Author: Audrey Coulthurst
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy | Romance | LBGTQiA
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: November 22, 2016
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 before her coronation—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine (called Mare), 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 work together, each discovers there’s more to the other than she thought. Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. 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 (goodreads).
Of Fire and Stars is a great read for any fantasy lover, but the emotions weren't there.
Plot: Of Fire and Stars starts off as you would expect: a young princess with an unspeakable power travels to a faraway land to meet her betrothed. The true plot centers over multiple assassin attacks and the uneasy truce between magic users and non-magic users. These magic users have been criminalized and made the target of an entire kingdom, and Princess Denna must keep her secret to herself if she wants to stay alive. The plot, while basic, kept me rapt with attention and I truly enjoyed how Coulthurst crafted the end.
Characters: It was the characters that kept me from savoring this book. For me, this book was written emotionless which kept me as an observer and never truly immersed in this story. There are some truly traumatic and emotional moments during Of Fire and Stars, but the author never gives her characters time to grief or express themselves. I felt that both our leading ladies were going through the emotions.
Their love story was a slow burn, which I usually live for. All the pieces were there, but again, the sense of permanent apathy kept me from losing myself in the story.
Worldbuilding: Coulthurst's comprehensive world was just what the fantasy lover in me wanted. The worlds are well crafted and the threats are both realistic and intriguing. I'll be on the look out for more fantasy titles by this author in the future.
Short N Sweet: Of Fire and Stars was a strong debut novel that could have been better if the characters were giving more opportunities to explore their emotions.