Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
Published by: Balzer + Ray on November 22, 2016
Review Source: Publisher, Edelweiss
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBTQA
Plot: Denna should have fallen for the prince, but she has all the feels for his sister.
Review: I was excited for this book! Queer princesses? Yasss. We NEED more of this, especially in YA. Sadly, this didn’t work for me and I’m kind of heartbroken about it. Here’s the good, the bad, and the meh.
- Coulthurst really tries to give readers something new. You can tell that Coulthurst has put a tremendous amount of effort into her worldbuilding. She has constructed an entire world around Denna and Mare, complete with fully-realized kingdoms, customs, and a magic structure to boot.
- LGBTQA main characters. First of all, I’ve read a million books where the prince gets the girl, but never the princess! It was so nice to see the gender swap on this classic trope. With Of Fire and Stars, Coulthurst has approached Denna and Mare’s relationship and their sexuality with a great amount of sensitivity and care. I drew a strong sense that these characters truly cared for one another on a level that was deeper than the insta-love I see all over the place. I also liked that she didn’t shy away from addressing that sexuality can be fluid, or that exploring one’s sexuality is normal. She doesn’t gloss over their feelings or attraction to each other either. Oftentimes, I will see writers speed through or omit romantic details when it is a queer couple, but Coulthurst ramps up the romance nicely.
- I was never one of those girls who longed for a pony, so it was a struggle for me to read page after page of horse talk. These people LURV horses. It borders on obsession.
- The names. So long. So weird. So clunky. There were so many times where I would come up against a character or location name that felt like Scrabble vomit. It literally halted my reading experience.
- The board meetings. I sit in enough meetings at work, I don’t want to read about a bunch of people going through a drawl planning session. There’s no need to hear each detail about every aspect of the political structure of Mynaria. Hopefully, this will get edited down on the final run (I’m reviewing from an ARC).
- The characters. Even though I liked and supported what Coulthurst was trying to create, I didn’t bond with any of the characters.
- The plot. The storyline progressed too slowly for me, and a lot of what happens in Of Fire and Stars has been done to death in other YA Fantasy series.
Final hoot: This one just wasn’t for me, but I could see others connecting with this title better than I did.
Rating: 3 out of 5 hoots
Who Should Snag It: Those who are looking for a fantasy title that has queer romance and extensive worldbuilding might enjoy this one.
*I would like to thank Edelweiss and the publisher for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review*