Review: The Blazing Star by Imani Josey

the-blazing-star-by-imani-josey

The Blazing Star

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Date Published: December 6th 2016
Publisher: Wise Ink
Pages: 239
Buy: AmazonBook Depository
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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.

Great.

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.

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Thank you to Wise Ink and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Portia is living a relatively normal life. She feels like she’s in the shadow of her twin sister Alex because she’s an actual genius.When Portia defends freshman, Selene, from being bullied she doesn’t think much of it. That is until Portia is at a school field trip at a museum, touches a scarab beetle necklace and finds herself transported back to Ancient Egypt along with Alex and Selene. Portia realises there’s an ancient war happening and that she has magic (or heka) that could help end it.

This was my first ever attempt at buddy read. I read this with Sara @ Freadom Library. I say attempted because I failed pretty badly (sorry, Sara!). I really wanted to love this because it had so many of my favourite things – a diverse set of characters, time travel and it was taking place in Ancient Egypt. However, I mostly just found myself really really confused. 

The Blazing Star has a beautiful setting. Imani Josey does a brilliant job of making Ancient Egypt come to life. It was so incredibly rich in culture. I loved seeing how diverse this was too. So many times in SFF every single character is white – even in times or places were that shouldn’t be the case.

“As a member of the black community, I thought I knew every shade of brown, but this girl’s skin was the deepest ebony I’d ever seen, clear and perfect as a starless night.”

Similar to problems I had with Three Dark Crowns so much happened in this book but simultaneously nothing did. There were so many characters introduced I can’t even remember half of them. There was a lot of infodumping. I was a bit lost in regards to just exactly why and how the girls were back in Ancient Egypt. Portia’s heka seemed underdeveloped too. It felt like this book was more set up than plot. For a book that’s only 239 pages it took me a surprisngly long time to get through it. I originally thought this was a standalone and didn’t reallise it’s going to be a series, so I wasn’t expecting such a slow pace. The writing felt a little unpolished at times, but this is a debut so I’m willing to overlook that.

The Blazing Star by Imani Josey.png
Egyptians considered the sun’s journey a life cycle: birth at daybreak in the east and death at sunset in the west.

I really enjoyed what we did get to see of the friendship and dynamic between Portia, Alex and Selene. I would have liked to have seen more development between Portia and Alex and the whole twin thing, but hopefully we’ll get more of that next book. Portia was a good lead character, she had just the right amount of defiance and stubbornness while being human. Alex’s character definitely felt the weakest of the bunch and I hope that changes in future books. I thought all girls adjusted way too easily to being thrown back into time and there is kind of an explanation as to why, but it’s along the same vain as why I don’t enjoy the past lives trope. Women were heavily prominent in The Blazing Star and they were normally always the ones with the power, which I loved.

“She was a piece of the world I had left behind. She was the only thing that made sense.”

There was a romance, but it didn’t play a huge part which I appreciated. Even though I didn’t really feel the connection between Portia and her love interest, Seti (an Egyptian Prince), it definitely wasn’t instalove and Portia calls him out a lot too. I loved the way Imani wrote Portia and his first scene together because normally it’d be a “love at first sight” thing, but instead we get glorious moments like this:

“If we didn’t near civilisation soon, I’d have no problem kneeing him in the balls and making my own luck.” 

Even though I wasn’t completely in love with this book, it’s so important to support diverse books especially in a genre were they’re rare. I really recommend everyone pick this up if you’re a SFF fan. I’m so excited to see what Imani writes next because I’ll definitely be reading it!

P.S. Let’s talk about how STUNNING the cover is. I’m in love.

“This was Gods and Goddesses, myths and legends, and very old magic.”

my-rating

★★★

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Have you read The Blazing Star or is it on your TBR?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

I hope you’re all having a fantastic day xx

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35 thoughts on “Review: The Blazing Star by Imani Josey

  1. I never thought of that comparison to 3 Dark Crowns, but I can totally see it now you’ve pointed it out.

    I agree with you on so many of the things here, especially the pacing and the number or characters. The female characters and slow romance helped balance those out for me as well.

    And your photoset is just the most perfect thing ever. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Every meh-ish review I see rolling in for this book depresses me further; it has so many great things going on that I’d normally eat right up, so hearing that the book’s only okay is seriously disappointing. Oh, well. Despite all its flaws, I’m still excited to give it a try–especially after seeing some of the things you praised (I love that quote from when she first meets her love interest!).

    I really hate slogging through a book assuming it’s a stand-alone, only to realize at the very end that its crawling pace was because it’s just the first in a series. That happened to me with And I Darken, unfortunately. Here’s hoping it doesn’t happen to either of us again anytime soon.

    Great review, as always! =)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I so wanted to be able to give this a 5 star review because it’s just so wonderful in concept, but failed a bit in the execution. Part of it’s probably on me though, haha. I don’t do well when I’m overloaded with characters and my attention span hates slow pacing. I feel like if I had have known this was the first book in a series I would have enjoyed it more because then I would have known to expect a ton of set up.

