All the Tides of Fate: All the Stars and Teeth, Book 2

Book review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
All the Tides of Fate: All the Stars and Teeth, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Queen is unworthy of her cool magical world in finale.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Readers can compare the magic practiced here with those in other fantasies. They can also learn more about the Five Elements (earth, water, fire, air, spirit) in various Eastern philosophy traditions and think about how fantasy stories often convert these traditions into magical practice.

Positive Messages

There's freedom in the truth. Finding ways to deal with loss, including not running from it and accepting the help of friends. Friendship and teamwork. Power is a corrupting force craved by the weak and evil and the path to just rule is a hard one.

Positive Role Models

Amora seemed more admirable in the first book. Here, she lies a lot, sometimes to avoid hurting her friends but mostly because it's easier than the truth. She's barely talked out of some selfish decisions. Eventually she finds her way to the truth and the right choices, but not without many missteps and much guidance. She's even disrespectful to ancient creatures trying to offer her sound advice, taking what she wants from them and running away. Her friends are supportive, perhaps more than they should be. Some LGBTQ+ representation included in this story: a lesbian couple with a baby and an advisor at court who uses "they" pronouns.

Violence

A roomful of prisoners stabbed, their bones harvested for magic. Skirmishes where soldiers are killed by swords, others punched, choked, and threatened. One major character sacrifices himself for his friends after he's stabbed. Poisoning magically healed. People crushed by vines and stabbed are magically healed. The main character suffers repeated panic attacks where she relives her father's violent death. Reminders that an important character was kidnapped and held for years in an abusive situation.

Sex

Main characters have sex, including oral sex, some details described including undressing and the herb they will use to prevent pregnancy.

Language

Mostly "bastard" and "damn," and one "bitch."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Heavy drinking by characters in their late teens and those around them at a gambling den and at parties. Once the main character tries to limit her drinks so she can keep her wits about her.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that All the Tides of Fate is the finale in the All the Stars and Teeth duology by debut author Adalyn Grace. In the first book, All the Stars and Teeth, Amora was a princess. Now she is a queen and touring her island-chain kingdom. The violence is less than in Book 1, but it's still prevalent. There's a bloody execution of prisoners, a poisoning that's magically healed, plus skirmishes where soldiers are killed by swords and others are punched, choked, and threatened. One major character sacrifices himself for his friends after he's stabbed. Amora suffers repeated panic attacks where she relives her father's violent death and there are reminders that an important character was kidnapped and held for years in an abusive situation. The sexual content is more mature than in the first book. The main characters have sex, including oral sex, with some details described including undressing and the herb they will use to prevent pregnancy. There's also plenty of drinking among the older teen characters, some of it heavy in gambling dens and at parties. Queen Amora makes a point to keep her drinking to a minimum at a party to keep her wits about her. This is one of the few smart choices she makes until the very end of All the Tides of Fate. She lies repeatedly and needs to be talked out of a selfish decision.

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What's the story?

In ALL THE TIDES OF FATE, newly crowned Queen Amora already got off on the wrong foot with her advisors. Some of the older men don't want to listen to the 18-year-old. Some have noticed that she hasn't used her soul magic to rid the prisons of criminals and suspect the truth: that she hasn't been able to use her magic since her father was killed. And every one of them wants her to find a suitor on the islands to secure the family line with lots of heirs. That last one stings Bastian almost as much as freedom-loving Amora. Ever since the pair had been cursed to share a soul, Amora has been avoiding Bastian. She doesn't trust that her feelings for him are real. She's so determined to break the curse that when she finds out that a powerful magic may exist hidden on one of the kingdom's islands, she agrees to take the husband-hunting trip as a front to search for it. Of course the best ship for the job is the Keel Haul, Bastian's ship, and Amora will need him to sail it.

Is it any good?

Just as the main character has lost her magic, this finale has lost some of the magic of the first book and trades more in secrets and lies than in the curious possibilities of its magical world. The magic is still cool. Especially with each island specializing in different forms and now allowed to mix them and experiment. But that's just the set dressing. Queen Amora ignores all this like she does the suitors on each island, and her friends, and lies to all her friends, all in pursuit of some seriously dangerous magic. She even tries to ignore her cursed soul connection to her love interest, Bastian. It's too bad she (or the author) didn't explore this more. It would have brought these characters closer, at least in the minds of readers. There's only a vague idea of what each senses about the other.

When Amora finally gets close to her goal (alone, with friends later fuming over why she didn't ask for help or tell them what was going on) she's face to face with an ancient creature who tries to guide her. She grabs what she wants from it and runs before she hears it out. With all this power suddenly hers, it takes all the friends she's lied to the whole time to guide her in the right direction, and more sacrifice on their part than she really deserves. The twists at the end of the story would have been much more satisfying if Amora was easier to root for. Still, it's worth rooting for this novice author to keep the magic coming and build more positive depth to her characters in the future.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the press touring Queen Amora gets in All the Tides of Fate. How are stories spun to make her look good or bad? Who does the spinning? How much control does Amora have over how she is perceived? Can you relate this struggle to the experiences of any celebrities in real life?

  • What do you think about how magic is portrayed and used in All the Tides of Fate? How is it different from or similar to how magic works in other fantasies you've read? 

  • Would you read more about these magical islands? What other characters would you like to follow on a story?

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