- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: Balzer + Bray (November 22, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062433253
- ISBN-13: 978-0062433251
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Of Fire and Stars Hardcover – November 22, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—In this fantasy world of kings and magic, Princess Dennaleia has been groomed for her most important task: to marry Prince Thandilimon in order to solidify the relationship between their kingdoms. It is a future that she fully embraces, hindered only by her secret magical affinity for handling and creating fire, which she has kept hidden and cannot control. Upon her arrival in the kingdom of Mynaria, Denna is paired with Princess Amaranthine (Mare), who is to give her riding lessons in preparation for the wedding day. Mare's standing in her own kingdom is somewhat tenuous, as she has very little interest in her duties as a princess and prefers to spend her time riding and training horses. The two strike up a friendship amid a series of royal murders and terrorist acts supposedly orchestrated by renegade magic users and separatists. The real focus is on the attraction and love that soon develop between Denna and Mare. As they work to solve the murders and mysteries, the teens fall in love and begin to question their predestined roles. Same-sex love is neither forbidden nor controversial in Mynaria, so the novel's theme does not center on LGBTQ issues. It is simply a love story that just happens to be about two women, and the setting and plot are tangential. Some mild sexual scenes make this appropriate for older readers. VERDICT Those looking for a complex sci-fi/fantasy may be a little unsatisfied with the narrative. However, the gentle LGBTQ romance will win over many teens.—Patricia Feriano, Montgomery County Public Schools, MD
“A powerful and exquisite love story” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Reminiscent of the kinds of fantasy books I loved when I was a young teenager, tales of princess angst, horses, and the blossoming of reluctant love. This book is bold enough to create a world that moves beyond the prejudices we are still fighting in our real world.” (Caitlyn Paxson, NPR)
“A deeply romantic, bold, and nuanced fantasy. You will be captivated by Denna and Mare and their star-crossed love for each other.” (Malinda Lo, Author of Ash and Huntress)
“Lovely…a worthy debut that succeeds as both an adventure and a romance.” (Booklist)
“Murder, mayhem, magic, romance-and horses…a romantic fantasy that will appeal to those who appreciate character-driven novels.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“I devoured Of Fire and Stars in two sittings; it’s a delightful debut, full of all the things I like best in a fantasy story, including not one but two wonderful heroines. I’m looking forward to seeing what Audrey does in the future!” (Mercedes Lackey, New York Times bestselling author of over 125 books, including the Valdemar series)
“Coulthursts’s debut is an absolute delight; I loved seeing these smart, fierce princesses fall in captivating, slow-burn love as they investigate political assassinations and unravel magical conspiracies.” (Corinne Duyvis, author of Otherbound and On the Edge of Gone)
“Romantic, compelling, and bursting with fascinating characters, Of Fire and Stars is the fantasy novel we’ve all been waiting for.” (Amy Tintera, author of Ruined)
“A slow-burn love story about two unique, brave, and endearing young women.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))
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Top customer reviews
The book was a little slow starting but meticulously researched and with characters that grew on you.
The mystery reveal was barely telegraphed, but looking back was quite apparent.Nicely done.
No little flowers of princesses here. We are led to slowly meet and learn the major characters, and by the end, they are dear friends of ours, and I am saddened to see them go.
400 pages, devoured cover to cover, and wouldn't be upset to see more.
An atmospheric and romantic debut fantasy perfect for fans of Ash and The Winner’s Curse.
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.
Denna harbors a secret that could get her killed and ruin the already strenuous alliance with the kingdom she's marrying into. She can control fire. Magic is banned in Denna's new world, and those around her would see it as treason if she were to ever reveal her power. Things get more complicated for Denna when she realizes her power is growing, which begins to spiral out of control. Along the way Denna who is the embodiment of courtly life and grace, meets Mare who is the black sheep of her royal family. She is crass, rough around the edges, and has a spitfire tongue. She's also not conventionally pretty. All of this does not stop love from blossoming between the two women.
It was refreshing to see two prominent heroines fall in love with each other. It showed a progressiveness that we don't often find in literature, even though we should. I never take gay characters for granted, because I personally identify as gay, and I love to see how the gay perspective is transformed through story telling. I value reading about the struggle of my people and how they can become triumphant. It gives me hope.
I will say that the first third of the book was very slow. I'll also admit that I didn't love Denna at first. She seemed very frivolous and completely at the mercy of her emotions. Overtime she grew on me. I think that's in part by her love for Mare. I fell in love with Denna through the eyes of Mare. Mare showed me the qualities I was overseeing in Denna. It was invigorating to have a character's pov change my perspective on another character. I've never had that happen before. The action in the book wasn't in abundance, another small gripe that I had. I often felt like the love between the two women was too much at the forefront, even if it felt more like a timid cat & mouse game for most of the book.
On the romance alone and the themes it's promoting, I'm happily looking forward to a sequel. If you love passionate characters, gay lovers, and war & betrayal, you will love this book
I was very satisfied with the storyline of the book and enjoyed the themes and the characters.
But the characters didn't develop as much as you saw more of their personality through time. There was a pretty good twist, and it was foreshadowed well without giving it away. I can't really get into it without massive spoilers, but I can say that there were plenty of loose ends and the pacing of the book had alot to be desired. I kept getting bored in the first half of the book and accidentally skipping paragraphs. Also, the horses were described more than the people, so it's pretty clear that this is a dialogue-driven story. It would translate to a visual medium pretty well, though.
The second half is worth the patience but good pacing and would of fixed my antsyness. But the pacing did contribute to the tone and 'feels' of the first half of the book so I'm a little conflicted about changing it.
If you don't like books that change POV, don't pick this up, as it switched between the two heroines every chapter. They "voice" of the writing wasn't any different between the two lovely ladies and sadly I was often confused on who I was reading at the time. Being a first person book without writing voice-style change between POV changes is just a bummer and probably the biggest disappointment, especially since the author has a master's in writing.
Nonetheless, it was a fun adventure and I enjoyed living it with them. I would definitely pick up a part two if the author plans to make one.
tl;dr: if you enjoy royal drama and gals bein' pals, pick it up. but don't expect a masterpiece.
Most recent customer reviews
As a fellow queer author of stories about queer ladies, I'm always on the lookout for queer fiction.Read more
I think it's really interesting how the culture in Of Fire and Stars seems to draw no lines between heterosexuality and homosexuality.Read more
This book brought me out of my reading slump that I have been plagued with for the past year and a half.Read more