All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace
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.
Amora starts out in the story naive and entitled. But when she has to prove her worthiness to rule, it goes terribly wrong. And Amora flees with a pirate to the open seas. Along their journey to discovery and helping her people, Amora grows. She becomes more likable and matures. And she shows her true colors in the big showdown.
All the Stars and Teeth is first in a duology. The story starts with fun characters and an exciting example of the magical power that these people have. It’s a fascinating world, but we learn more about it as we go without the dreaded info-dump. There is plenty of action and adventure with a bit of romance. And as Bastians’ secrets are revealed, there are plenty of surprises along the way. And I appreciate that the main antagonist is complicated and is a bit sympathetic when it comes to his people. The suspense culminates to an exciting finale. And thankfully, this story doesn’t have a major cliffhanger, which I appreciate. But there is plenty of story left that I look forward to in the sequel.