I first heard of The Chaos of Stars not too long ago, two months maybe, and I’ve been longing to read it ever since. The story is about a teenage girl named Isadora who lives in Egypt with her immortal family, all gods and goddesses. Isadora herself is not immortal and will be moving out in a few years, something she really looks forward to. There’s too much drama, intrigues, murder and cheating in her family to last her for, well, a lifetime, and she is more than sick of it all. So when an opportunity arises to move to San Diego and live with her (equally mortal) older brother, she jumps at the chance. But Isadora’s mother have strange, ominous dreams and even though Isadora tries to keep a blind eye to it, she has them too. There is danger lurking around them and it can strike wherever and whenever and from whatever way, all the while Isadora struggles to acclimatize to her new surroundings.
My hopes for this one was high, higher than they should, really. I thought a story about Egyptian mythology would be very interesting. A story about the mortal child of two gods set in the twenty-first century, can it get better than that? Apparently so, because this just didn’t make the cut. Now, the idea was great, excellent even. The execution, however, not so much. Author Kiersten White has created a very weak story and though it’s said to be about Isadora and her family of gods and goddesses, I found myself mainly reading about various interior design projects and different foods and desserts. Not quite what I bargained for.
Our main character Isadora is a very negative person who believe love to be poisonous and says she rather wants to spend the rest of her life alone then falling in love. Part of me can understand her, it’s all a fear of being hurt and left and Isadora believe that there’s no purpose in having a relationship when it will end no matter what. It’s quite understandable that she reasons this way, being aware from a very young age that she will die and that what she does in her life doesn’t matter the same way as what her parents do. She’s also hurting a lot knowing that her parents could make her immortal but have chosen not to, and, in her words, doesn’t love her enough to keep her around forever. She has a lot of hurt for her childhood bothering her in her teens, things she have to come to terms with to be able to live a happy life. There’s nothing unnatural about this and I would go so far as to say that Isadora could be anyone (well, if you take away the god/goddess parent thing) but her constant nagging, whining and bitching made her harder to read the longer the story went on.
Other characters include Isadora’s parents, Isis and Osiris, her older brother Sirus and his wife Deena and her friends Tyler and Ry. These are the ones we see most of (though still not very much). Tyler is Isadora’s first friend and they work together at a museum, at which Isadora is supposed to oversee an exhibition with things donated from her parents. They befriend each other on the very first day and Tyler introduce Isadora to her friend, Ry (and later her boyfriend, Scott, who makes about four appearances’ in the book). Ry and Isadora spends some time together, but when Isadora realizes that he might be interested in her, she leaves, knowing that nothing good can come out of him liking her (or, the horror, her starting to like him in return). When they both agree on only being friends Isadora accept Ry’s presence in her life again.
Like mentioned earlier, there’s a threat to both Isadora and her mother, but this is something that only pops up here and there (between all the work at the museum and all Isadora’s dinner dates with Ry). I suppose it was meant to be some kind of mystery, but when there’s only about eight gods mentioned, it’s not that hard to figure it all out. In the end, I wasn’t very surprised. What bothered me, though, was that it was over very quickly. Blink and you'll miss it. Isadora also spends the bigger part of the book feeling and thinking that her family doesnt need her. And when all hell breaks loose (and I use that term mildly) Isadora actually doesn’t really seem to be needed, but that doesn’t bother her at all. It just felt a little ambiguously after focusing so much on that throughout the book and then in the end she doesn’t even notice it. It feels like that could sum up the entire book, actually.
I had a hard time connecting with the characters. I understood how Isadora thought (well, for the most part), but she, just like Ry, was portrayed to be the most beautiful human beings to ever walk on this Earth, more or less, and that bothered me. It also annoyed me that Tyler’s boyfriend didn’t get a bigger part in the story (why couldn’t Isadora befriend him, as well, when Tyler, Ry and Scott were friends? Why did he get left out even though Isadora didn’t have a problem with him?). It just felt like White tried to give Isadora what she needed; a girlfriend in Tyler, whom she could talk to about whatever, and a potential love interest in Ry. I think Scott could’ve been a great addition, but alas.
Overall I thought the novel was weak and didn’t live up to neither my hopes nor standards. Neither of the characters except Isadora felt properly worked through and to call this a book with mythology, when so little appeared, felt like false advertisement. I would call this “Teen angst love story with a smidgen of mythology”.
This is not a book I will go back to and I won’t recommend it, either. It will look pretty on my shelf, though. Always something, I guess.
I’ve learned the fun way that there’s no wrong way of finding books. There are so many out there and sometimes I think, How will I be able to find the best of the best among all these books? But then you hear something from someone or you see something or you read something somewhere. This particular novel is one I found through a post on Twitter which had a link to Instagram which ultimately had a picture of the book and a caption that made me look around to see what it was about. And I’m glad I did!
Many people know what they want to do with their life quite early and Abby Barnes is no exception. She might even know it a little too well. She has worked hard and have created The Plan, which will see her get into Northwestern College where she will study journalism, graduate and get a job on a big magazine and have her life completely in order by the time she hits twenty-two. But not everything goes according to Abby’s perfect plan.
