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.
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.
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.”