Review: Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

2016, Reviews, Reviews by Morgan

Review: Of Fire and Stars by Audrey CoulthurstOf Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
Published by Balzer + Bray
Pub Date: November 22nd 2016
Pages: 400
Format: ARC | Source: Publisher
Genres: Fantasy, LGBT, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
2.5 Stars

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.

Of Fire and Stars was one of my most anticipated books of the year; it sounded amazing and looked amazing! I was overjoyed to get a copy at BEA. And even though the world-building and characters were fairly cliché, I was enjoying the first half; it reminded me of The Girl of Fire and Thorns. I liked Mare the most and liked how her relationship with Denna was developing. I was even intrigued with the mystery and political subplot even if the Directorate was totally useless. I couldn’t stop reading.

*Slight spoilers ahead*

Unfortunately it fell apart for me in the last 120 pages. All of a sudden, the pace went at breakneck speed because the story had so much to cram into the end. I’m certain this will be a book with a sneaky sequel. The search for the spy and the dagger was basically dropped; I was left wanting so much more in general. I wanted to know MORE about Affinities, MORE about the different cultures, and I wanted a more natural progression of Mare and Denna’s feelings.

It was so abrupt, from stolen glances and blushing faces to declarations of love and “can’t live without you.” I could feel their emotions in the first half; once they admitted their feelings, it was a lot of telling. I was disappointed to find that Denna was awfully selfish while Mare was somewhat immature. No one else had much personality to speak of.

At the end, I just wanted to finish the book. It didn’t have enough depth for me and had some terrible dialogue in the last 30 pages. I was sincerely happy to see two princesses in love, but I wanted to feel their love and I wanted their story to be more compelling in its other aspects. (Side note: the German cover is so gorgeous I’m tempted to buy it despite everything.)

This is difficult for me because I want this book to do well. Diversity in fiction is important and I’d really really love more f/f fantasy and more LGBTQ fantasy in general, especially from #ownvoices authors. Maybe Of Fire and Stars will work for some readers, but it was mostly wasted potential for me.

Have you read Of Fire and Stars yet? What did you think?

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Morgan @ Gone with the Words

Morgan @ Gone with the Words

About Morgan @ Gone with the Words

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Morgan lives in the Bay Area with her husband and her beagle. When she's not snuggling or taking care of Andy, she is reading, watching Disney movies, or drinking tea. Sometimes all at once! Her twitter tends to be bookish by day, sporty by night, and active all. the. time. Her TBR pile is out of control, as I'm sure you can sympathize. She is a big fan of caps locks, OMGs, movies, Chris Hemsworth, and anything British. Tweet her!

18 Responses to “Review: Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst”

  1. Amber Elise @ Du Livre

    Oo you think they’re will be a sequel? I thought it wad a satisfactory ending, but of course pubs want $$$.

    I had similar problems with this book, although I was mostly disappointed in the characters. Like you said, it was all so rushed so I didn’t care about their epic love affair.

  2. Jessie

    Can we talk about how lame the names for characters are in this book? Mare? For real? FOR A GIRL WHO LOVES HORSES? Dennaleia isn’t the /worst/, but it doesn’t roll naturally either.

    YEP TOTALLY AGREE SNEAKY SEQUEL INCOMING. On one hand that irritates me but on the other I also kinda hope that maybe the author improves and book 2 will be the f/f fantasy we deserve?

    I finished the damn thing and I still am not sure how the Affinities work in general, much less how the main character uses hers! WHAT IS THAT.

    I don’t know how an author takes a F/F FANTASY and makes it cliche, but yes, Morganara, you are quite right – it’s too cliche.

    • Morgan @ Gone with the Words

      HAHAHA omg I didn’t even think of the Mare/horses thing. Oh man, it’s so much worse now. Oh yeah, I’m all for improvement! You never know but I just resent that she didn’t wrap enough up in this book or give things what I think is their due. Morganara haaaahah yes <3 Way too cliche, bigly cliche. Sad.

  3. Aylee

    Whomp whomp… Kind of a bummer to read this because I had been really hoping for good things for this one! I just can’t enjoy books that are rushed, I need time to get into it.

  4. Wendy @ Book Scents

    Noooo this is such a bummer to hear! I was SO excited for this one when I first heard about it! f/f fantasy with princesses! however these issues sound like they’d totally bug me as well. I hate the quick progression of romance when it doesn’t feel natural. And I totally thought this was a standalone too. Sigh.

  5. Cait @ Paper Fury

    I agree!! I was so looking forward to it but…eh, ultimately it kind of failed for me. Although I actually found the characters too cliche all the way through. And I hate cheating tropes.😞 I also still don’t understand why Mare and Denna didn’t lock their door in that certain scene?!? That would’ve solved like half the problems right there omg. But still YAY for diversity and princesses falling for each other and I really really love the covers. (The German one though…omg I love it too!)

  6. Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense

    Oh no! I was really looking forward to checking this one out. Is this a series? Perhaps the author will show some improvement in her next book. May still check it out from the library, thank you for your honest review!

    • Morgan @ Gone with the Words

      I think it’s technically a standalone but it just didn’t feel finished to me. I hope she does improve, I would definitely give another book of hers a chance. Of course, thank you for reading it! I hope you like the book if you get it from the library :)

  7. Holly J

    This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2016 too, so it was even more disappointing for me when I didn’t really like it all that much! While I liked the romance between Denna and Mare, I wish it’d been more developed. But honestly, the pace and the lack of a plot, was what really brought the story down. And it was so predictable for me. Gah. SUCH SADNESS. I could see a sneaky sequel in the future, but I’m not sure if I’d read it. But I do hope this works more for others, because I would LOVE more f/f and LGBTQIA+ fantasy.

    Your review is exactly how I feel about the book said in a much better way than mine. :D Great job, Morgan!

    • Morgan @ Gone with the Words

      Same here! It’s the worst when an anticipated book lets you down. I feel the same way, I want it to do well so we can get more books like it but it was just too cliche in this instance :( Haha thanks for reading my review!

  8. Olivia Roach

    I have not read this novel before, but it’s such a shame about it going from one of your most anticipated reads to falling behind and disappointing you. I haven’t really heard anything positive about this one yet, so I won’t be reading it. Such a shame that the pretty cover doesn’t own up to the content!

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