It all starts the day of that odd earthquake. Abby is in L.A, working as an actress on a movie set. It’s the night before her eighteenth birthday and the star of the movie lures her out from her hotel room to celebrate her birthday with the rest of the cast at a hip new restaurant. The past year has been nothing like Abby thought, or wanted it, to be. One of the classes she wanted to take the year before got cancelled and she had to choose between astronomy and drama. Out of two evil things, she chose the less evil. Drama. But that brought with it the school play, which Abby surprisingly got the lead in, which then lead to a scout not only seeing her, but also offering her a chance to try out for a part in a movie, which she got. That’s why she now is in L.A celebrating her birthday with a bunch of actors instead of being at the Northwestern, working on The Plan. Exhausted after the night, Abby gets into bed, ready for a new, early day on set, only to wake up in a room she’s never been before. At a place she’s never set foot on. With people she never even heard of. And that’s when the weird stuff really start.
It turns out that what happened that night was a collision between two parallel universes where the people switched worlds. Abby moved from her life in L.A, working as an actress, to her parallel’s life at Yale, living as a student. But the really odd thing is that no one seems to remember how life was before. They don’t know that they’re not living their life and that the memories in their head aren’t their memories but their parallel’s. Abby is alone, remembering how it was before, what she wanted and how it turned out, and living in something that is completely different. At first she hates it, because it’s neither the life she wanted nor the one she ended up with when she had to take a class in acting instead of music history. But gradually Abby finds her footing in her new surroundings, only to realize that everything can change overnight and there’s nothing she can do to hold on to the things and people she finds herself loving, and wants to keep in her life.
Parallel is a story about one girl and her life, her ideas, her plans. But it is also a story about the exact same girl who lives her life completely different, and what happens when these two girls, these two version of the same life, need to coexist. The novel is told from both viewpoints and thus jumps from present time (at Yale) to past (a year before, when Abby was still in high-school). We meet the exact same people in both worlds; Caitlin, Abby’s best friend and science genius, Tyler, Abby’s oldest and most trusted friend, her mom, dad and grandparents. Dr. Mann. Michael and Josh, both love interests to the two parallel Abby’s. Everyone appear and they’re the same yet different, much like Abby herself. One would think that technically, the same person in parallel universes were the same, but they aren’t, which makes this a very unique book. Never have I read about two people who are practically the same but yet the opposite of each other.
I can see that it must have been a little tricky for Lauren Miller to weave this all together. There are many pieces that have to fit with each other, in both universes, and that’s not the easiest thing to take on. But I would say that Miller have succeeded. It is simultaneously the same story and two completely different. The same people who do different things. I love the idea and I love the outcome. It was thought through and well written with both plot twists and happily ever after’s.
This is, ultimately, a love story, so it’s probably a bit odd that one of the few things that bothered me was the fact that there were too many guys. Three in total, in all these different versions of Abby’s life. I just feel that it would’ve been nice if Abby had been alone sometimes, not focused on boys but on her studying or career instead. Just something to show that not everything, all the time, is about boys and being in love. For a young adult novel, though it may be a romance, I still think there should be something else to show younger girls that boys are, surprisingly, not everything. Abby was very driven and focused on what she wanted to do with her life in the beginning, but I think Miller lost track of that somewhere around the third guy entering the story. All of a sudden it was more about Who should I pick? and less about What to do to be that person I always wanted to be? The love doesn’t have to disappear, but what I’m saying is, don’t lose track of what Abby wants and who she is just because she finds herself favored by some really hot guy.
All in all though, it’s a good book and I really enjoyed reading it. For someone who likes astronomy and are quite interested in the idea of parallel universes, this was amazing. I’ve only ever read one book like this and it was Claudia Gray’s A thousand pieces of you. This was definitely not far from that one. A deep, interesting read were you had to think, which made you laugh and in the end left you a little disappointed that there weren’t one more page or an epilog to really give the novel an end. But at the same time, I can see why Miller chose to end it the way she did. Read it, and you’ll see what I mean. And I promise, if you’re drawn to the ideas of multiverse then you won’t regret it.
The third installment in the series is, for me, the best one. Cinder grows a lot as a person, as does Kai and Thorne. Scarlet finds out a lot about herself and Wolf shows time and time again which side he stands on. The new girl, Cress, is socially awkward and shy, but also curious. She brings a lot to the story and has a very sweet innocence that I loved from the first chapter. Levana is meaner than ever and the peaceful bond between Earth and Luna has probably never been so fragile as it is now. We are on the brink of something huge and it will all go down in the final installment, Winter (out in November). I look forward to a conclusion with both happiness and dread. Happiness, because I’m very excited to see what happens next. Dread, because I have a very strong feeling that Meyer have more than one plot-twist up her sleeve and I’m a little frighten of who else will have to be sacrificed in order to reach the happily ever after I really hope arrives.