Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
Published by Balzer + Bray on November 22, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, LGBT
Pages: 389 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased
Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.
Now, Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine—called Mare—the sister of her betrothed.
When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two become closer, Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. And soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.
But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other.
With a premise as good as Of Fire and Stars had, I was expecting way more from this debut from Audrey Coulthurst. There’s magical affinities, political machinations, and an F/F romance to boot, but it was missing a spark to bring it truly to life. Both Denna and Mare felt real though and their inward and outward struggles were compelling enough to keep me reading.
Worldbuilding is key in fantasy novels and this one was just lacking in so many ways. The kingdoms have very little definition and the conflict felt forced. There was nothing exciting about it besides the magical aspects which were underused. The narrative even was pretty predictable and I knew the party responsible for the crimes very early on. Honestly so many opportunities were wasted.
Denna and Mare had to carry this story and with two extremely different MCs the juxtaposition and dual POVs added depth. I loved Mare’s independence and how rebellious she was but I also appreciated Denna’s sense of duty and her willingness to always help out. Besides them the only other character with real presence was Nils and there could have been more of him as well.
Overall I did enjoy Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst but wish it could have been so much more. It held so much promise but fell flat in many regards. Despite the lack of innovative plot and a rather two dimensional world I still thought the main characters were pretty interesting and would love to know more about the magic. There will be some out there who love this book, but unfortunately for me it was only okay.
So have you read Of Fire of Stars? Have any other good recs for F/F romances? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!