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The Chaos of Stars Hardcover – September 10, 2013
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up–Life is lonely when you're the 16-year-old mortal daughter of Egyptian gods. Isadora has been constantly reminded of her mortality ever since her parents, Isis and Osiris, showed her her own tomb as a young girl. Tired of her family's long history of feuding and scheming, she is counting the days until she is old enough to get away and live a normal life. That opportunity arrives when some bad dreams and an unexpected visitor cause Isis to send the teen to live with relatives in San Diego because home is no longer safe. Thinking that she is finally out of her parents' reach, Isadora is quickly proven wrong when she learns that her mother wants her to volunteer at a local museum to earn her allowance. Although she is wary of relationships, she can't resist befriending Tyler, a feisty girl and fellow volunteer. And despite her belief that love leads to chaos and disaster, Isadora gets close to Tyler's gorgeous poet friend, Ry. The strong bonds she forms help her appreciate her parents and embrace love for the sake of loving. White cleverly uses Egyptian mythology to depict teenage angst and generational conflict in a light, witty style. Although the characters are simplistic, the themes are clear and well executed. Readers looking for a fresh take on paranormal stories will find a lot to love in this romance.–Joy Piedmont, LREI, New York Cityα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Isadora can’t wait to leave her stifling family life in Egypt and join her brother Sirus in California. Her parents—Osiris and Isis—are gods, and she is merely human, and bitter about it, too. Her parents could gift her with immortality, but she believes they don’t love her enough to keep her forever. Now that Isis is pregnant again, Isadora knows she’s being replaced. Sirus is welcoming, and eventually, through her museum job, she makes friends, finds interior-design projects, and even falls for a strange, beautiful boy (who, readers will realize long before Isadora, is also descendant of gods—Greek ones). But when her ill-omened dreams keep telling her to return home, she ignores them until it’s almost too late. Self-pitying Isadora is hard to like, though she redeems herself by saving her family once she learns how badly she’s misunderstood everything. Unfortunately, most of the excitement happens at the end, with the rest dominated by romantic angst, dream sequences, and Isadora’s flippant mythology lessons. Readers enamored of Egyptian mythology may still like this contemporary perspective. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: White’s Paranormalcy trilogy brought her tons of attention, and a sweepstakes, mobile campaign, and more should keep the spotlight focused. Grades 7-10. --Krista Hutley
Top customer reviews
I read almost anything about ancient Egypt and everything that even remotely touches on Isis and Osiris. I call it research for my own novel. :-)
That being said, I'm remarkably picky. A whiff of a camel plodding by the Pyramids or a description of those tombs baking in the sand under the hot Egyptian sun as cool and shady (ok, they ARE shady), and you've lost me. And need I mention there are so many ways to go horribly wrong with Egyptian mythology?
That being said, Kiersten White's The Chaos of Stars just delighted me!
Like Gaiman's American Gods, it satisfies our prurient interest on what happens to the protagonists of the world's first great love story (Isis and Osiris) 6000 after the fact. From the POV of a teenage girl who just happens to be one of their many human offspring. All born to keep their worship alive. Kiersten White had me hello!
Because really, how do you cope when the Great Mother is your mother? Set alternately in Abydos, Egypt and San Deigo, CA, Isadora, their human daughter struggles with life, love, the modern world, and ancient enemies in a way that kept me turning the pages into the wee hours of the morning.
White's mythological research is top-notch. I had no quibble with her using the stereotypes of Isis as the interfering Mother and the usual depiction of Osiris as the feckless Father. What teenager doesn't think of her parents like that? Besides, it worked for the character arc of this novel. I didn't figure out the bad guy until the very end, which always pleases me. There was a "surprise" twist about the love interest that wasn't that surprising, but it gave me hope this novel actually might be the beginning of a series.
I highly recommend it.
Isadora is the mortal daughter of Egyptian gods. However, she didn’t always know she was mortal. Talk about a rude awakening! I was so fascinated by her life and how her heritage affected her. Seeing her family and their actions through her eyes was a treat. I have to admit, I’m not nearly as “up” on the Egyptian pantheon of gods as the Greek or Roman. The made the excerpts at the beginning of the chapters really helpful. Also, Isadora “tells” them and, as White bestowed her signature humor and wit upon Isadora, each one had me laughing.
The story itself kept me engaged and trying to figure out some of the more mysterious aspects of the plot. Having some familiarity with mythology helped me pick up on a couple things but others took me by surprise. Part of it was I just kept getting so distracted by the endearing characters that I forgot I was trying to piece something together! This is certainly not a complaint. I loved the characters and their idiosyncrasies. I was also impressed with how easily I was able to relate to a character who was raised by deities. The overarching theme of family (and trying to find ones place in their own) is something readers can connect with.
In the case of The Chaos of Stars, the pleasure you get from the gorgeous cover only hints at the enjoyment to be found in the story it contains. A fun and delightful book. I can’t wait to get the library copy in to share with my students!