THE CHAOS OF STARS
Updated: Jan 11
Show of hands: how many people know someone who has this quote (or a very similar version of it) on a rustic sign in their home:
"And I'd choose you; in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I'd find you and I'd choose you."
Now, show of hands again, how many of those people know where that quote came from?
Didn't think so.
Surprise! It's from The Chaos of Stars. Now go forth and educate all of those souls who buy poetry or prose on rustic signs without knowing their sources (can you tell I'm an academic?). Here's a short summary of the book that you can give them:
Being the mortal, teenage daughter of immortal, Egyptian gods isn't easy. And Isadora is sick of it. Sick of Isis and her fertility, her favored brother Horus (whore-us), her king of the underworld father, Osiris, and everyone else, thank you very much. So it's with great joy that she goes to San Diego to live with her mortal brother and his very pregnant wife while Isis sorts out her bad juju. But Isadora discovers that she's not any more independent from her family just because she moves across the world, nor does it put enough space between her and whoever is out to get her family.
Here's the thing: because of that epic quote, I had really high hopes for The Chaos of Stars. I thought it would be star-crossed lovers, a slow burn, two soul mates coming together after trials and mistrust and all those other epic love story tropes. And because of that, I was sorely disappointed. In fact, I couldn't believe that this author is the same author who wrote And I Darken, which y'all know I loved.
Isadora is full of teenage rage and hatred, unable to come to terms with her ongoing existential crisis of being mortal when her family is immortal. She's mean and spiteful to almost everyone and uses her fear of mortality as an excuse to keep everyone at arm's length and to dismiss them as a waste of time in the grand scheme of her comparatively short life (compared to gods, at that). In fact, every character is superficial with little development, few defining qualities, and disinteresting dialogue. There's even a game in the book called Mock the Worst Fitting Swimwear where the "grand prize winner" of the worst bathing suit is a pregnant woman in a bikini. Honest to god, I almost put the book down then and there for the body shaming of a pregnant woman on the beach in a bikini. Editor, you fucked up by letting that slide. Just thinking about it makes me mad all over again.
Then there's the romance between her and Ry, which is neither dramatic nor a slow burn, because there's little to no burn at all. There's no basis for Ry's love for Isadora--no, really, you never find out why or how he knew she was the one for him, there's breadcrumbs in the beginning that lead to absolutely nowhere, and as a theme for this book, none of the breadcrumb trails lead anywhere except to a place I like to call Confusion. The plot is the same way. You're led to believe something sinister and mysterious and threatening is building, and in the last ten pages the plot and the book are concluded. It's one of the most anti-climactic books I've read in a really long time.
The Chaos of Stars absolutely doesn't live up to the famous romantic quality of that line. In fact, it might actually be a good thing that no one knows where the quote comes from, because they'll be looking for something deep and romantic and find nothing of substance.