• Alex Lopez

Scavenge the Stars

Hello everyone! This is the first post of 2020 and I've been saving this occasion to feature Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas is a work that is a great part of my life. Through this work, Dumas immortalized the words "Wait and Hope" and showed the pain of a wronged man and how he sought out revenge to heal a wounded soul...that is until he found the words that contained the sum of all human wisdom. Aside from the persona of the Count that Edmond Dantès takes in order to shed his human vulnerabilities, The Count of Monte Cristo immaculately chronicles the lives of the families who caused such great injustices to be inflicted upon Dantès. I've always seen this meticulous incorporation of characters such as Valentine Villefort as Dumas's way of showing that blood does not determine character. Instead, there is a way of breaking the circle of betrayal and injustice by seeking one's greater self and being selfless towards others.

I consider The Count of Monte Cristo as a work that marks the epitome of literature where an author captures the pain of humanity, the threads of hope, and how letting go allows us to embrace a destiny that awaits on an unknown horizon.

For this reason, a work that is presented as a retelling of The Count already holds a high, personal, expectation. The first time I read through Scavenge the Stars, I compared it to The Count the entire way through and marked the various liberties that had been taken upon the original story. The second time through I read it as a separate work that incorporated some elements from The Count.

From the beginning of Scavenge the Stars, I quite enjoyed Tara Sim's descriptive human observations. She takes us directly onboard the debtor's ship, The Brackish, where we feel the ocean tides of cruelty and injustice beneath our feet alongside Silverfish. The primary narrative followed around Silverfish, Amaya's debtor ship allotted persona that enables her to separate from her life before her change in circumstances. The second narrative centers around Cayo Mercado, the son of a wealthy merchant who longs for a life on the far shores of the sea rather than under his father's iron grip. The varying narrations show the clash of worlds such as how Alexandre Dumas first introduced Maximilien Morrel after chronicling Edmond Dantès's evolution into the Count of Monte Cristo.

Scavenge the Stars was an engaging contemporary fantasy that is sure to appeal to readers who enjoy works by Nadine Brandes, Sabaa Tahir, and Roshani Chokshi. Sim's interpretation of The Count was charged with Amaya's steadfast goal to regain what was lost and Cayo's desire to make sense of the secrets surrounding his life. I honestly would have liked to see more threads of the original, core story intertwined in Scavenge the Stars, but I look forward to reading the continuation of this duology.

Favorite Quotes

"Revenge. It was a simple word when spoken out loud, but it was so much bigger, like the hidden city under the atoll. It was a word of fire and blood, of a knife’s whisper and the priming of a pistol."

"Every man carries his sins a different way."

"Instead, she leaned on the railing and inhaled the briny air, letting it play with her hair as she remembered what it was like to be on the water, its rolling movements and fathomless depths. Her need for revenge had brought them all to this place of uncertainty and fear. She had ignored all the warnings and tended only to her desires..."

"Surely saving a man’s life is worth a few more weeks..."

"She had wept then, but she didn’t weep now. Because this time she was leaving nothing behind."

"His mother’s songs had been right: nothing could stay, and everything was temporary. You could never trust what you have, only what you were capable of."


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.


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Tara Sim is the author of SCAVENGE THE STARS (Disney-Hyperion) and the TIMEKEEPER trilogy (Sky Pony Press) and writer of all things magic. She can often be found in the wilds of the Bay Area, California.

When she’s not writing about mischievous boys in clock towers, Tara spends her time drinking tea, wrangling cats, and occasionally singing opera. Despite her bio-luminescent skin, she is half-Indian and eats way too many samosas.

Tara is represented by Victoria Marini at Irene Goodman Literary Agency.

Name pronunciation: “tar-ah” (not “terr-ah”).


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Prize details:

· Original 9x12 Art piece from Alex Castellanos (@alexisc_art)

· 3 exclusive SCAVENGE THE STARS character cards

· Exclusive SCAVENGE THE STARS book mark

· Signed Bookplate from author Tara Sim

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Win finished copy of SCAVENGE THE STARS by Tara Sim

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Starts: 1st January 2020

Ends: 15th January 2020


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