Of Fire and Stars

Of Fire and Stars

eBook - 2016
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"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 kingdoms. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire--a dangerous gift for the future queen of a land where magic is forbidden. Now Denna has to learn the ways of her new kingdom 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, 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, they discover there is more to one another than they thought--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." --
Publisher: New York, NY : Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, [2016]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780062433275
Characteristics: 1 online resource (389 pages) : map.

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Jun 07, 2017

This was an interesting read -- I enjoyed the slow burn of the romance, I liked the world, I liked the fact that same sex love wasn't an issue in this world, I liked the characters and the story was surprising enough to keep me engaged.

My two largest issues with this book were 1) the names which seemed unnecessarily long and complicated and fantasy-esque and 2) the multiple POV sounded too similar and I often had trouble telling them apart which was confusing. There wasn't enough distinction between their voices.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read and I am sad it's not a series. It's a world I would like to continue learning about. Maybe Audrey will change her mind. Please?

May 17, 2017

This is an extremely well-written YA romance between two teen girls. Everything involving the slow burn of their relationship is very well done, so much so that I (who don't think of myself as romance reader at all) was completely swept up and really enjoyed it. I appreciated that (contrary to stereotypes) the more masculine Mare is bisexual and that she and Denna have different journeys, that Coulthurst's deep knowledge of horses makes the riding lessons feel real, and that the religious/magic system worked as a metaphor for unacceptable passion.

That said, everything outside the romance is weak. The world-building--especially gender roles--make no sense: Some women have traditionally masculine roles, but men never do anything feminine; Denna is prized for her femininity but other girls are disparaged for theirs; and the book never resolves the contradiction between the importance of marrying for heirs and everyday acceptance of same-sex marriage. Likewise, the mystery plot with its obvious villain is clearly there only to bring the girls together, and makes little sense on its own, making the resolution painfully weak. And Mare doesn't react realistically to the brutal murders of 3 people she loves, because the point of each death is to remove obstacles to her romance with Denna.

Some readers won't care at all about those problems and will love the book. Those who do care would be better off reading Emmi Itaranta's The Weaver, which combines the romance between two teen girls in a fantasy world with gorgeous writing and thoughtful world-building.

Jan 18, 2017

I struggled with the chapters switching back and forth between two character viewpoints. It kept the story from being fluid and I always felt like I was having to catch up in the storyline. The story itself was okay.

Dec 15, 2016

Of Fire and Stars is a slow-burn forbidden romance laced with magic, highly recommended for fans of Malinda Lo’s Ash.
Full review: https://shayshortt.com/2016/12/15/of-fire-and-stars/

An excellent book for fans of Ella Enchanted or Tamora Pierce's Tortall books, where girls discover their own strength and what it means to be true to themselves, often finding love in the process!

Chapel_Hill_MarthaW Nov 27, 2016

When I saw that this was a) a standalone YA fantasy and b) featured an LGBT love story, I snatched it right up, and, overall, I wasn't disappointed. I loved that Coulthurst didn't make the love story super angsty (in this world, same-sex relationships are totally socially accepted), and that the fact that the star-crossed lovers happened to be two girls was not at all the point of the book. I also was super excited to read a YA fantasy that wasn't a series opener -- I love series, but I really have started to long for the occasional standalone novel. I thought the worldbuilding in this one was super interesting, and my only quibble is that I found the ending somewhat rushed (and the book isn't terribly long as it stands now, so I think the author could have allowed things to conclude less hurriedly without the book feeling overlong). Overall, however, I think this meets a really big need in the YA world, and hope we'll see more books like this in the years to come.


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Dec 15, 2016

Princess Dennaleia of Havemont has been promised to Prince Thandilimon of Mynaria since childhood. The marriage will seal an alliance that will help the two countries defend against their mysterious and powerful Eastern neighbour, Zumourda. Denna has an Affinity for fire, one of the elements tied to worship of the Six. But magic is strictly forbidden in Mynaria, so she must hide her ability when, at sixteen, she is sent south to finally make her marriage vows. In Mynaria, Denna meets Princess Amaranthine, better known as Mare, who is the elder sister of her betrothed. Mare is charged with teaching Denna to ride a horse before the wedding, but soon sparks are flying between the two girls. When the assassination of a member of the royal family threatens to destabilize Mynaria, Denna and Mare must work together to solve the mystery before Mynaria is plunged into war.


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Dec 15, 2016

Princesses don’t play with fire.


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