Reviewing The Blazing Star by Imani Josey: Time Traveling Black Girl Magic

Today, I have a review for The Blazing Star by Imani Josey, if you can tear your eyes away from the cover long enough to read it.

About the Book:

Author: Imani Josey
Publication Date: December 6th, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, and Young Adult
Page Number: 239
Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Inclusion of Diversity: Features African-American protagonists
Sixteen-year-old Portia White is used to being overlooked—after all, her twin sister Alex is a literal genius. But when Portia holds an Egyptian scarab beetle during history class, she takes center stage in a way she never expected: she faints. Upon waking, she is stronger, faster, and braver than before. And when she accidentally touches the scarab again? She wakes up in ancient Egypt—her sister and an unwitting freshman in tow. Great. Mysterious and beautiful, Egypt is more than they could have ever imagined from their days in the classroom. History comes alive as the three teens realize that getting back to the present will be the most difficult thing they’ve ever done. Stalked by vicious monsters called Scorpions, every step in the right direction means a step closer to danger. As Portia and the girls discover that they’re linked to the past by more than just chance, they have to decide what it truly means to be yourself, to love your sister, and to find your way home.

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ARCREVIEW IconYoung Adult IconAction/Adventure Icon Historical IconparanormalRomance IconOthers Icon Diverse IconCover Love

I wanted to read and love The Blazing Star because Cover Love + Black Girl Magic. Sadly, The Blazing Star and I did not get along after the first few page in the beginning. It felt off, I kept wondering why people were acting so off and artificial.

Like you don't even ask your sister WTF was going on with talking in tongues, fainting, and all of a sudden coming down with the flu? And suddenly knowing how to fight? You say she's been acting weird lately but I'm pretty sure not THAT weird. I expected more grilling, more probing, more reaction. Of all the times to ask if someone is on drugs...

Given what I find out about Alex later, it makes more sense her being presumptuous and silent. However, it doesn't sit right nor make a good first impression.

There was several other things like that which stuck out. Like when Dude and Portia meet on the banks of the river. Who finds someone babbling about shit that doesn't make sense, things that your language doesn't even have words for and take them to their old nurse for treatment in the middle of the night? Portia herself takes a while to clue in that she's not in Kansas anymore. Denial is a powerful thing, but damn was it annoying.

Once our trio get settled into Egypt and wondering briefly how it's so easy and natural for them, it got better and easier to just enjoy the ride. I love the priestesses and the daily life we see in Egypt.

Magic is present from the beginning but doesn't play a larger part until around halfway through. Once the princess pops up and the Scorpions come out to play, it really gets rolling. Sneaking in and out of temples, magical cats, and oh my, is that a flirty attractive guy? Yes, yes, and oh yeah.

Girl power is mightily present but Portia, Alex, and Selene aren't the three musketeers yet. There's problems from the present and past that they need to excavate and that's coming next. The Blazing Star is all set-up. The players are introduced, romance sparked, and the arch is ready to be followed now.

Which means there isn't character progression and it's plot driven. If you're looking for something deeper, you'll have to put in the time for the next book or come back to The Blazing Star when you want what it has to offer.

The explanations that come later soothe the problems in the past and opens up new questions. Alex raises some good questions, and the response she receives speak volumes: it doesn't matter. At least, not now.

They've got someone to save, a war to fight, evil to defeat, and another royal wedding to plan. The exact hows and whys of how this time-travel magical set up worked is inconsequential to the action-adventure paranormal romance story in ancient Egypt.

The Blazing Star makes Portia appreciate being in the moment and moving forward without trying to hide or being someone she's not, which is the way I think it should be read.

I enjoyed reading Nemesis more in general, but The Blazing Star does Egypt with their mythology and magic better and I think it'll really pay off as the series continues. If you can make it past the rough start and enjoy exploring Egypt, you should definitely pick it up. Plus, the twinning dynamic is really interesting and I want to find out what's going on with them. Not to mention how the freshman ties into it and the sweethearts.

Author Bio

Imani Josey is a writer from Chicago, Illinois. In her previous life, she was a cheerleader for the Chicago Bulls and won the titles of Miss Chicago and Miss Cook County for the Miss America Organization, as well as Miss Black Illinois USA. Her one-act play, Grace, was produced by Pegasus Players Theatre Chicago after winning the 19th Annual Young Playwrights Festival. In recent years, she has turned her sights to long-form fiction. She now spends the majority of her time working on backstory, teaching dance fitness classes, and cuddling with her American bulldog, Thor. The Blazing Star is her debut novel.


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