Title: The Blazing Star
Author: Imani Josey
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fantasy,
Publisher: Wise Ink
Release Date: Dec 6th, 2016
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.
It’s very rare (at least for me) that after falling in love with a cover, I’d fall in love with the book’s insides as well. It’s either that I end up hating the book, despite the cover, or just enjoying it. When I first saw The Blazing Star’s cover, I was a goner. I mean, you have a beautiful girl (Can we talk about the importance of having a smiling girl of colour on a book cover? Because !!!!!!) and a beautiful graphic design at once. Can you blame me? Then I read the premise and I knew that I had to read this book, asap. Everything about The Blazing Star spoke of promise.
The story starts with Portia, her twin sister, Alex, and a freshman named Selene, who are taken back to Ancient Egypt after Portia touches a museum artifact. They now have to learn to navigate this land that is as foreign to them as they are to it, all the while searching for a way to get back home. But soon the girls learn that there’s a lot more than meets the eye, and their presence in Pharaoh’s Egypt is not quite so accidental as they had initially thought.
It took me a while to finish this book, due to my massive (and now year-long) book slump. I tried to pick it up multiple times over the course of three months, but I put it back down when I saw that it just wasn’t happening. I didn’t want the book to suffer because of my lack of desire for reading. But it’s a new year, as cliché as it sounds, and I’ve decided to sit on my ass and get myself back into books. With that determination, I finally finished The Blazing Star! And boy, am I glad that I did!
Imani Josey is, pun intended, an actual blazing star. Her writing is definitely something I’ll be coming back to, it hooked me right in. Portia’s voice is just as relatable as you’d expect from a high-schooler. Her narrative is light, but at the same time you can definitely tell you’re reading historical fantasy. I did, however, have some issue with the pacing, which felt a bit too rushed at times, and a little dragging at others. Combined with my still recovering, it made the story a little harder to follow at certain parts, because there’s quite a bit of information to take in. But I got so invested in the book that, by the end, these issues took a backseat.
I love all the characters that appear. The main ones, the secondary ones, the ones that appear for about a page or two, I love them all. They were honestly so great to read about. Especially the girls. Each one had something unique and entirely her own to bring to the table. I often wondered which one of them I related to most, but, honestly, I relate to a little bit of each. Portia, and how she’s been constantly overshadowed by her sister. Alex, with her difficulty of accepting change. Selene, with how her little insecurities. Tuya, with her sense of duty and doing what’s right by her people. I enjoyed the rest of them, and found the antagonist a really well-written one, but it’s these girls that shone the brightest. (I did like prince Seti quite a bit, too. *wink wink* Whenever him and Portia were in a scene together, they had me screeching in delight.)
Honestly, I really do not know what to say about this book other than the fact that I really enjoyed it. Despite its little imperfections, The Blazing Star is an amazing debut and a really promising start of (what’s hopefully going to be) a series. For me, this wasn’t just another mediocre read with a spectacular cover. The inside was just as incredible as the outside! There’s a million other thoughts I’d like to share, but my scattered brain won’t allow me, so just trust me when I say that The Blazing Star is definitely worth the read.