Of Fire and Stars

Hardcover | November 22, 2016

byAudrey Coulthurst

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An atmospheric and romantic debut fantasy perfect for fans of Ash and The Winner’s Curse.

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 kingdoms. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a land where magic is forbidden.

Now Denna has to learn the ways of her new kingdom while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses before her coronation—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine, 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 work together, they discover there is more to one another than they thought—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.

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From the Publisher

An atmospheric and romantic debut fantasy perfect for fans of Ash and The Winner’s Curse.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 kingdoms. But Denna has a ...

Format:HardcoverDimensions:400 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1.25 inPublished:November 22, 2016Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062433253

ISBN - 13:9780062433251

Customer Reviews of Of Fire and Stars

Reviews

Rated 2 out of 5 by from Failed to Deliver Of Fire and Stars is Audrey Coulthurst’s debut fantasy, laced with forbidden romance and political intrigue. Coulthurst crafted a solid debut that will meet readers’ expectations, while still leaving them wanting more. Coulthurst promised a lot from her debut novel – action, adventure, espionage and even an LGBTQ2+ romance between to two main heroines. Unfortunately, she failed to deliver on anything but a moderately engaging romance, falling short when it came to delivering engaging action and a memorable adventure. What I Liked: Initially, Denna and Mare’s relationship, while adding some much needed LGBTQ2+ representation to the genre, felt unnecessarily forced and and unauthentic. While LGBTQ2+ relationships were not out of place in the story (on more than one occasion, other LGBTQ2+ relationships are referenced, such as Odin’s, the Baker’s boy, relationship with a male squire in Havemont), Denna and Mare seemed like unlikely partners forced together by forced circumstances. However, as their relationship progressed, I found myself more and more engaged in their story, engrossed by what the outcome could possibly be when Denna had been promised to Thandi, the Prince (and Mare’s brother) for almost a decade. Coulthurst did a wonderful job a drawing readers into this unlikely romance, despite early blunders and facade’s. In addition, I very much enjoyed Nils’ character, and was disappointed he didn’t get more character development, because he certainly deserved it. What I Didn’t Like: Of Fire and Stars was simply boring. There’s no kind way to put it. Far too much time was spent walking around, discussing things without any actual progress, or riding through fields for no apparent purpose (other than that a princess should know how to ride a horse). Much of the action and intrigue came across as dull and uninspiring as a result of the methodological and bland writing, failing to evoke any emotion or shock from the reader. As the book went on, I found it harder and harder to find the motivation to pick it up, as I knew there would be very little to engage my interest. There were also a couple (more specific) things that bothered me. The names of the main characters – like come on. When the author is forced to give (essentially) every main character a nickname because their full names are too much of a mouthful, you know you’ve gone too far in creating fantastical names. Thandilimon, King Aturnicus, Zumordan, Dennaleia, Amarathine … You see what I mean. More than anything, when their full names were used, it distracted from the story as I spent a good several minutes mentally practicing pronunciations. Moreover, their nicknames were all ridiculously childish (Thandi? Mare?) and reduced their characters to children rather than young adults trying to find their place in a kingdom on the brink of war. Furthermore, the lack of character development was disappointing. Denna and Mare were thrust upon the reader, already fully developed characters with set roles to play – Coulthurst didn’t really put any time into building their characters beyond their ill-conceived romance. Moreover, absolutely no secondary characters, including the prince, underwent any sort of development. I felt detached from the characters, simply because they were words on paper to me, never having been given any actual personalities to make them more human and likeable. Finally, the “love triangle”. This is a personal complaint, more than anything, but really – no matter what spin an author puts on it, the love triangle trope has been bled dry at this point. Overall, Coulthurst did a magnificent job building and portraying Mare and Denna’s budding romance. She turned it from something dull and uninspiring into something memorable and unique. But beyond that, Coulthurst simply failed to inspire with Of Fire and Stars. The bits of action were dull and disorganized, with far too much talk and inaction between. Furthermore, the majority of the characters simply didn’t undergo enough development, or any at all, to make the reader care about them, which made Of Fire and Stars a less than memorable read (2.5/5).
Date published: 2017-01-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Strong Addition to Diverse YA and an Acceptable Debut Novel I think that Of Fire and Stars is going to get very mixed reviews in the coming months, because it's going to appeal to some people more or less than others. To me it is a very appealing novel that has something new to say in a shamefully sparse sub-genre of diverse fantasy. The selling point of this book for me personally was the romance between the two princesses, set against a backdrop of horses, fantasy and politics. While there is a strong concept behind this story, it does suffer a few flaws, which is acceptable for a first novel. The characters do at times seem childish, and while the book has been marketed as being young adult the world-building feels as though Coulthurst is attempting to create a backdrop of fantasy and politics that would be more suitable for a dense, adult high-fantasy novel. This imbalance will likely throw off some readers, and may cause some to find the material difficult to read. All in all, this book is very similar to Magonia in that it has an acquired taste that readers will either love or hate. I'm definitely in the love it party, and look forward to seeing what Audrey Coulthurst comes out with next!
Date published: 2016-12-31
