Two Minute Review: Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

Thursday, November 3, 2016
Title: Of Fire and Stars
Author: Audrey Coulthurst
Genre: fantasy
Series: N/A (maybe?)
Pages: 400
Published: expected November 22 2016
Source: Book Expo America
Rating: 2.5/5

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.

I am thinking... 2, maybe 2.5 stars for the long-anticipated lesbian princess fantasy book? Maybe? If I am being particularly generous. I wanted to love this and I tried, I really did. I didn't give up over those 400 pages. So many good ideas for Of Fire and Stars, and there were so many pages to fill... and a lot of it fell flat. It was mostly a dull, somewhat plodding fantasy  read, occasionally brightened by a promise and potential for more that never quiiiite came to be. I do still hope this novel works better for other readers and sells well because I want way more f/f/ fantasy. I just won't be rereading this one.

Of Fire and Stars was a long book and the main characters of Dennaleia and Mare take their time getting to know one another and developing feelings for one another. Normally, this is something I would love and enjoy reading, (even though in this case it's setting up a super awkward love triangle involving royal siblings. Anyway.) However,  the interpersonal relationships just take way too long  to coalesce into real emotion and I had far too little of interest in the limp murder-mystery that occupies the other half of the novel's plot. The worldbuilding is lacking, insomuch that it's barely even a factor. There's no real sense of place, of history, or culture. 

I am not sure if this is being continued into a series, but I am fairly sure I won't be following it if it does.


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