The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

The Chaos of StarsThe Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White
Published by: HarperTeen on September 10, 2013
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology
Pages: 352
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on AmazonBook Details
Rating: ★★

Isadora's family is seriously screwed up.

Of course, as the human daughter of Egyptian gods, that pretty much comes with the territory. She's also stuck with parents who barely notice her, and a house full of relatives who can't be bothered to remember her name. After all, they are going to be around forever—and she's a mere mortal.

Isadora's sick of living a life where she's only worthy of a passing glance, and when she has the chance to move to San Diego with her brother, she jumps on it. But Isadora's quickly finding that a "normal" life comes with plenty of its own epic complications—and that there's no such thing as a clean break when it comes to family. Much as she wants to leave her past behind, she can't shake the ominous dreams that foretell destruction for her entire family. When it turns out there may be truth in her nightmares, Isadora has to decide whether she can abandon her divine heritage after all.

I am hugely disappointed by The Chaos of Stars, mainly because I’m a HUGE fan of Egyptian mythology. But the book really fell flat for me. Let me break it down for you:

  • Isadora, human daughter of Egyptian gods, hates her family because she feels like they use her to generate worship so that they won’t die.
  • Isadora moves to San Diego.
  • Isadora becomes addicted to sugar and Coke (Coca Cola.. not like… cocaine).
  • Isadora works at a museum and makes some friends there.
  • Isadora goes to American restaurants for the first time and enjoys the food.
  • Isadora does some interior design.
  • Isadora has bad dreams and ignores them.
  • Isadora tries her very best to not crush on a guy because “Love is like cancer”.
  • Isadora works on a display for the museum.
  • Isadora eats more American food.
  • Isadora complains about how much her family sucks.
  • Isadora has more bad dreams that she ignores.
  • Last 5%: we finally get some conflict, which ends in 2 sentences. Then, the story ends.

What I’m trying to tell you is that nothing happens in The Chaos of Stars. For 95% of the book there is no conflict whatsoever. There’s actually very little Egyptian mythology too. Other than the history lesson info dumps at the beginning of each chapter (which I’ll explain later), the book reads like a contemporary book. It’s just about a girl moving to America, meeting friends, hating her family, not wanting to fall in love, working at a museum, and starting an interior design project.

I will admit that I didn’t hate The Chaos of Stars at the beginning. But small annoyances started to really wear me down over time, and I finally realized that the book was lacking an interesting conflict.. so, my enjoyment dropped significantly.

First, every single chapter starts off with a description of Isadora’s dream that night and then a 2 paragraph “info dump” about some Egyptian mythology. I personally never like reading about dreams in books. They’re boring and ultimately I just don’t care. I didn’t even need to read the dreams to understand the plot. I get that she’s having nightmares and that they’re trying to tell her something bad is happening.. I don’t need to read 50 dreams to understand that. And then the history lessons just felt like filler bits to remind us that we were reading a mythology book and not a contemporary romance. I didn’t feel like the bits of history actually contributed to the plot at all. There are a few relevant points, but ultimately, it didn’t feel that important and the relevant ones could have been presented in a much better way.

Isadora was a painfully annoying main character. For starters, her favourite word is “Floods”. She uses it instead of things like, “Oh my god” or “Holy crap” or maybe “Shit”. She says “Floods” instead. I wasn’t too irked by it at first, but after a while it really started to bug me. But more importantly, Isadora was just so bitter. She hated her family and thought they were using her, so that made her bitter about life, love, and relationships in general. Her outlook on life was, “What’s the point of falling in love if we all die eventually?” She even went as far as to compare attraction to cancer:

“What is wrong with being attracted to someone? It’s a natural thing.”
“Yes, well, cancer is a natural thing, and we try our best to kill it.
“You’re comparing love to cancer. I don’t believe it.”
The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

Finally, I just got so sick of her bitterness and “nobody cares about me” attitude.

