Hello y’all! I know it’s been a few weeks since I posted a book, I’ve been super busy working overtime at my job, that I haven’t been able to finish a book, and it was my sister’s birthday and my mom has been in town, so I’ve been super busy, but now I have more time to be able to finish books. So, let’s just jump right into this, because I have a lot to say about this book, because it is worth the hype and more.
I recently read Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulhurst, and this book is everything you need, when it’s about two Princesses, who not only find themselves, but each other. I heard about this book from Emma at her youtube channel, emmabooks, where I get a lot of her book recommendations. She recommended it in one of her hauls, and here is the link to her spoiler free review: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SsGslfJMio&t=125s ). I gave it five out of five stars, because I read it in two sittings, because the author, Audrey Courthurst is amazing, and I honestly want more from her.
But, for those of you who don’t know what this book is about, here’s the Goodreads synopsis: 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 lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.
Now, Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine—called Mare—the 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 become closer, Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. 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.
I really loved the character development, and the friendships throughout the book, but I also loved the action, and the mystery, because that’s what kept you reading was not only to find out who behind the assassinations, but it also kept you interested in the relationships, as that is what brought a lot of people in the kingdom together, because they were all trying to solve the mystery.
But ,this is the first book that I’ve read where the relationship is between two girls, and I just loved it. I enjoyed it because it was an instant-love as I feel many YA books are, and I just loved being able to see that relationship grow, and develop, like a relationship naturally does. She definitely took the time to develop the romance, which made you enjoy it so much more, when it was finally executed.
I also loved the writing in this book, because she not only wrote the action in a compelling way, she was able to describe the characters feeling in a extremely beautifully way, and you can feel how deeply they were torn about their feelings, you could feel their struggles, and she was also very clear and explaining why they felt the way they did, and their actions about it, and then how was being affected inside the kingdom was affecting every character, even the magic users. She was just very emotionally connected with her characters, which is super important, because not every author can write characters in a fantasy setting that make them feel like real people.
So, let’s jump into the spoiler section of this review. There’s just so much to discuss about the book and just the two main characters Mare and Denna, I don’t even know where to begin. Let’s begin with each girl, and their own inward struggle.
Denna who is the princess of the Kingdom called Havemont and, like the synopsis said has been preparing for the day she marries Thandi, who is Mare’s brother, and the Prince of Mynaria. Denna tries to be faithful, and being as supportive as possible for the crown. However, she does have to hide her affinity that she has for fire, and has to hide it from everyone, because she has been taught that it can be dangerous if anyone finds out about her being a magic user, because many nations are threatened by the magic users, and the kingdom Mynaria is the most threatened off. So, Deanna is constantly looking over her shoulder to make sure nobody discovers her secret, but it grows more and more powerful as she is there. But, she does find a few friends, she can rely on, such as her maid, whose name I cannot remember, and Mare (Thandi’s sister), and Nills, and she discovers a mentor in Cath, who is also Mare’s mentor. Cath arranges for Deanna to take horseback ridings from Mare, who normally has nothing to do with the crown, because she doesn’t want to get married or believe in what the crown says ,and the way that the crown makes decisions. So, she lets Thandi worry about the kingdom, and don’t get me wrong, she still cares deeply for the kingdom, but she would much rather spend her life on a farm, raising horses, and caring for them. Until, she forms a friendship with Deanna, and it pushes her to change.
Deanna’s and Mare friendship becomes one of the only lesbian’s relationships that I have read, and I wish I could read more like that. Because, even if your not gay, but you have had a friendship like Deanna’s and Mare’s where you are deeply connected. Even though, Deanna and Mare were different, they believe in each other so much.
Deanna believed in Mare’s potential so much that she tried to talk to her father, to make him see, what she saw, but all he saw, was disappointment. They both wanted to be accepted for who they were by the crown, but they eventually realized that they would never be, and that they eventually travel to the nation that it considered to be the sanctuary for magic users, so Deanna can finally learn to control her abilities, instead of trying to get rid of the very thing that made her special.
I also loved the friendship between Mare and Nills. They both supported each other unconditionally, and accepted each other for who they were. Mare was supposed of Nills working for the job, and invited her to play cards with his friends, when she could sneak out of the city. They talked about her family, and their love lives. But, they weren’t hard on each other, after Thandi found out about Mare’s and Deanna relationship, and locked them both away from each other. Nills snuck in to see her, and they did talk about it, but he just laid there with her, and comfort her, and was whatever she needed him to be in the moment.
Honestly, I was crying, because Lord Krantz revealed that he was behind the revolt, because he was trying to start a war among the nations, so he can acquire more land. I think I was crying more at the fact that I was wrong, about who was behind it all. I felt so bad for Mare, because she was going to marry him, because she didn’t love him, but she respected him in a way, and he seemed to accept to her, but I should’ve known it was him, because Mare constantly told him that he was like a true politician. But, instead, I was convinced that it was Captain Ryka, because she was so against the alliance between Havemont and Myranai. I just personally didn’t like her, so I used my hate for her, blind me on who the real villain was. But, I mean, if your going to marry someone you just don’t sell their house, while they are locked in a room. It just doesn’t work that way.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone, who loves a good diverse fantasy book, because the magic system is one where it’s easy to follow, and the relationships are diverse as well. I also love this book, because it wasn’t a series, because I have the worst time when it comes to finishing a series, like I’m still working on the A Series of Unfortunate Events series.
But, I hope she does come out with more stand-alone books, so I can finish them, but I would not be opposed if she makes a series, or as one in the works, it’ll just make my already long TBR, even longer. But, please comment below, if you have read Of Fire and Stars or any other books by Audrey Coulthurst.