5★ books | book review

Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim | Review


I do enjoy a good retelling, especially if it’s a retelling of a story I love. Since The Count of Monte Cristo is one of my favourite classics, I of course had to pick up Scavenge the Stars. Continue reading to find out if it lived up to my expectations.


What is it about?

When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her an even 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 still only 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 can’t trust anyone but herself.

scavenge the stars

Book: Scavenge the Stars | Series: Scavenge the Stars #1 | Author: Tara Sim | Publisher: Little, Brown | Published: 07.01.2020 | Pages: 352 | Genre: YA fantasy, retelling | Rep: brown and black characters, queer MC, queer side characters, wlw side characters, trans side character | TW: blood, death, child slavery, murder, corruption, alcohol, minor drug use



  • I absolutely enjoyed the aspects of The Count of Monte Cristo. The revenge and deceptions were well woven into this retelling that nevertheless is an incredible story of its own. It’s YA with young characters and thus, some were more insecure, some parts didn’t work out as they should due to inexperience and I really liked that not everything went as perfectly as in the original, but those things were taken into account to make it a credible story.
  • I loved Amaya. She had to go through a lot, she is angry and she is fueled by her wishes for freedom and revenge. Amaya wants to bring down those who have wronged her but she still wants to stay true to herself. While she and her allies have plans, she also has her own and she struggles to keep the goals aligned, her grief and the confusion of growing feelings for her enemy. I really liked how she was written, I could feel both with and for her.
  • Cayo wasn’t immediately on my list of favourite characters but he really grew on me. Cayo is from a wealthy merchant’s family and hasn’t known much about poverty and the problems it brings and was sheltered. He enjoys gambling but he loves his family and especially his sister more. He would do everything for her and I loved how their relationship was portrayed. Cayo is older than Soria and very protective of her. His love for her and his need to protect her make up a big part of his life and his actions. Like Amaya, he also struggles with his life; with protecting his sister, trying to get by and developing feelings for a mysterious young woman.
  • I did enjoy Cayo and Amaya’s relationship and how it develops. They are both fascinated with each other for different reasons and they immediately see more in each other than most other people do. I liked how their secrets and different life circumstances influence their relationship but how despite everything, they still try to do what’s right.
  • I really liked the world building but I wish there was a map! Is there a map? I loved the politics and (political) intrigues and how the different countries work. Would have loved to see it all on a map!


  • Everything happened a little bit too fast for my liking. I would have preferred some more details, especially when it comes to Amaya and Cayo’s relationship and Amaya’s introduction to society and her life with the Bugs. A few more pages here and there would have been amazing.

Except for the pacing, there was nothing off for me. I absolutely loved this book and read it very quickly. Now I just need a fast way to get my hands on the sequel, Ravage the Dark. Scavenge the Stars was an adventurous read with struggling characters that hope for the best, intrigues and a desire for revenge in somehow everyone. I highly enjoyed this gender-bent, queer retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo.



enemies to (almost) lovers | revenge | retellings | queer stories | siblings | family secrets


Have you read a book by Tara Sim yet? Do you enjoy retellings? Which stories with a revenge plot do you know of?

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Until next time,


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