HomeReviewsYoung AdultReview: Scavenge the Stars

Review: Scavenge the Stars

Scavenge the Stars

Title: Scavenge the Stars
Author: Tara Sim
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Count: 336
Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Date Published: January 7, 2020
You can find it here: Bookshop.org


Amaya was sold to a debtors ship as a child to pay off her father’s “alleged” debts for which he was tried and executed. Years later, with her sentence almost completed, she makes a rash decision to save a drowning man – a consequence which could have her sentence extended by the cruel captain. But this mysterious man promises riches and a new life …

Cayo Mecado is heir to his cold-blooded father’s empire in the heartless city of Moray – an ocean locked city-state that hides a dark, dangerous underbelly of crime, gambling, corruption and murder. A deadly disease, known as Ash fever, is rampaging throughout Moray and has claimed Cayo’s beloved sister as its latest victim. Now it is a race against time as Cayo will do whatever it takes to save the sister he loves, including dealing with the warlord Slum King.

Caya and Amaya’s paths intertwine in this Count of Monte Cristo inspired, gender-swapped retelling as each fight for vengeance and to save those they care about.


Let’s Talk 300 pages:

I’ve said it before, I am a picky b!tch when it comes to fantasy, world building and the seemingly standardized 300-400 pages of YA … so take this opinion as you will … but to really develop a unique world and characters that are vivid, unique, and complicated a book simply needs more than 300 pages.

I was quite very skeptical when I picked up Scavenge the Stars, but right away it took me by surprise with gritty, complex characters and a dark, seedy world – both on the debtors ship and in the city-state of Moray. I think Tara Sim took this book into some really dark places that fostered a strong emotional connection to the story and only having two main characters was really smart with her page constraints. But when working with small page real estate, eventually something has to give and the ending was quite rushed and a little spastic. It didn’t bring down the read as a whole, but it was disappointing considering the novel really shone up until that point.

Let’s Talk Characters:

I really liked both Amaya and Cayo. Amaya gave me really strong Inej vibes, one of my favourite literary heroines, and I’m always excited to hear more stories from kick-butt women.

Cayo was such a conflicted character and, I believe, done very well. As he deals with the demands of a cruel father, conflicted between duty, loyalty and his own moral compass while also struggling with the demons of addiction and grief … he was just so damn interesting.

Side characters aren’t as fully fleshed out, but I am really interested in hearing more from Romara, the badass, whip-smart daughter of the Slum King.

Let’s Talk Stand Out Points:

There are two things I want to bring to light here that I found so very enjoyable.

One – Tara Sim never dialled back, or glossed over gritty aspects here, and many scenes are hard hitting. I feel this brought out such a strong emotional resonance to such a short book.

Two – Sexuality and race was so very fluid and never a big deal. I really enjoy books that never make a point of exaggeratedly showing how inclusive they are – inclusivity here was seamless and never heavily dwelled upon, it just was. To me that is true equality.

Overall Thoughts:

This was a pleasant surprise, an overall enjoyable retelling that features a gritty, tough heroine and conflicted characters in a unique and well fleshed-out world. I really enjoyed my time with this story and was impressed with the amount of world building and character development that Tara Sim fit into these 300 pages. It was dark, it was inclusive, and while it does suffer from a rushed ending, this wasn’t enough to bring down the whole.

TBR Ranking: High

For Fans Of:

Daughter of the Pirate KingDaughter of the Pirate King

Written by Tricia Levenseller

Published by Square Fish

You can find it here: Bookshop.org





Written by Meagan Spooner

Published by HarperTeen

You can find it here: Bookshop.org




Any purchases made via retailer links provided in this article may result in this site receiving a share of that sale.

Welcome to And other tales. The little corner of the interweb where we don’t count cups of coffee, believe cancelling plans to stay home & read is just good life advice, refuse to acknowledge the calories in baked goods and will never judge you on the number of marshmallows in your hot chocolate or the size of your TBR piles. Curl up, get comfy and click through for book reviews, life chats, playlists, vegan & gluten free baking recipes, gift guides and more.

Newest Articles