The Blazing Star is one of those books that remind you that 1) Egyptian mythology is dope, 2) the focus on female friendships should be a requirement for every book, 3) the sisterly bond is everything and 4) my crush on Rami Malek started with him as a cute Pharaoh. The last point may not be relevant to this review. Just maybe.
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase what is discussed. I will receive a small commission from the sale.The Blazing Star
Written by Imani Josey
Published by Wise Ink
Published on December 6th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Historical fiction, Mythology, Own voices, Young Adult
Buy on Amazon
Sixteen-year-old Portia White is used to being overlooked—after all, her twin sister Alex is a literal genius.
But when Portia holds an Egyptian scarab beetle during history class, she takes center stage in a way she never expected: she faints. Upon waking, she is stronger, faster, and braver than before. And when she accidentally touches the scarab again?
She wakes up in ancient Egypt—her sister and an unwitting freshman in tow.
Mysterious and beautiful, Egypt is more than they could have ever imagined from their days in the classroom. History comes alive as the three teens realize that getting back to the present will be the most difficult thing they’ve ever done. Stalked by vicious monsters called Scorpions, every step in the right direction means a step closer to danger.
As Portia and the girls discover that they’re linked to the past by more than just chance, they have to decide what it truly means to be yourself, to love your sister, and to find your way home.
What is The Blazing Star about?
The book follows Portia, a teenager who spends her life living in the shadow of her perfect, brilliant twin Alex. During a history lesson about Ancient Egypt one day, Portia’s teacher makes her hold a beetle amulet and she faints after only a few moments. This could be the end of it, but her class goes on a school trip to the museum a few days later and, once her team wins the treasure hunt organised for them, the museum curator allows her to wear the amulet around her neck — which teleports her back into the past.
There, in the middle of the desert, she meets a soldier who helps her find her way to the nearby town despite the amulet-induced sickness. She is healed and hosted by the local priestess, and finds out that another girl from her group followed her — and that her sister is not so far either! Starts a journey toward reuniting with her sister, with magic, arranged marriages and revelation about her true identity.
My review of The Blazing Star
Okay, let’s start with the cover, shall we? Because that cover is simply gorgeous, and a big reason why I asked NetGalley for a copy. It catches the eye and got me curious. Not to mention how excited I was at the idea of a story featuring a black female protagonist. I do like my books diverse, after all.
And damn, did the content match the cover. The Blazing Star is an amazing story from beginning to end, and I love all the topics it covers, from magic to Portia’s relationship with her sister to Egyptian religion to female friendships. (Also, what a sharp contrast with the disappointment that was Nemesis, when it comes to Ancient Egypt.) Female characters are the main focus of the story, leaving the male characters in the shadow, and I can’t say I mind! I loved how complex all those women were, and how complex their relationships with each other were. I also loved how there was not on ‘right’ way to be a strong woman in this book, with the princess and the priestess being portrayed as equally strong despite how different their characters were, and with no woman putting another one down for being different. It goes a long way to show that being a Strong Female Character™ is about more than knowing how to fight and be stoic.
This book also reminded me of how fascinated I was with ancient mythology as a child (Egyptian, Greek, Norse… I loved them all!). It did a really good job of giving you a glimpse into the past, and the way everything was described was really wonderful to read. Though, if I have to be nitpicky about it, I have to admit the descriptions of the women’s outfits can be a bit much at times. While it’s nice to plant the decor at first, there is no need to go into great length to describe every new outfit everyone wears… It only makes the text more heavy.
Lastly, I saw people complaining about the instalove in the book, and I must admit it didn’t bother me too much. As in, I’ve seen much worse, and this one was actually believable in my opinion. It was not too ‘in your face’ either, beside one big scene at the end, and it didn’t take the focus away from the main storyline, so it is something you can easily put aside to focus on more compelling plot points. (And, even if I’m not an expert on the subject, it’s nice to see a black girl being so adored by her love interest, just saying.)
In conclusion, The Blazing Star is a nice and delightful read if you want some magic and a lot of girl power in your life. The cliffhanger left me with a hundred questions and I’m really glad that Imani Josey teased a second book on her Instagram account because I need answers! I need all the answers! All of them!