Review – Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim

Title Scavenge the Stars

Author Tara Sim

Release Date January 7, 2020

Description from Amazon

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?

Initial Thoughts


I’m all about that. I saw the movie like 15 years ago and was obsessed with it. I watch it whenever it’s on TV.

Some Things I Liked

  • Gender bent retelling. I thought the balance achieved by switching the gender of the main character was really well done. I’ve seen many retellings that are poorly executed because the gender change is not fully thought through. I thought it was really well done here.
  • Plot twists. I was on the edge of my seat until the last page of this story. I had no idea what was going to happen and I loved that. The story was filled with action and I loved the pirate vibes we got to see throughout the story.
  • Realism. I thought the story, much like the original version, was grounded in realistic tragedy and heartache. Amaya had a hard life and many of the other characters experience personal tragedies which only serve to motivate them further. This book was by no means all rainbows and unicorns. Topics such as addiction, death, and child labor, are just a few of the hardships the cast of characters endured.

One Thing I Wasn’t Crazy About

  • This wasn’t exactly a retelling. As this is the first book in a series, I can’t fully judge this aspect yet, but from what I saw, this was a story loosely based on The Count of Monte Cristo but mostly a story of revenge. It was well executed, but I was missing some of the elements of the original story that I would have liked to see. Perhaps we will see them in the next book.

Series Value

I would continue with this series. I think this book had a strong start and despite coming up short in the retelling department (in some ways), I want to see where this story goes. I am intrigued and want to know more.

Final Thoughts

I liked this book. I think it was reminiscent of a personal favorite movie from childhood and I enjoyed the nostalgic feelings it brought up. Similarly, I enjoyed the gender bending twist on the characters as well as the seaside city of Moray as a setting. I would continue with this series as well as look into reading some of Tara Sim’s other books.


Recommendations for Further Reading

  • Before the Broken Star by Emily R. King – if you liked the revenge aspect of this story, check out this series by Emily R. King.
  • Ruined by Amy Tintera – once again, if you liked the revenge plot as well as enemies to lovers romance, try this series by Amy Tintera.
  • Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller – if you liked the sea-faring aspects of this book as well as the setting, try this duology by Tricia Levenseller.

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