Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim // A gender-bent retelling with so much representation (+GIVEAWAY)

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.
 (A huge thank you to the FFBC tours and the publisher for the eARC and the opportunity to be a part of this blog tour. Click on the tour banner above to view the tour schedule) (US Giveaway at the end of the post)

(+ favourite quotes)

     A couple months ago, I heard "gender-bent retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo" and immediately decided to sell a soul for a copy of this book (not my soul of course, I don't have one smh) Then the lovely people at The FFBC book tours gave me an opportunity to read the book and bless them they didn't even ask for any soul payments.

     Scavenge the Stars is a story of revenge and facing the mistakes of the past with a generous dose of diversity. Read on for a review in my classic list fashion; sprinkled with my favorite quotes from the book!


~Diversity here, diversity there, diversity everywhere~

     The badass, bent on revenge MC Amaya is Indian and I could just about cry with happiness. You know how happy it makes me to see characters like me on the page? and on THE COVER? when I realized it was a desi girl on the cover I spun around gleefully (but sadly NOT gracefully). The other MC our hot mess Cayo is East Asian and as the author mentions in her mood board; a chaotic bisexual. I love how we see SO much diversity throughout the book but in an unforced manner and I just *incomprehensible flailing*.

~Retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo~

     I find retellings fascinating. I like comparing it to the original and letting my brain savour how intelligently the author has weaved an entirely new narrative with glimpses of the original. Reading scavenge the Stars sorely reminded me that I have the memory of a gnat and remember close to nothing about the classic. BUT I did read the cliffs notes so I could draw parallels and I love how Tara Sim takes a classic story of revenge and turns it into something altogether new. The fact that it's gender-bent makes my heart so happy for it's always clamoring for gender-bent retellings of pretty much everything.
“...I'm beginning to learn the only way to move forward is by confronting the mistakes of your past”

~Complex characters struggling on that line between 'the right thing' & 'the easy thing'~

     Let's face it, we love the angst. We have Amaya trying to let go of the girl she'd been all these years to be someone completely new - charming and ruthless. And we have Cayo repenting over the times he's wasted the family's money on gambling and trying to be a better son and brother. And then we have the two characters clash. I love me some good enemies to friends/lovers trope and Scavenge the Stars delivers on that aspect. I did wish we'd had more interactions with each other than internal monologues. I found the internal monologues fascinating because it shows us more about the characters but I really wanted more "I'm supposed to hate you but you make me question my beliefs" interactions.
“Because children are the victims of their parents' crimes.”
“This, though - it wasn't survival. Not really. It was merely kindness, and friendship, and Amaya had no idea what to do with either.”

~Secondary characters who intrigue me~

     I wanted to know more about Ramora, Bas and Roach. I do think we'll be seeing more of one of these characters (I won't say who 'cause spoilers) in book two but I really want to know all the deets about all three. Ramora fascinated me. She's a very 'love her, hate her but you can't ignore her' kind of character who has grown up cold and calculative because of her father. I wouldn't at all be opposed to a Ramora novella

~Plot Twists and Intrigue~

     To be honest, I wanted more of the scheming and badassery. I wish we could have seen more of Amaya's training and more of the scheming and political intrigue. I did enjoy the twists. I guessed some things at the beginning but the ones towards the end? I did not see them coming! I have a feeling book 2 is going to have a lot more political intrigue and I IS EXCITED.
“Every man carries his sins a different way.”
     The one thing that made me a bit sore was the lack of world building. I love fantasy especially because we get to see fascinating new worlds. in Scavenge the Stars we do see those but It felt a bit vague to me. There were the names of all these countries and places but without much knowledge about them. I wanted to know more! I did love that there were a few myths and stories the characters talk about but I wanted to know more about the cultures and traditions. I'm really hoping I get to see more of it in book two because otherwise the world would seem incomplete.

~Scavenge the Stars may be a story of revenge but it deals with so much more. If you love diverse characters, flawed protagonists and a dash of political intrigue, this is the book for you ~

(Actual rating - 3.5)

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Do you like retellings? What is a classic you'd like to read a retelling of? Tell me in the comments below!