      I’m glad you’re still willing to give it a go!! I hope you enjoy it!! And thank you!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with so much of what you have said, and your review kind of went the way that my review did. I had a hard time keeping track of the timeline, and definitely agree about too many characters coming and going. I also thought it was a stand-alone…until I got to the end. I will probably give the next book in the series a read, but I probably won’t read it as an ARC. I also think that despite its flaws, readers should definitely give it a try!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m back again after reading the whole thing haha You did not fail at our buddy read! It’s impossible to fail at something like that so don’t be so hard on yourself. You know I totally agree with everything you talked about and I’m super glad that we made sure to be honest to everyone. I want to support diverse books but I also want to make sure that I’m honest and critique books the way I see fit. Which makes us both super awesome! Haha 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, thank youuu. I honestly just threw it together in like 5 minutes using nothing except the eraser tool on Photoshop 😂 and a photo I snagged from Imani’s Twitter 😂

      Haha, thanks Sara 🙈 And right!! Diverse books are so important but that doesn’t take away from things like plot ect. and this definitely had a lot of execution issues.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This sounds like an amazing book. When I read the blurb I was immediately hooked so it’s a shame you didn’t enjoy it as much Lauren. I’ll probably still add it to my to-read list though simply because the cover is stunning, the blurb still has me hooked, and like you said it’s important to support diverse books.
    I love the idea of time travel and of this book being set in ancient Egypt as well, plus Portia sounds like a great character and I’m interested in the fact that her friendships with the other two girls take priority over the romance between her and Prince Seti as well. I’ll be going into this book with lowered expectations I guess, but hopefully I’ll still enjoy it. Maybe even more than I would have which I am hoping will be the case with Three Dark Crowns as well.
    Great review Lauren! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Beth!

      It really was such a wonderful concept with so many great elements. I feel like if I knew this was going to be more set up than anything else and if there were less characters I would have enjoyed it a little more.

      I really hope you enjoy it when you get to it 💕

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right.
        Is this part of a series then? I’ve found sometimes with books the first one can be a little off in ways but when you get onto the second and so on it just gets so much better and it was worth sticking around. Maybe that’ll be the case with this one.
        Thanks Lauren, I hope so too! 😀

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  6. Great review, Lauren! Despite not absolutely loving the book it’s good to hear there were several things that you liked. I’m definitely not a fan of info dumping either but I love how this is set in Ancient Egypt. In the Humanities class I’m taking we did a whole lesson on Ancient Egypt and it was probably my favorite. I’ll definitely have to give this a read at some point. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Owww ! I have seen a lot of meh reviews for this book and I’m sad because I am SO excited about it. That being said, there’s no way I’m not reading it. I’m so intrigued by it but it’s a shame it’s lacking though as you said, it’s a debut so IT’S OKAY, and it’s a series so it still has a lot of pontential and opportunities to get good.
    Awesome review!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This one sounded so promising! Hopefully you’ll enjoy the second book more, as you said it’s a debut and the sequel can make a leap forward to greatness! 😉 The cover is so, so pretty. I love that it’s set in ancient Egypt and featuring diverse characters! We definitely don’t get enough diversity in this genre. Amazing review, Lauren 😊❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great review as always! I read Sara’s review before this one and you both agree on the flaws of this book, so I’m more convinced than ever that this book was not that good. Still, I’d like to give it a shot because I’m sure the author will improve and because I freaking love time travel (and Ancient Egypt is such a plus!). I know I’ll feel the same way as you two did, but it could still be an enjoyable read knowing it’s not as good as I expected.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Aww, I’m sorry this book didn’t fill up expectations! The good parts of this book sound great but unfortunately it wasn’t so perfect. Hopefully your next buddy read goes along better! I love the diversity definitely and I agree infinitely with increasingly supporting books that show this! The friendship also sounds lovely! I’ll be adding this to my TBR but I won’t approach *too* excitedly in nerves of getting disappointed – really great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great review, Lauren! Too bad you didn’t really love this one – I haven’t really decided whether or not I’m going to read it but judging from early reviews, unfortunately it doesn’t seem like one to really look out for. Too much info-dumping and not enough plot can really ruin a book for me. :/

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This one is definitely on my TBR. For some reason I was also under the impression that it was a standalone though, so thanks for making that clear. That does affect the reading experience. Maybe I’ll wait until book two is released and hope that makes for a better read… Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. The cover is what originally got me interested in this one but this is the first review I’ve read for it. It’s unfortunate you didn’t enjoy it that much. I think I’ll give it a chance still, hopefully now that I know that it is the first in a series, a slower pace/infodumping won’t be as annoying? We’ll see! Great review!

    Molly @ Molly’s Book Nook

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Even though this wasn’t quite your cup of tea I’ve got to admit that this sounds right up my alley! I’m adding it on Goodreads as we speak because I think this could really be a book that I end up loving! I mean, museums + mysterious objects + ancient egypt? HECK YEAH. Great review!

    Like

  15. This is a FANTASTIC review Lauren! I have this book on my TBR because it’s set in Ancient Egypt, it’s a Diverse Read, and last but NEVER least….THAT COVER! *heart eyes* I agree it is important to support diverse books but also to be honest about any shortcomings. I’m still interested in reading this book however, i will keep it in mind that the 1st book is a bit under developed. Looks like it has potential to grow/improve 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m so disappointed it didn’t hit the mark for you because the premise of the story sounds so promising! I HATE info dumping & introducing a bunch of characters without exploring them in depth. Hopefully the books will get better as the series progresses?

    Like

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