Scavenge the Stars (Scavenge the Stars #1)
by Tara Sim
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: January 7th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings
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.
Silverfish is so close! So close to paying off her indenture and being free from the slave ship she has spent most of her life on. All she has left is a few more days, until they see a strange man in the water and Silverfish saves him, going against her captains order. Saving his life has earnt her 3 more months on the ship, but the man is more than he seems and he offers her a deal; save his life and he will give her all the riches she desires. Silverfish believes it to be a bit too good to be true, but when he escapes and the captain blames her, she has little choice left but to follow the man and hope he isn’t a crazy as he sounded. His plan is about as crazy as he seems, pass Amaya (Silverfish) off as a member of the gentry, let her get close to Cayo Mercado, the son of the man who was behind the death of her father and her subsequent selling to the slaver ship, and bring his business tumbling down around him. The only problem? Cayo isn’t exactly the bad boy he was supposed to be, and as they grow closer they will unwittingly unearth something that could bring down not only Kamon Mercado, but the whole empire.
I’ve never read the Count of Monte Cristo, and have little knowledge about what the original story is about so I had very few expectations when going into this book. What I got was a story full of disguise, treachery, love and vengeance. I was hooked within the first few chapters and flew through the pages.
Amaya, Countess Yamaa, Silverfish. She has numerous names throughout the book, and yet no matter which skin she was in she couldn’t escape her true self. The little girl who grew up on stories from her father and in a loving household all to have that come tumbling down around her, and in one fell swoop she was swept away from her family destined to spend the next 7 years of her life on a debtors ship paying off her families supposed debts. Amaya was a really intriguing character for me, not easy to trust, and someone that always keeps a little part of themselves tucked away, never quite opening up. She has a strength inside her that has never dwindled, not when she was sold to a debtors ship, or after everyone of the beatings she received. Her one aim in life was to get back to her mother and get revenge on the people who ruined her family.
Cayo Mercado is a playboy, gambler, general dreg on society. That was until his father and sister dragged him out of the gutter, determined he would become the dutiful member of society fitting for his family name. Washed, cleaned and put in charge of parts of his fathers business his life seems to be getting on the right track, that is until he meets the infamous Countess Yamaa and both their lives get turned upside down. Cayo has his vices, but it is his love for his sister, and not wanting to disgrace his family further that keeps him from the gambling dens and the friends he found there.
Like I said, I had very little idea of the plot before reading this story so I image if you have read the Count of Monte Cristo you might have a slightly different reading experience. The author creates a world we all know well, a continent at war and the little country simply trying to stay out of the way, yet I found that her writing style and descriptions had me flying through the pages needing to know what happens next. There are plenty of twists and turns, some slightly predictable ( and I imagine if you had read the original book there wouldn’t be many surprises for you) but its the characters that had me truly invested. I loved Amaya and Cayo and lived for the parts of the book where they interacted.
The romance in this book was pretty slow burn, in fact nothing massive happened, but it set itself up perfectly for the next book in the series. Amaya knowing that she shouldn’t be falling for the son of the man she was trying to destroy, and Cayo, originally drawn to the Countess because of his fathers wishes, finds that the more he learns about the bizarre girl, the more he seems to be falling for her.
The book, as all good books do, ended on a cliffhanger leaving you flipping through the last pages hoping for more. I will certainly be picking up the sequel, and will be picking up more books by the author. 4.5/5