Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

Title: Of Fire & Stars

Author: Audrey Coulthurst

Publisher:  Balzer & Bray

Format: eBook

Publication Date: November 22, 2016

Overall: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Source: 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—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.

Of Fire and Stars is such a unique book, it started off incredibly slow and it took me probably the first 20% to really get into it. However, it ended up bringing me in and I ended up enjoying it. The characters were complex and some of the side characters were well-developed too, which is always the mark of a well-written novel for me. I do like that this was a standalone, although I think there is enough world here to satisfy more books.

I do have to say there were some things I didn’t like. I don’t mind Mare as a nickname, but when her favorite thing in the world is horses, it just feels weird. I would have also liked to see more background in the magic/fantasy that was happening, it did feel like there just simple explanations for everything, and quite a few holes in the story because of that. Also, the fact that no one ruling the kingdom listens to sense, was very aggravating. There were some glaring issues that the adults just overlooked “because”. I would have liked to see some solid reasoning, because those characters fell flat for me.

I did really enjoy that in this world the issue is not that the girls are in love, but that Denna is betrothed to the prince, and has fallen in love with his sister. The main roadblock is that she’s already betrothed and as a princess, should be marrying the soon-to-be king. I did love Nils as Mare’s best friend, and he was a great addition to this story and really brought some lightness to it.

Overall, I think the world-building has potential, and the main characters are deep and complex. The side characters occasionally had more depths than was initially revealed but some also fell flat. I would give this story 3.5 out of 5 stars.

3.5/5 – A Great Read, Well-Written

**Please Note: This review is my honest opinion and I did not receive monetary compensation from it.**

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“Nothing could make me hate you,” she said.
“But it’s forbidden. It’s dangerous,” I said, daring her to contradict me.
“Yes,” she said. A heavy pauze hung between us. “But it means a lot that you trust me with the truth.”
Audrey Coulthurst, Of Fire and Stars