Book Review

ARC Book Review: Scavenge the Stars (Scavenge the Stars #1) by Tara Sim

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy + retelling
Length: 336 pages
Author: Tara Sim
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: January 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her a longer sentence on the debtor ship where she’s been held captive for years. Instead, the man she saved offers her unimaginable riches and a new identity, setting Amaya on a perilous course through the coastal city-state of Moray, where old-world opulence and desperate gamblers collide. Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception—and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she’s plotting to bring down—the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one…

Packed with high-stakes adventure, romance, and dueling identities, this gender-swapped retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo is the first novel in an epic YA fantasy duology, perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an e-ARC. All opinions are my own.


I feel like I first need to note that I know nothing about The Count of Monte Cristo. Unfortunately that means, I can’t really speak to how well the retelling went. What I can say is that I reallllly enjoyed this book.

Countess Yamaa, aka Amaya was a force to be reckoned with. She’s still a bit naive in this installment and has some more growing to do. There was a nice character build around her and her arc is showing great promise. Amaya has had to battle her way back from a heinous situation that leaves a mystery in its wake. I love her fierce protectiveness over the younger children around her and her tenacity to get the job done.

Her burgeoning romance with Cayo is a bit dry for me, but they did have some good moments. I love the tiny chances when they were together and both able to be who they wanted, not what was forced of them at the time. There’s definitely some sparks and connection there. I have hopes for how book two will round out.

I would have loved a little more revenge aspect. Amaya talked about it a lot, but it took her a real long time to do anything about it. The late middle section of the book is when her lust for vengeance started to come alive. I like this darker edge to her personality and gives a lot more depth to her character.

Cayo took some time to grow on me. What I appreciated most was his focus and love for his sister, Soria. Their tightbond was amazing and it drove all of Cayo’s decisions [and mistakes]. I did love him by the end and was impressed with the new leaf he was attempting to turn over after falling into a gambling addiction.

The only thing this book is lacking is world-building. There were mentions of a lot of different kingdoms and nations but I knew nothing about them. I think a map or a more direct description of the world surrounding Amaya would drastically help my understanding of the lands.

This was a great, quick, fluid read. I found myself wanting to turn back to it and curious to what happens next. I definitely can’t wait for book two and hope I get a lot more revenge from my girl, Amaya.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy retelling
  • Language: some
  • Romance: a few kisses
  • Violence: physical
  • Trigger warnings: children being sold to debtor ships as labor, child abuse, gambling addiction, someone being drugged without their consent

Instagram || Goodreads

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