I read and enjoyed Paranormalcy and Supernaturally, but it was a long time ago (and apparently before I got a firm grasp of how to add images to reviews...which still applies, but...anyway...)
I haven't read the conclusion to that trilogy, Endlessly, or White's other recent book, Mind Games. When I saw The Chaos of Stars, with its semi-dark poetic title and the promise of Egyptian gods I thought..."hey, sounds good to me!"
And look how pretty this cover is...
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.
First of all, it was a little bit of a mental shakeup to read about the Egyptian gods I knew so well from Rick Riordan's Kane Chronicles with totally different personalities. It took me a while to get acclimated.
Second, it's helpful if you know going in that this book is different than most YA paranormals/fantasies.
I couldn't quite define what was different about it until I read Kiersten White's description:
"This is a weird book, a sort of hybrid contemporary-family-drama-romantic-comedy-coming-of-age-but-oh-yeah-also-with-Egyptian-gods creature."
(Quote from author's blog)
For a good deal of the book, we're reading Isadora's feelings about and memories of her family, her thinking she's unloved and unimportant, and her reasons for refusing to love anyone. The "oh yeah, also with Egyptian gods" feels really accurate. Gods and goddesses are not the focus of this book at all, although Isadora relates a story from Egyptian mythology at the beginning of each chapter to illustrate how massively weird and screwed up her family is. The Chaos of Stars is much more about her journey to be brave and let her guard down, and allow herself to fall in love with Ry, who is a likable love interest.
There's a fine line when you're writing about an MC who is resentful and bitter. She can come across to the reader as a wounded character, one who is hiding behind anger and pushing people away for fear of being hurt again. That's sympathetic and understandable.
OR...she can sound like a jerk.
Isadora most of the time has enough humor to land on the Not a Jerk side of the fence. But it was a close call and this is certainly a YMMV situation. There were moments when her attitude was a bit much. That said, I always got what White was trying to do with this character. I just wasn't won over by Isadora, even though I understood where she was coming from.
While I didn't strongly dislike The Chaos of Stars, I also wasn't drawn into the story. It just wasn't my cup of tea.
*Review copy courtesy of Edelweiss. Thank you!*