Title: Of Fire and Stars
Author: Audrey Coulhurst
Publication Date: November 22nd 201
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
“I wanted Mare. I was promised to her brother. I was in deep trouble.”
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. – Excerpt by Goodreads
It pains me to only give this book three stars. I had such high hopes and great anticipation and it just didn’t live up to it at the end of the day.
Of Fire and Stars was a decent read that really started picking up near the end. The world building and explanation of the magic system in Of Fire and Starswere weak. I have my doubts that the world building will get much stronger but I have faith that the magic system being explained better will happen in the next book. I found the names of the characters frustrating. Most were hard to pronounce and what was worse is a couple of them had names that were fairly similar so I started mixing up a couple of the side characters.
The main protagonists, Denna and Mare, were interesting enough. They were really the only solid part of this book for me, but they didn’t save the novel sadly. The idea of a princess falling for another princess is awesome and something I haven’t seen at all in YA fantasy before. I did think the romance between them was nice and the sex scene was very well-done I thought. It wasn’t smutty but it definitely got fairly steamy. I wouldn’t call it graphic though. I did think the women had a really nice chemistry and I could see me shipping these two if I could get a little more invested in the story itself.
The side-characters were not developed at all. Anytime one started to get interesting, it never went anywhere. One of the major players in this book is Mare’s brother Thandi. It was like the author couldn’t decide what personality to settle on for him. One moment he was strict and tradional and the next he was causal and didn’t seem to care one way or another. His role was very important to the plot, it just ended up falling flat though.
I gave this three instead of two stars because I thought the romance between the women was well done – a bit cliche but nice enough. Also, near the end it really picked up the pace. It left off with a cliffhanger and that has interested me enough to pick up the second book in the series when it comes out.
Overall, I just feel middle-of-the-road on this one. I was really excited to get it and I’m glad I read it but I wouldn’t recommend this book for anyone going through a book slump. It is not a fast moving book at all.