Review: The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White.

Page Count: 288.
Published: September 10, 2013.
Published by: HarperTeen.
Source: Received ARC from publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Goodreads Blurb:
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.

My Review:

The Chaos of Stars is a fun read with a refreshing dose of a mythology other than Greek. Through a great supporting cast and despite an immature main character, White has provided pure entertainment value in a story about family and growth. While I personally had hoped for a very mythological feeling from the book, I found it read more like a contemporary that was just incorporating elements of myth. It was still a good read, just not exactly what I was hoping for in this aspect.

The Chaos of Stars has, unlike many young adult novels, a complex family system that the main character, Isadora, struggles with. It was fun to see a family dynamic that is not totally atypical for teenagers brought up to this scale. While many teens have trouble relating to their parents and feel like they need space from them, White has raised the stakes with Isadora. She has given her gods for parents and made the lack of understanding a much more serious matter: Isadora feels like she doesn't truly matter to her family because she was not made immortal and she feels easily replaceable. Her struggle with this is really the main issue dealt with in the novel, though there is also a mysterious mythical problem that brews and a romance that develops to keep the plot interesting.

While I certainly see how Isadora's family can be frustrating for her, I felt at times that she was too stubborn in her refusal to see any side but her own. She felt quite immature, which worked well for her growth in the novel but which I found went on for too long. She bases many of her decisions solely on whether her mother would disapprove or not, which goes against what she kept saying about just wanting her own life. While there were certainly aspects about her that made her feel more like a real, full person (her passion for interior design, for example), I think the complexity that should have been in her character didn't always come through. I really wanted to like her, and at moments I did, but her attitude kept pushing me away. 

I do think that many of the other characters in the novel were very well done, though. Isadora's friend, Tyler, is a fun break from Isadora's occasional moping and helps to show her a good time. She is very much a normal teenage girl, which helps Isadora in trying to escape her very not normal family as one. There is clearly more to many of the family members she leaves behind in Egypt (especially her mother, Isis, and her half-brother, Anubis) than Isadora is willing to see, which I enjoyed watching unfold, despite occasional predictability. Her new love interest, Ry, is a little off-putting at first, but I grew to like him even though I guessed his secret quite early on. I would have enjoyed the way their relationship developed if not for Isadora's immaturity rearing its head once again. I think she as a character is one of the things that really held me back from loving this book.

I enjoyed the little pieces of Egyptian myth that were placed at the beginnings of chapters. They were clear enough that if you didn't know too much about the mythology, you likely wouldn't have trouble following them. At the same time, if you love the mythology like I do, they serve as fun tidbits to help bring Isadora's story back to the roots and add a little extra piece of her personality to what is presented as her family's history. I think White did a great job at tying it all into the modern world, though, as usually happens for me with mythology stories, I wish there was more. For many people, though, I think the balance of mythology and modern-day will be to their liking.
Overall, while The Chaos of Stars wasn't everything I wanted it to be and had an often immature main character, it was still an enjoyable foray into a combination of Egyptian mythology in the modern world with a familial struggle storyline that many young adult readers will likely relate to.
3 stars.


  1. I'm a little disappointed that the main character is so immature but I guess the mythology tidbits sort of make up for it. Great review! :)

    1. I was too, to be honest. I really wanted to love it, especially because of the strong focus on mythology, but Isadora as a character held me back. I did still really like the myth stuff though, so it's worth a read if you love that stuff!

  2. This one seems to have settled firmly in the middle of the road when rated, 3 stars is still enjoyable tho but it's a shame it seems to have missed the mark overall since I was so looking forward to it. The cover is sooo pretty lol. Great review Jess!

    1. It really does seem to have fallen around 3 for a lot of people, which I definitely understand. The cover totally had me excited because it really is gorgeous! It was good, but didn't totally live up to what I wanted (or what I expected because of the cover... yeah, I fell for that)! Thanks!


I'd love to hear what you think!