Dennaleia has been training all her life to leave her home in Havemont, marry Prince Thandilimon and become Queen of Mynaria. So when she arrives in her new home and her fire Affinity — a forbidden magical power she’s kept hidden for years — grows unwieldy, she fears the life she’s trained for is about to be ripped out from under her. What’s more, shortly after her arrival in Mynaria, an assassination attempt on the King leaves the kingdom in shock. When Dennaleia joins forces with her betrothed’s sister, Mare, to find the culprit, the friendship becomes something more than she’d bargained for, and she begins to question whether the life she’s always envisioned is the life she wants after all.
Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
Format: Hardcover, 389 pages
My Rating: 4/5 stars
Status: Read from January 16 to 18, 2017
Source: OwlCrate (December Epic Box)
Audrey Colthurst’s debut novel, Of Fire and Stars, is a captivating story that follows the young royals as they grapple with the roles they’ve been assigned and their true passions. Dennaleia and Mare are a compelling pair — both whip smart in their own ways, with complementary talents and plenty to teach one another.
Here’s the thing. Their love is forbidden, and tortured, and could potentially tear the kingdom apart — but not because they’re both girls. Other same-sex couples are mentioned casually, and the fact of their love is not a problem. It is Denna’s own sense of duty and self-doubt that stands between her and Mare, and that is what made me catch my breath as I read this book: In so much fantasy world-building, authors fall back on existing prejudices rather than creating ones unique to their creations. This book is bold enough to create a world that moves beyond the prejudices we are still fighting in our real world.
My one regret for this book is that Denna and Mare spend most of their time cooped up in a castle. It makes sense with the story’s subtext — they’re both beating their wings inside gilded cages. But they are a team that I long to see on the road, free to explore more of this intriguing world. I will definitely keep my eye out for a sequel, in eager hope that my wish will be granted.