The Chaos of Stars Book Poster Image

The Chaos of Stars

(i)

 

Romantic fantasy with Egyptian gods a fun mom-daughter read.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Isadora's parents are the Egyptian gods Isis and Osiris, and each chapter starts with a tale of her "family history," which is really a crash course in Egyptian mythology.

Positive messages

At the heart of The Chaos of Stars is the struggle of every teen: the push-pull of needing freedom and space from parents, but also needing their love and understanding. It's also a fantasy-tinted reminder that most families are full of challenges. Also, bravery can mean independence and being centered in oneself, but it also means being open to love and relationships and all their possibilities.

Positive role models

Isadora is brave to travel far from home and discover herself, but she's also full of hurt and spite for her parents. The transformation to understanding and caring for her parents again is slow and steady throughout the book until she becomes the heroine. She also slowly realizes that she can open herself up to other people and not be afraid of loss. Ry is a heartthrob who writes poetry -- what could be better? He's also patient with Isadora and doesn't hide his feelings from her.
 

Violence

Some fistfighting, with Isadora ending up with a concussion. Mention of a live organ embalming. Isadora mourns her dead cat and is disturbed that her Egyptian god parents are excited for her to decorate her own tomb (where she will meet her cat again someday). There's a snake attack and mention of a near-drowning. Egyptian mythology tales that start each chapter include mentions of gods killing or nearly killing other gods. Isadora has nightmares where her family is in danger and a darkness consumes her and her loved ones.

Sex

Some kissing and hand-holding. Sprinklings of innuendo and jokes about STDs, Isis' maternal breasts exposed in statue form, and more. The story of how the goddess Nephthys wanted a child so she disguised herself as Osiris' wife and slept with him. Hathor is described as Horus' "boozed- and sexed-up wife," probably because she's the goddess of beer and sex.

Language

Mentions of swearing without the actual words. All written words are mild: "piss," "screw it," "bastard," and "freaking." Isadora doesn't like the god Horus so she spells it "Whore-us."

Consumerism

A whole lot of Coke drinking, with a mention of Facebook, and a couple mentions of Tide detergent and a Mini Cooper.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Wine at a gala opening. Isadora mentions it should be beer instead to go with the Egyptian theme, but then says she doesn't drink. A mention that Osiris is drunk when he slept with a disguised Nephthys.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Chaos of Stars is a great book for fantasy-loving moms and teen daughters to enjoy together. It depicts a difficult mother-daughter relationship on the mend and all the push-pull that happens when teens need freedom and space from parents but also need to know they are deeply cared for. Isis, the immortal Egyptian goddess, is the mom in question here, so expect to learn quite a bit about the gods of ancient Egypt. Her daughter, Isadora, moves to San Diego and meets new friends and a dreamy love interest. She also meets with some danger, suffering a concussion and a near snake bite. Language is mild ("piss," "screw it," "bastard," "freaking"), and the sexual content stays mostly in innuendo territory, though there's a kiss or two and the story of Egyptian god infidelity. Isadora discovers Coke in the states and drinks it constantly.

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What's the story?

Isadora has about had it with her mom, Isis, Egyptian goddess of motherhood and fertility. Isis is pregnant again, and four years ahead of schedule -- Isadora is only 16, and Isis usually waits 20 years between children. After the baby announcement, Isadora's dad, Osiris, god of the underworld, simply points to Isadora and says, \"What about this one?\" Between that and her realization that her immortal parents don't seem to care enough to make her immortal too, Isadora begs to go to San Diego and live with her older, also mortal, brother, Sirus. She's thrilled about the sudden freedom until she finds out her mom signed her up for a job helping organize an ancient Egypt exhibit of pieces she just donated. Can she ever get away from her family? At least she has new friends: a sweet and dorky girl named Tyler, and Ry, a boy whose hypnotic eyes she could get lost in, but won't. Isadora decides there's no way her short mortal life can handle anything else that won't last forever.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Actiony and adventure-filled this is not -- until the very end. When a fantasy tale throws ancient gods in the mix, readers expect the following: a dangerous quest, vengeful gods with impossible requests, teens with powers. OK, we've all been reading a lot from Rick Riordan. THE CHAOS OF STARS may be as witty or wittier than Percy Jackson, but the closest thing Isis' 16-year-old daughter, Isadora, has to powers is a knowledge of all languages and a keen eye for how to decorate any room in your home.

So no, it's not a "boy book." In fact, girls, grab a copy for mom and get ready for a low-key but meaningful discussion on mother-daughter relationships. Isadora starts the book desperate to be away from her mother and slowly works toward understanding her. Or, you could also just enjoy Chaos for the sweet romance. Ry's all kinds of dreamy -- those eyes -- and you'll be yelling at your book until stubborn Isadora admits she's fallen for him. While we're all wondering if she'll ever listen to reason, the sparring dialog between Isadora and Ry is big fun.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about families, mortal and immortal. Do you think bestowing some human-seeming foibles made these gods more accessible and easier to understand for the ancient Egyptians? What other religions had gods with negative qualities?

  • Moms and daughters: Talk about Isis and Isadora. Why does Isadora start out hating her mother? What makes Isadora understand her mother better? How is it reflected in her dreams?

  • What appeals to you about The Chaos of the Stars the most? The romance? The fantasy elements? The humor? Is it missing anything?

Book details

Author:Kiersten White
Genre:Fantasy
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Brothers and sisters
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperTeen
Publication date:September 10, 2013
Number of pages:288
Publisher's recommended age(s):13 - 17
Available on:Nook, Hardback, Kindle

This review of The Chaos of Stars was written by

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