Scavenge The Stars is a story running through a thread of revenge, chasing the bad in the society, and developing the strength to break the bad even if a string of love attaches them to you. A perfect young adult fantasy that thrives on the character arc and a retelling that greatly resembles The Count of Monte Cristo while also establishing its own aces that are worth remembering.
➝ Sum it up in points!
✔ fantasy retelling
✔ secrets driving the scene
✔ destined encounters
✔ chasing & running
✔ POC representation
✔ strong female character
✔ knives, righteousness, knives
✔ intense ending
✔ normalized queer representation
✔ legacy, family, the sense of belonging
➝ Trigger Warnings
➝ witnessing someone drown
➝ children sold to repay debt
➝ labor exploitation
➝ aiming pistol at the face
➝ forced marriage proposals
➝ legacy pressure
➝ missing friend
➝ sudden revelation about dead parents
➝ blood, knife gashes, death
➝ gambling addiction
➝ child abuse & labor
Scavenge the Stars gracefully builds a plot that is set on the foundation of a classic it retells but draws a story that proves to be pleasantly apart from everything else. It follows Amaya who had to spend seven years of her life on a Debtor ship working for a cruel captain and losing her identity in the process—even her name when the captain declared her to be Silverfish. Years of shattered dreams, loss of possible moments that she might’ve shared with her family, and the heart-breaking revelation she comes across on the day her debts get paid, pile up to ignite a flame of revenge so harsh and hot that it fuels the entire story.
“Desperation is deadlier than a bullet.”
As a fan of fantasy, the fictional world set in a story plays such a huge role that a character-driven fantasy story is a little hard to digest. The world set up in Scavenge the Stars is amazing with the normalized queerness and the POC representation but it doesn’t set the places, culture, or the map of this world in a satisfactory manner. However, there’s also the possibility of this one setting up the character personalities as the first book in a series and the next ones can give enough justice to the setting.
If all the world were made of gold, lies would still be richer.
Scavenge the Stars wins the hearts of authentic rep lovers with a biracial women of color and a bisexual recovering addict as the main characters. There are several POC and queer side characters also who are not used only for their racial or sexual diversity but as individual personalities that drive the main character’s story arc. In a scene at the casino, the MC refers to someone she meets at the table as ‘they/them’ and it was amazing. As a South-Asian myself, I was delighted to come across the brown-skinned mentions and even names like Amaya or Arun. Though, I can’t say the same for bisexual or biracial rep so my opinions on the execution of these should be considered secondary to those who are ownvoices reviewers.
But she wasn’t some romantic heroine—she had more important things to do.
➝ Adventure & Romance
This fantasy treads the waters of adventurous and romantic storylines too and does so in a very delightful manner. Whether it’s jumping from the ship decks in the middle of a vast sea or disguising oneself, Scavenge The Stars is bound to leave you excited for what lies next and how venturesome it would be. The romance is subtle, builds up at its own pace and compels you to shout at the characters to just kiss.
“…but he was too distracted by the sheer confidence that rolled off of her, like she knew she could get away with anything.”
Scavenge the Stars is a well-balanced story that dives through the sea for secrets and runs through the alleyways for revenge while the characters are finding their voice, their purpose—themselves. A definite recommendation for those who love a diverse representation and female characters with knives.
Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this via my participation in a blog tour but that, in no way, affects my rating and/or review. Thank you, FFBC tours, Disney Books and Tara Sim! This post may contain affiliate links which means I earn a percentage of your purchase using the link without any extra cost to you. Please consider buying through these affiliate links if you wish to support the blog. Thank you!
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Original 9×12 Art piece from AlexCastellanos (@alexisc_art) || 3 exclusive SCAVENGE THE STARS character cards || Exclusive SCAVENGE THE STARS book mark || Signed Bookplate from author Tara Sim
Title: Scavenge The Stars
Author: Tara Sim
Publisher: Disney Books
Publishing Date: January 7th, 2020
Age Category & Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Retelling
When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her a longer sentence on the debtor ship where she’s been held captive for years. Instead, the man she saved offers her unimaginable riches and a new identity, setting Amaya on a perilous course through the coastal city-state of Moray, where old-world opulence and desperate gamblers collide.
Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception—and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she’s plotting to bring down—the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one…
Packed with high-stakes adventure, romance, and dueling identities, this gender-swapped retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo is the first novel in an epic YA fantasy duology, perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo.
Tara Sim is the author of SCAVENGE THE STARS (Disney-Hyperion) and the TIMEKEEPER trilogy (Sky Pony Press) and writer of all things magic. She can often be found in the wilds of the Bay Area, California.
When she’s not writing about mischievous boys in clock towers, Tara spends her time drinking tea, wrangling cats, and occasionally singing opera.
Despite her bio-luminescent skin, she is half-Indian and eats way too many samosas. Tara is represented by Victoria Marini at Irene Goodman Literary Agency. Name pronunciation: “tar-ah” (not “terr-ah”).