Title: The Blazing Star
Author: Imani Josey
Genres: YA, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
‘Sixteen-year-old Portia White is used to being overlooked—after all, her twin sister Alex is a literal genius.
But when Portia holds an Egyptian scarab beetle during history class, she takes center stage in a way she never expected: she faints. Upon waking, she is stronger, faster, and braver than before. And when she accidentally touches the scarab again?
She wakes up in ancient Egypt—her sister and an unwitting freshman in tow.
Mysterious and beautiful, Egypt is more than they could have ever imagined from their days in the classroom. History comes alive as the three teens realize that getting back to the present will be the most difficult thing they’ve ever done. Stalked by vicious monsters called Scorpions, every step in the right direction means a step closer to danger.
As Portia and the girls discover that they’re linked to the past by more than just chance, they have to decide what it truly means to be yourself, to love your sister, and to find your way home.’
I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Before I start this review, I want to write a little disclaimer. I read this book during a very difficult week, namely, the week that Trump won the presidency. I could pretend that this had no effect on my reading, but sadly, it did. I felt very down, and I kept thinking about my American friends and what they were feeling, which made the reading experience a lot less fun. It wouldn’t be fair to the author of the book if I didn’t address this, since it is something that affected my reading experience, and I’m sure I would’ve enjoyed the book more if I had read it the month before. Now, let’s move on to my review.
When I spotted this book on Netgalley and read the synopsis, I got incredibly excited. Ancient Egypt? Time travel? Monsters? YA diversity? Heck yes!
The first thing I want to talk about is how amazingly diverse this book is. Almost every character in this book is a person of colour, and I loved it. The second thing I really enjoyed was that the author didn’t simplify certain words for the reader, and she used the real Egyptian terms (example: kalasiris instead of dress.) Of course this was difficult sometimes, but the author explained everything very well and it really added an almost authentic feel to the story.
Something I also enjoyed was the part that the Egyptian mythology and culture played in the book. It wasn’t like Rick Riordan’s books were the Gods are super involved in the story and we actually see them, but in The Blazing Star, the Gods do play a part, but it feels a bit more mysterious.
As for the characters, I’m not sure if I like them or not. I did like our main character Portia, who is a very strong and brave, but I strongly disliked her twin Alex. Alex is the kind of character who is used to getting her way, and gets very annoying when stuff don’t go her way. For the rest of the characters? I could just couldn’t keep them apart, and I’m still not quite sure who’s who, so I can’t really tell you anything about them. My little disclaimer does play a huge part in this, so please keep that in mind.
The Blazing Star does have a lot of girl power, and just girls kicking ass in general, which is something I adore. That was the main thing I loved about this book. Girls supporting girls. Girls being strong, in a society in which they’re expected to be weak. Love love love.
However, I didn’t love the book. One of the reasons for this was that I didn’t like the writing, which felt a bit messy sometimes. I wasn’t able to picture any of the scenery or rooms because of a lack of descriptive-ness, and some passages I just didn’t get. I read them over and over to be able to understand what was going on, but I just couldn’t. I still have no idea about some of the things that happened in the book.
Overall, I did enjoy the book, but I don’t feel invested enough to want to continue on with the series. However, if you like books about Ancient Egypt and magic, I would recommend this one to you.