⇒Featuring badass heroines, politics and horses
“But some things are stronger than years of freedom.
The draw of fire.
A longing for freedom.
Or a girl on a red horse.”
Audrey Coulthurt, Of Fire and Stars
Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst was pretty much all I look for in a fantasy novel. We have not one but TWO awesome, independent heroines, a beautiful, heartbreaking love story, a world full of magic and political intrigue.
I adore books with royals and magical systems, and Denna was the perfect main character in this! She’s a princess secretly hiding a magical power, a character that has been used before, but the author did a wonderful job in making Denna unique and a worthy heroine for the book! She was so loveable and relatable, and I loved watching her grow and discover who she was.
Mare was an awesome individual, and I loved her tom-boyish personality and her fiery temperament. Her recklessness was the perfect offset to Denna’s intelligence and they were such a good pair. I loved seeing their different points of view on the world and the story, and the way their friendship grew just made my heart happy. Their romance does follow the hate-to-love trope, but while in other books I’ve disliked this trope and the type of relationship it produces, the author worked it perfectly into Of Fire and Stars.
In a fantasy world like the one Coulthurst built it can be hard to avoid stereotypes, and the author didn’t completely steer clear of them, but I think she did a pretty good job. The synopsis itself of a princess hiding a magical power betrothed to a prince of a country that outlaws magic was not utterly unique, but as Coulthurst expanded the plot and delved into the characters, the stereotypes were left behind!
I will say that the world building was not the best and we as readers are plunged head first into a world we know next to nothing about, though we definitely learn more as the book goes on. I didn’t have much trouble understanding the world, I just think it could have been better developed.
The relationships between our heroines and with all the other characters were very genuine and felt realistic which I liked.
One thing that could be seen as a downside is that not an actual lot happens in the book. We see a lot of the characters but if you’re looking for loads of plot twists and battles, this might not be the book for you. I definitely suspect there will be more of this in the second book, and I was attached enough to the characters to not find Of Fire and Stars at all boring.
The writing was elegant and easy to follow. I devoured the entire book in one day, a rare occurrence for me! The storyline just flowed really well and I found it too hard to stop reading. The author used great descriptive language and I could follow what was happening without having to go back and reread anything like I’ve had to with some fantasy books.
If you’re looking for an immersive fantasy with a #ownvoices queer relationship that’s easy to read and well written, I’d definitely direct you to Of Fire and Stars. I really loved this gorgeous book and I can’t wait for the second one; Of Ice and Shadows, out August!