“You’re in Egypt, Portia. Ancient Egypt.”
Starting out The Blazing Star, I wasn’t really sure what I was expecting. This book is basically about a girl who’s in a time that’s not her own and that discovers some things that’ll change her life. It has time travel and fantasy, and while it has some structural issues, I think it’s worth a read.
This book is immensely character driven. Portia is the leading lady and she definitely knew how to capture your attention. She starts off insecure but quickly turns into a self-assured and strong leading lady. Portia knew to make difficult decisions to protect the ones she loved, which is drastically different from who she was at the beginning of the story. I love how the author wrote Portia’s voice. You could really feel she was a teenager, as well as feel her anxieties and fears.
In fact, the author’s writing is pretty good. She made each character’s voice different, which made it all around easier to recognize who’s who. For Portia, her voice was more modern-sounding, which means that it included more slang and sarcasm, meanwhile for the Egyptians, you see how much more “formal” their speech was. Also, the writing made it easy to keep passing the pages, because it didn’t feel like it was bogging you down with useless info.
Another thing I really liked about this book was the fact that it was so diverse. First of all, the cover features Portia, a woman of color with natural hair. And, since it takes place in Ancient Egypt, all of the characters are black. In fact I think every single character in this book was a character of color. Not to mention, the book had several women of color in positions of power or just being generally badass.
The romance here was short but very sweet. It doesn’t overpower the plot; in fact, it only appears near the end of the story. It was a bit predictable, and I thought it developed just a little bit too fast, but I’m willing to overlook it just because it was so adorable.
The problem with this book is the fact that its pacing is so slow. It feels like nothing’s happening for 30 to 40% of the book. Another thing that I wish would have been better was the world-building, for even though it was set in Ancient Egypt, I didn’t really feel there, even though I know there was a lot of research made based on the different cultural aspects that were integrated in the novel. I’m hoping this is something the author will address is the next book.
All in all, I think had this book been longer, and been a little bit more fleshed out in terms of world-building and pacing, it would’ve been a solid 5 stars. I still really enjoyed this book despite its flaws, and can’t wait to see what else Imani Josey has in store.