Title: Of Fire and Stars
Author: Audrey Coulthurst
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Star Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book through my local library and reviewed it.
I've been looking forward to Of Fire and Stars since before it had come out. It was the cover, initially, that drew my eye to the book in the first place. And when I heard that this book featured creative worldbuilding, not one, but two strong, independent heroines, beautiful writing, and more political intrigue that you could throw a stick at, I was so excited. When I found it at one of the libraries I go to, I had to grab it, before someone else could snatch it. Since then, it's been sitting in my library stack, calling to me insistently. I finally picked it up, and I finished it last night, feeling a mixed cocktail of emotions. To be honest, I'm still not sure how to put how I feel into words, but I'll do my best!
Dennaleia is a princess, groomed from birth to fill her fortuitous political position, but she secretly longs for her own life, full of meaning and what she longs for most: true love. Mare is a princess who has spent her life rebelling against the painful yoke of her duties. The girls' paths cross when Dennaleia arrives at court, betrothed to Mare's older brother, the prince. Forced into a tentative alliance, the girls become friends, and later, more than that. But there is more than their romance at stake; if they dig any deeper, the cost just may be their lives...
I have very mixed feelings about this book. I've been sitting on it for half a day now, and even as I type these words, I'm still not sure exactly how I feel. There are some things I loved about the book, and other things that needed a lot of work. Nonetheless, I can't say that my time was wasted; it was a really fun experience. I'll get the bad things out of the way first, just to make things easier.
The worldbuilding in Of Fire and Stars was basically nonexistent. It was disappointing, and it made reading the book sometimes confusing. What made it more frustrating was that it had a lot of potential, and I didn't understand it. Honestly, that was really the only issue I had with the book at all. Another thing, though: I wish, more than anything, that there would be a female character that actually likes makeup, dresses, and shoes, and parties. Is that so much to ask? Lol.
I loved so many things about Of Fire and Stars: the chapters going between both girls, giving me a unique and in-depth view of the story, the girls themselves, distinctly different young women who were feminist, independent, and absolutely worth cheering for. I also fell in love with their beautiful, sensual love story; that was what won me over totally in this book. It wasn't perfectly executed, but darn it if it didn't carve a place in my heart anyway. The political intrigue was amazing, and I loved the way Denna and Mare teamed up to save both of their kingdoms. And that ending! Oh, I cried. So much. Straight up ugly cried. Though this book wasn't perfect, I'm nevertheless looking forward to what Audrey Coulthurst has in store next! The bottom line: Though it wasn't perfect, Of Fire and Stars won me over regardless, carving a place in my heart! I will never forget this book! Next on deck: The Novice by Taran Matharu!