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Solid Debut with Major Problems Coulthurst promised a lot from her debut novel – action, adventure, espionage and even an LGBTQ2+ romance between to two main heroines. Unfortunately, she failed to deliver on anything but a moderately engaging romance, falling short when it came to delivering engaging action and a memorable adventure. What I Liked: Initially, Denna and Mare’s relationship, while adding some much needed LGBTQ2+ representation to the genre, felt unnecessarily forced and and unauthentic. While LGBTQ2+ relationships were not out of place in the story (on more than one occasion, other LGBTQ2+ relationships are referenced, such as Odin’s, the Baker’s boy, relationship with a male squire in Havemont), Denna and Mare seemed like unlikely partners forced together by forced circumstances. However, as their relationship progressed, I found myself more and more engaged in their story, engrossed by what the outcome could possibly be when Denna had been promised to Thandi, the Prince (and Mare’s brother) for almost a decade. Coulthurst did a wonderful job a drawing readers into this unlikely romance, despite early blunders and facade’s. I also very much enjoyed Nils’ character, and was disappointed he didn’t get more character development, because he certainly deserved it. What I Didn’t Like: The name’s of the main characters – like come on. When the author is forced to give (essentially) every main character a nickname because their full names are too much of a mouthful, you know you’ve gone too far in creating fantastical names. Thandilimon, King Aturnicus, Zumordan, Dennaleia, Amarathine … You see what I mean. More than anything, when their full names were used, it distracted from the story as I spent a good several minutes mentally practicing pronunciations. Moreover, their nicknames were all ridiculously childish (Thandi? Mare?) and reduced their characters to children rather than young adults trying to find their place ina kingdom on the brink of war. Of Fire and Stars was simply boring. There’s no kind way to put it. Far too much time was spent walking around, discussing things without any actual progress, or riding through fields for no apparent purpose (other than that a princess should know how to ride a horse). Much of the action and intrigue came across as dull and uninspiring as a result of the methodological and bland writing, failing to evoke any emotion or shock from the reader. As the book went on, I found it harder and harder to find the motivation to pick it up, as I knew there would be very little to engage my interest. The lack of character development. Denna and Mare were thrust upon the reader, already fully developed characters with set roles to play – Coulthurst didn’t really put any time into building their characters beyond their ill-conceived romance. Moreover, absolutely no secondary characters, including the prince, underwent any sort of development. I felt detached from the characters, simply because they were words on paper to me, never having been given any actual personalities to make them more human and likeable. Coulthurst did a magnificent job building and portraying Mare and Denna’s budding romance. She turned it from something dull and uninspiring into something memorable and unique. But beyond that, Coulthurst simply failed to inspire with Of Fire and Stars. The bits of action were dull and disorganized, with far too much talk and inaction between. Furthermore, the majority of the characters simply didn’t undergo enough development, or any at all, to make the reader care about them, which made Of Fire and Stars a less than memorable read (2.5/5).
Date published: 2016-12-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved it! I would recommend this to anyone looking for something a little different. I've read dozens of YA Books and at some point they all merge together because of how similar they are and this one does not make me feel that way at all.
Date published: 2016-12-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from the romance felt just right for a young adult book. Overall, it was magical. Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy: OF FIRE AND STARS had me hooked from the prologue, when Deena picks up a hot ember with her bare hands, much to the horror of her mother and sister - not because she’s burnt herself, but because she hasn’t. Deena has an affinity for fire magic, and although it’s easy to overlook in her home country, she’s been betrothed to the prince of a neighbouring kingdom where magic users are persecuted, exiled and killed. This book portrayed a brilliant portrayal of hatred and prejudice, where suspicion breeds violence on both sides of the issue. With her marriage to the prince, new laws will restrict travel of magic users in Deena’s homeland, something Deena had no idea when she first arrived. As the violence of the city spills into the castle, Deena is more anxious than ever to prove to her new kingdom that she can help make a difference, even if no one else will take her seriously. Although Deena is promised to Thandi, it’s Mare, his sister, who wins her heart. The girls do not get along at first, and it was lovely to see them start seeing not only each other's’ strengths, but also how well they could work together. They have very different upbringings: Deena has been preened and prepared to one day be queen, and Mare has been left to herself, learning more from her excursions outside the castle than in dance or dialogue classes. They manage to bounce ideas off each other and solve some mysteries way before the officials running the kingdom do. Horses are incredibly important in her new country, and I found all the discussions about what makes a horse fit to be a warhorse were fun and informative. I was really impressed with the way equine details not only foreshadowed events, but were also critical to the plot at the end of the book. Horses pop up in lots of little ways, but my favourite was the bracelets made of horsehair, which represent how many how many horses the wearer has raised and trained and are worn as a badge of skill and devotion. What truly made this a nearly perfect book for me was the way same-sex relationships were handled; it wasn’t a big deal. Characters were upset about a character’s hidden magic powers, but who the person chose to live their life with wasn’t important. Throughout the book, some people were in same-sex relationships, and it wasn’t commented on much more than that. The drama that comes out of Mare and Deema’s relationship was because she was promised to Mare’s brother first, not because they are both girls. Mare even mentions, early on, that if she were forced to marry, she would marry a woman so there aren’t any awkward questions about the legitimacy of any offspring. I’ve developed a love for stand-alone fantasy books, especially ones where the world-building is “big” enough to accommodate more stories, but where the author has chosen a very specific one to tell. The intrigue in OF FIRE AND STARS was fun, the dramatic conclusion was incredible and the romance felt just right for a young adult book. Overall, it was magical.
Date published: 2016-12-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An incredible fantasy! OMG! So, I usually much prefer contemporary YA, but every now and then I enjoy a good fantasy, and this is a GREAT fantasy. Of Fire and Stars sunk its teeth into me and didn’t let me go! Part forbidden love story, part intense and suspenseful mystery, Of Fire and Stars is definitely one you’ll want to add to your wish list! It’s got just about everything you could ask for—castles, magic, horses, princesses, romance, action! Mare and Denna’s story will have you feeling like you’re right there with them, and you’ll be cheering them on from start to finish, and beyond!
Date published: 2016-08-12

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Editorial Reviews

“A slow-burn love story about two unique, brave, and endearing young women.”