would be a hit with a younger YA audience. I do need to keep my eyes out for books like these, because I plan to teach at the elementary level - though hopefully the higher grade levels. I've met kids who are reading The Hunger Games in grades 4 and 5, so I know something like this could really work.

  7. Hm, I've only read one book about Egyptian mythology and I wasn't a huge fan of it. I've heard iffy things about Kiersten's writing, but I know lots of people love her books! I love colorful casts and fun plots, so I might have to give this one a try. And you're definitely right about the cover. I might have to pick this one up just to admire the beauty on my shelf! Insightful review, Lauren! :)

  8. This sounds like a fun read and I LOVE that cover. I also really love mythology a TON although I haven't spent much time reading Egyption mythology, so I think I'll hunt this one down when it releases. I have to admit that I'm not surprised that it isn't all that deep because this author doesn't tend to write very deep books - that isn't a slight to her or on her because I enjoyed her Paranormalcy books a lot - fun, easy, breezy - good books to have in your back pocket for between heavier ones, ya know? But, yeah, I'll definitely pick this one up based on your review, which, by the way is the first I've read on it so far. So thanks for adding this one to my to-read. I'm kind of excited about it. (:

  9. I didn't realize this was a stand-alone, but all of the reviews I've read have me pushing this one to the very bottom of the pile. I do love that cover and the idea of Egyptian mythology, but it just doesn't sound like it was executed all that well. :(

  10. I'm also a big fan of Egyptian mythology (or any classic mythology, really) so it's nice to see a focus on that for a change. However, I'm not quite sure this is the book for me. I tend to prefer my mythology in the form of historical fiction more so than YA, perhaps because I've been so disappointed with YA mythology books in the past. I'm a stickler for history and I actually enjoy the way authors weave such dense information into their storylines. YA tends to be a bit more simplistic and they (usually) take more liberties with it. This will probably be one of those books that I pick up when I'm looking for something lighter.

  11. It's nice to have a standalone read and not have to wait the year between trilogies. That can be annoying and I forget details. Also, by the time sequels come around I find I've lost enthusiasm for the series. There are several I have yet to finish because I just don't care anymore. This sounds like a fun and fresh read. Wonderful review, Lauren. :)

  12. I'm reading this now and having mixed feelings about it. We'll see how I came out when I finish….

  13. Hmm I'm not sure how to feel about this book. I mean, the cover is fantastic. The idea of Egyptian mythology in the modern world is interesting. But the idea of a non-special person amongst a gifted family isn't anything new, really. And I guess I'm worried about how accurate and faithful it will be to Egyptian culture and myths, since I do have a little knowledge about this. Maybe if I can read it in one or two sittings, I'll try to give it a go.

    Oh, I would love to read more Egyptian mythology-based books as well. If you're interested in pure Egyptian historical fiction, I'd recommend Michelle Moran's The Heretic Queen and Nefertiti. Also Jo Graham's Hand of Isis is pretty good. I do feel that books on Egypt are more commonly adult reads than YA, too. Maybe this will become a trend (mini-trend, perhaps? That way we don't get too tired of those stories).

  14. I love Kiersten White and I'm really excited for this one. I *think* I know what to expect. Also--that cover, seriously!


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