Of Fire and Stars - Audrey Coulthurst

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. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses—and her teacher is the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine.

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. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other.

Fantasy lovers take note! This book is pretty fun, complete with f/f romance, magic, intrigue, assassinations, and nations on the brink of war. Denna and Mare are compelling characters and the novel alternates between first-person accounts of their experiences with each other and with other people and events over the course of a short period of time as the kingdom scrambles to suppress a growing number of "religious fanatics" and discover the identity of the person who killed off a member of the royal family with an arrow that might possibly have been imbued with magical properties.

The pacing is slow for the first part of the novel as Denna and Mare find their footing with each other and as Denna gets a feel for life in a new kingdom and within her arranged marriage. She's not a huge fan of the Prince or Princess, but begins to find herself drawn to Mare with each passing riding lesson. When she joins forces with Mare to explore the city and the two become embroiled in a plot to go to war with what might be the wrong enemy, she finds herself wondering if maybe she doesn't actually like Mare as more than a friend. Their courting rituals are old-school and kind of adorable, filled with those deliciously awkward moments that build tension as they try to understand whether or not the other feels the same way.

Though I found the world-building to be slightly lacking and the secondary characters to be relatively flat, the plot and suspense definitely held my attention and had me wondering what would happen until the end. I think there is definitely a lot to enjoy here, and I would Recommend it to fantasy fans and f/f romance fans alike.


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