I’m replaceable. Utterly, completely replaceable.
The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

And then there’s the whole thing with the dreams. At the beginning, Isadora’s mother told her to watch out for bad dreams because she thought something bad was going to happen. So, naturally, Isadora has bad dreams, then DOESN’T tell her mother about them because she’s mad at her mother. Of course, let’s ignore a god, who obviously knows what she’s talking about. And obviously those dreams do lead to something bad happening.

Overall I felt like every part of the book was predictable. I knew something was going to happen with the dreams and I knew View Spoiler » The Chaos of Stars sorely lacked any kind of excitement or likable main character. There was no conflict for the bulk of the story (other than Isadora’s “poor me, my family hates me” monologues) and when there finally was a conflict, it was squashed in two sentences:

View Spoiler »
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    1. I know!! It was just like “Today I did this,” “Today I did that”, “I had a bad dream”, etc.

  1. Aw, such a shame! I thought this one was cute, but I can see why you didn’t like it. Those things just didn’t bother me for some reason. Isadora did irk me a few times with the pouting over how her family ‘hates’ her, but I really connected with her when it came to the bitterness about love because I used to feel exactly the same way.
    One of the few times we didn’t agree on something, holy crap! Haha.

    Random note, Safari and your blog just don’t get along on my computer for some reason. Had to open Chrome to read your spoilers because they wouldn’t work in Safari T.T

    1. Crazy!! I never thought I’d see the day! I wish I liked this one though. 🙁

      Looks like it’s a Safari + JavaScript problem (where none of the JS works) >_< I have no idea why though because there are no JavaScript errors on my site (that's the most common reason for JS not working). I'll try to look into it, but at this point I have zero idea.

  2. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this one, and that your like for it plummeted really quickly. I’ve seem some mixed reviews, and I have no idea what to think! I probably would be a little irked by the fact that there was no mythology, especially since it was an actual mythology book. Isadora’s bitter attitude also sounds so overbearing and annoying too.

    Fantastic review, though, Ashley! <33

  3. Oh Ashley – I get it and … I mostly agree! This is actually one of these moments when I read it, finished it and rated it 4 Stars. But after a while I kept thinking and thinking and I forgot why I gave it 4 stars.

    You are right nothing really happens and I was a little sad that I missed Kiersten White’s usual spark in her writing.

  4. I’m a HUGE fan of anything Egyptian related and I was really looking forward to this one…then I started seeing reviews and was like, no thanks! I love how you clarify Coke 🙂
    I actually liked Paranormalcy and am starting to think it was a fluke. I have to say that I love the your meh rating, it looks so pretty! What a waste of a good idea!

    Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed recently posted: Review: The Valentine’s Arrangement by Kelsie Leverich!
  5. It’s amazing how much I hated this book. I wanted to smack Isadora upside the head so many times, indeed NOTHING happens, and even the minimal Egyptian myth that White places in the book couldn’t save this one. Such a disappointment too bc I adore her and her other books!

    Vivian recently posted: The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White
  6. Well then! This sounds like a huge stink bomb. I kept thinking I’d get it from NG, but then I don’t know, it just doesn’t appeal to me whole lot. I didn’t like KW’s “Mind Games,” though I heard its sequel was so much better. I think I might try Paranormalcy from her and see how I like it.

    I can’t believe the MC of this one was such a witch – when you don’t like a MC at all, it’s nearly impossible to really click with the story, in my experience. And no conflict? UGH. Plus when the deus ex machina comes to visit in a story, it’s SUCH a turn-off for me. It just sounds like this one had no tension at all. Ewwww.

  7. I agree with you about the conflict – it took me a very long time to get through this book. The other thing that bugged me was that the Egyptian mythology remained exactly the same. Without a modern interpretation or spin I felt like I was reading a mythology textbook with a teenage girl stuck in. And I love your commentary about the end. I didn’t realize that, but it’s so true! She should have stayed in San Diego addicted to Coke….coca cola, to be clear 😀

    Jessica @ Books: A true story recently posted: Book Review: The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

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