Book Review: ALL THE STARS AND TEETH by Adalyn Grace

Title in white on blue with hands holding a ground and a skull wrapped in a tentacle
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: Yes - first book in duology
CW: Blood, gore, torture


Book cover for ALL THE STARS AND TEETH: title in white blue surrounded by spines, daggers and waves (etc) against a royal blue background

Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice.

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.

UK cover for ALL THE STARS AND TEETH: title in gold in front of a paper cut sea with glimpses of sea monsters

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.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


ALL THE STARS AND TEETH is one of YA’s most hyped fantasy releases of 2020, marketed as a fierce pirate book with a twist. It released yesterday in the UK, and back in Jan/Feb in the US (I have a US copy, hence this review coming so soon after UK release).

Thankfully, ALL THE STARS AND TEETH did not disappoint.

Is it fierce? Yes. The magic system in this book is brutal. It was a buddy read, and the very first messages we sent each other were delighting in how uncompromising the magic was.

From the first instance of Amora using her magic, to the details of the new curse magic, this is not a magic system that pulls any punches. The soul magic’s first outing is basically torture, and the book never dances around that fact. As the book progresses and Amora learns more about her magic’s history and the world beyond her sheltered upbringing, that unflinching brutality only becomes more and more obvious – nicely mirroring her awakening.

It was just such a delight to read a YA book with a heroine with dark magic who didn’t have a dark/traumatic past, and wasn’t motivated by revenge. She’s embraced the darker magic for her home.

There is also fan-favourite Vataea – the vicious mermaid – was so much fun. Unashamedly vicious, I loved the scenes she was in – from her gory first true introduction in the sea to her sharp grin and banter with the rest of the (small) crew.

Pirate book with a twist? I mean, it’s not particularly pirate-y. Amora and the crew travel on a boat with a self-proclaimed pirate, but there’s no plundering of gold or naval battles. Instead, the boat is the vessel taking them between islands (and they have an encounter with a sea beast too). But I feel that’s more of a marketing choice as it’s been a buzzword these past few years?

This aside, the adventures aboard the Keel Haul is a fast paced one. We both picked up the book, and then didn’t really put it down. I’d been expecting to read this across a few days, but that didn’t happen as I just wanted to keep reading. I had several theories throughout – which promoted and exuberant I WAS RIGHT when a certain one turned out to be true. There’s also a very fun twist as the story enters the final act.

I’m excited to see the next instalment next year!

Read my reviews of other books by Adalyn Grace:

All the Stars and Teeth (this series):



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