Reviews

Review: Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

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“But some things are stronger than years of freedom.
The draw of fire.
A longing for freedom.
Or a girl on a red horse.”

Here’s another one from my stash. This is a new one for YA, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I believe that this is the direction that we should be going when it comes to YA. I think that it is very important, especially for the younger demographic that reads this book or anyone that might be struggling to figure out who they are.

My Rating: A-

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.

My Thoughts: This is the type of new stuff we need in YA. The game is always changing, progressing further, but books that challenge us to think differently about what it means to be a Princess or what it means to break barriers are the new battleground. We need to keep pushing the boundaries like this book does. For those who haven’t read it yet, the main love couple is composed of two girls, one of which is engaged to the other’s brother. I found it to be a good read.

What I Liked: I liked Mare, the feisty Princess who refused to play by the rules, who fought for her Kingdom even when her brother did not. I wished a hundred times that she would be the one to take the throne. However, prejudices against women still exist in this world. It is a commentary on our world itself, but also the way we view these arranged marriages as always being heterosexual. Ultimately the Kingdom and all the characters would have been better off if Mare was the next in line for the throne, then her and Denna could be happily married and it would all be cool. But that’s the world we should be moving towards.

What I Disliked: The writing style of this didn’t really captivate to me. It was a slow read, the murder plot wasn’t too interesting. I was more concerned about where or not Denna would choose duty over Mare. The rest of it seemed like it was in the background. I think that this was a stylistic choice, but I was very much hoping to see more of the Action Adventure side, while this took a backseat to the romance. This is my usual complaint.

Would I recommend it?  Yes, I think that this type of new material in YA is absolutely fantastic. It is a game changer.

Is this book on your to-read list? Thoughts on diversity in YA? What else would you like to see?

-Leah

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