“Scavenge the stars” is hailed as perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Leigh Bardugo, and Sabaa Tahir.
“Well, that sounds nice” I hear you from across the screen. NO!!! Were you born yesterday? Publishers know very well that those are the names at the altars YA Fantasy fans pray to.
My expectations were nonetheless raised.
Scavenge the Stars Review
The opening and the first chapters were in all fairness brilliant.
The first chapter, in particular, had me thinking this might have been a five-star read. Silverfish and her plight became mine.
The characters desperation became my desperation and I was on the edge of my seat everytime they seemed to be in danger.
All that promise evaporated as the chapters went on.
Those who started as adaptable to the circumstances became untethered and unable to control their own circumstances.
The plot became predictable then uninteresting to culminate in frankly unbelievable.
Even the threat of war and decease could not make me care for the characters.
The fact that I had to check other reviews of Scavenge the Stars to remind me of the name of the hero should tell you plenty.
Truthfully the characters weren’t awful but there simply wasn’t much to them other than that one single characteristic or tragedy and you can’t create an entire person out of that. Amaya was the single exception until it became obvious how little power she had over her own fate.
Some of the villains and side characters were interesting and their arcs did make sense considering the world in which they lived but they were cursed with the same sense of inevitability that made me not care for the main characters.
It was one of those books in which the characters were doing whatever the author wanted them to, even when it didn’t make sense.
One of the biggest draws of Scavenge the Stars for me was Moray being inspired in something other than a white European country.
Not only that but Amaya is of Afro-Asian descent and I would have loved to see that being explored in more depth.
Moray’s culture was interesting enough and I liked how much weight the author gave to class hierarchy and the consequences for trying to surpass it.
I’m not the biggest fan of retellings, but for those that are, every other review seemed to agree in how faithful this was to the “The Count of Montecristo”.
Once again, Scavenge the Stars did the job. It wasn’t the most vibrant I ever found but it did not cater to Eurocentric views, and that’s a novelty by itself.
This was where the Asian influence was felt the hardest with both casinos and tea houses being places where people went to amuse themselves.
The fashion of Moray was also something to which the author devoted a lot of time and it was definitely one of the best parts.
The LGBTQ rep
Not only there are plenty of queerness in this story, it’s not reserved to a gay side character in the middle of a chapter.
We were blessed by a bisexual protagonist and several of his equally queer friends as well as an asexual boy and multiple appearences by a non-bynary side character.
All this inclusivity ended up feeling forced an unmoored when the rules were not explained.
Is heterosexuality considered the default orientation? Is it safe to be out anywhere or just in the underworld?
Do the rules change depending on which economical class you are born into? Are same-sex relationships only allowed for unmarried men? Is it the same in other cultures inside this world or just Moray?
Conclusion for Scavenge the Stars
I liked that Scavenge the Stars was a story about more than two straight white people in a European inspired country.
There was diversity, high stakes, and a world that no one else had ventured into yet, populated with women and men that were both strong, smart, and cared for those they loved.
And the good news is, if you liked this, there is a sequel coming out somewhere in the future.
Looking for more reviews?
Check out my review of Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.