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.
I received an Advanced Reading Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
I am in love with the cover of this book. Introducing it to my parents and proposing kind of love. Seriously, it is gorgeous – quite possibly my favorite book cover of the year. I am considering purchasing the book in hardcover so that I can just stare at it. Now as any avid reader knows, you really can’t judge a book by its cover. Some of my least favorite books have beautiful covers. In this case, however, the content of the book is as appealing as its exterior.
Portia is a fantastic narrator – she is funny, informative without being boring, charismatic and easy to identify with. As is the case in many YA novels, she is trying to find herself – something that all of us can relate to (being a teenager was hard enough, imagine trying to be 16 and confused in ancient Egypt). I also really liked that she seemed to take everything in stride. Her twin, Alex, is pegged from page on as the smart one, but Portia has a very level head on her shoulders and it shows. Josey didn’t waste pages on Portia panicking, or rejecting her new surroundings. Yes, it took her a while to fully accept the reality of her situation, but she hit the ground running instead of freaking out, and that honestly endeared me to her as a character.
Alex and Selene, the other two girls transported to ancient Egypt, were great secondary characters. Alex is one of those characters that you just love to hate. She comes across a bit self-centered, her sole focus being the safe return to present day. While it is easy to understand why she would want to go back – I can’t even imagine how miserable ancient Egypt would be without air conditioner – she completely ignores the bigger picture. I found myself getting frustrated with her every time she snapped at Portia or one of the priestesses, or really any one of the many people she took her anger out on. That being said, she remains unwaveringly loyal to her twin, no matter the situation. Selene was certainly a more reserved character. She was a quiet companion to Portia and I look forward to learning more about her in future books, especially given the events that transpired towards the end of The Blazing Star.
Now, y’all know me, I have been known to enjoy the occasional book without romance, but I certainly can’t resist a good love story, and Josey delivers. While it doesn’t consume the book, Portia’s relationship with Seti was sweet and unexpected. I loved their interactions and looked forward to them. My fellow romance lovers will not be disappointed.
I do have to warn you, this is a book that requires your undivided attention to read. I spent a fair amount of time re-reading pages and referencing previous chapters on multiple occasions. As my only knowledge of ancient Egypt comes from the Mummy movies, I struggled to keep up with all of the different Gods, Goddesses, High Priests, High Priestesses, and the Egyptian traditions. Quite a few characters went by multiple names and I got lost a few times. Despite all of this, The Blazing Star was absolutely worth the effort. It is beautifully written and its premise was wholly unlike anything that I have read in my many years as a fan of YA.
My Takeaway: Imani Josey delivers a well written and original YA book rich with Egyptian history and mythology. While occasionally confusing to keep up with, The Blazing Star was worth the extra effort and absolutely deserves a place on my favorites shelf. I know Christmas is over, but can someone please send me a hard cover copy of this book? I just want to stare at the cover, and maybe romance it a little.
For more information on this book, and the Author, check out my exclusive interview with Imani Josey on the Interviews and Extras page!