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of-fire-and-starsWhat: Of Fire and Stars (Of Fire and Stars #1) by Audrey Coulthurst

Who: Balzer + Bray

When: November 22nd 2016

How: A copy of this novel was provided by HarperCollins for review via Edelweiss.

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.

3cats2I had somewhat of an interesting time reading Of Fire and Stars. Hands down, it was one of my most anticipated 2016 releases. A YA fantasy with an f/f romance at its heart? We all know that we need more of those. And besides, this had the added ~forbidden love~ element, which is a plus when it’s not a boring allocishet story.

When I started Of Fire and Stars, I was kind of like: oh, no. Because (not including the prologue) it started off with Dennaleia falling over and being generally useless in front of her betrothed. And being scared of horses.

And then I found out that Dennaleia wasn’t the only POV character in this book, even though the blurb makes it sound like she is the only one. Her love interest, Mare (this name. I cannot with this name), also had POV chapters – in fact, they alternated equally. Mare was extremely immature in the beginning of this book. She’s eighteen years old, and yet acts so much younger than that. She can’t stand Dennaleia, and despises the fact that she has to teach her how to ride a horse.

You could say that the romance in Of Fire and Stars was that of the slow burning type. The girls don’t even really like each other to begin with, and start a friendship before either of them fall for the other. Kisses only happen towards the end of the book, which is kind of awesome. However. I say it could be called slow burn. I think it was supposed to be slow burn. But … the romance also kind of came out of nowhere. I like my slow burn to be a gradual realisation of hey, this cutie has my heart not a sudden change from ugh, this girl, I hate her to I love her and my life is wretched because I can’t have her. I wanted more of the in between bit. I felt like this happened more on Dennaleia’s side, rather than Mare’s, but I still just wanted a bit more of the ‘falling’ in love part.

The world of Of Fire and Stars was pretty awesome. I loved the idea of gods being originally based off mages, and I always love fantasies with magic use in them (they always feel so much more like a fantasy when there’s magic). I also really liked how Mynaria loved horses. But, sadly, I felt like the world building was halfway done. I wanted to know why Mynaria loved horses so much, and why they were so important to their culture. I wanted to know why the mages had gone from revered to hated over time. I just wanted more in general from the world building, because it had so much potential, and I felt like half of it was unused.

I have to say that the ending was dramatic and kind of came out of nowhere, and I was starting to think that it would be the first in the series. It would seem that it isn’t, as the ending did come around with some closure.

All in all, I ended up enjoying Of Fire and Stars. Sure, there were things that I think could have been expanded on that probably would have made me fall head over heels with it, but I am still going to recommend this for anyone looking for a standalone fantasy, and one with an f/f romance to boot.

© 2016, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

trigger warning: death of uncle (murder), death of father (murder), murder (including that of a friend), animal cruelty (murder), use of abelist language, and forced marriage (not fulfilled) in this novel

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Posted on: November 25, 2016 • By: Chiara

11 Responses to Review: Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

  1. Helen says:

    asdjfasf i cannot WAIT to read this book!! god knows we need as much f/f romance as possible!! and omg forbidden love fantasy?? I NEED ASAP <3

  2. The love interest’s name is Mare.

    The love interest’s name is Mare.

    *snorts* Oh man. I’m sorry, but… a book with horses at its heart and her name is Mare?! I find something very extremely wrong about that. (Is it bad that I’m too fixated on this fact to comment about anything else in your lovely-as-usual review? It’s probably bad. But oh my god. Mare. Out of all the names in the world, her name is freakin’ Mare. Why. W h y.)

    • Chiara says:

      Mm, yes. I had trouble with this. I mean, it’s a nickname, but it’s the only name she goes by. The girl loves horses so maybe that’s why? But I wouldn’t call myself Feline or something, even though cats are my everything, haha.

  3. Valerie says:

    I totally agree with you! I really loved how this featured a f/f relationship and was a standalone fantasy, but the world-building was really bland! And hahaha it didn’t even occur to me that her name was Mare for that reason. But now that I’ve noticed, I’m just like “whyyyy”

    I also would recommend this even though I didn’t 100% love it!

    • Chiara says:

      I feel like if the world building had been a little more on point then this book would have been AMAZING. Oh, no. What have I done, haha XD

      Same! It’s too unique not to recommend.

  4. Yeah, a slow burn romance only really works when you get the beginning, the middle, AND the end. Not just a jump from hate to love. I am glad that you enjoyed this one overall though.

  5. Mare, I mean what sort of name is that? It reminds me of a horse, not that there’s anything wrong with it but anyway. I mean how did they mess up the f/f romance, that sounds pretty disappointing. I love the sound of the world (OMG THERES HORSES IN IT HAHAH MARE), but not having great world building kind of defeats the purpose. Lovely reivew Chiara!

    • Chiara says:

      It was certainly an interesting name, haha. Yeah, unfortunately the romance didn’t quite get there for me, which was kind of disappointing. I LOVED how horses played such an important role in the world, but I wish there had been a little more world building. Thanks, lovely!

  6. Romi says:

    I’m still pretty keen to read this for myself, although I’m not raring to get a copy at this stage. I definitely think it ~sounds~ brilliant, but from your review I’m not exactly sure whether it will be brilliant for me, or whether it’ll be just okay. I hope it won’t be just okay, because I’m not really keen to read books, at the moment, that aren’t brilliant (I need all the grand books rn), and also because of how keen I have been for it, but we shall (eventually) see.

    I think the thing that will most likely disappoint me, in reading this story, is that romance build up because I have a really strong dislike for the “hate hate hate” to sudden and out of nowhere “LOVEEEEE”. I like hate-love as much as poeple who like that type of romance, but I do like it to have a sturdy foundation and when it is more, ~now they fall in love~ it can really make the whole story turn on its head for me, and I’m really hoping that doesn’t happen here.

    Even if there were things that frustrated you or you would’ve had differently, I’m glad there were still these aspects (like the kinda-closure the ending offered, and the equal dual perspectives) that made this more than a mildly alright read. *thumbs up*

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