DNF Review: Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

DNF Review: Of Fire and Stars by Audrey CoulthurstOf Fire and Stars
Author: Audrey Coulthurst
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Published: November 22nd 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBTQIA
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: From publisher via Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon | Buy from Publisher

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 before her coronation—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine (called Mare), 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, each discovers there’s more to the other than she thought. Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. 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. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

So Much Potential…

I was SO excited for Of Fire and Stars. A LGBTQIA YA Fantasy about a girl betrothed to the prince, and she falls instead for his sister? It sounded SO GOOD. And it also reminded me a bit of my own work-in-progress. But unfortunately, I just didn’t click with the characters, and I found myself, frankly, kind of bored as I was reading. Which was SO disappointing! I was expecting to LOVE this book!

The characters seemed pretty flat, and Dennaleia was very much a Mary Sue. And for someone who was bucking gender stereotypes, Mare used a LOT of sexist language. I know it’s how people would talk in this kind of world. I know that sexist language is ingrained in our own culture, so much so that people who aren’t really sexist at all end up using sexist language. But that doesn’t mean I want my main characters to use that kind of language. BUT I didn’t finish Of Fire and Stars–I DNFed at 25% (100 pages), so perhaps this is something that she amended as the story went on.

The writing seemed a bit lacking at times, as well. It seemed as if the author was trying for a certain tone, for a certain level of writing, but it just wasn’t quite getting there. However, I read an eARC, so perhaps the writing is changed in the final version. And as far as the story itself goes, it seemed as if we are just told things without explanation. Information seemed to be thrown at us without any depth, and I felt confused a lot of the time when the characters would discuss the world and the countries and cultures around them. The story seemed to pick up a bit at one point, but then it would take two steps back.

Unfortunately, A Disappointment…

I hate to say it, but I just found myself not caring about the characters and the story. And that just makes me sad. However, some reviewers on Goodreads really enjoyed Of Fire and Stars, so if this sounds like something you’d enjoy, I suggest that you check out some of those reviews! 



  1. Madalyn @ Novel Ink

    November 17, 2016 at 8:15 am

    This is really good to know! I’ve been looking forward to Of Fire and Stars, because, like you mentioned, the premise holds so much potential. It really bothers me when any of the main characters use sexist language, so I don’t know if I’ll be picking this one up. Great review!

  2. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    November 17, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    I was beyond excited for this book when it first came out – I want to read more diverse books but they’re hard to come by in fantasy so this was PERFECT. Sadly, the reviews I read for it all seem to echo what you said here – which is disapointing :( Sorry that it didn’t work out for you! Great review nonetheless^^xx

    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted: Review: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
  3. Briana @ Pages Unbound

    November 17, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    This sounds so disappointing. I was keeping my eye on this one, as well. It sounds like such a great premise for a fantasy. I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you! This is the first review I’ve seen, so I’m interesting in what the general reaction by the blogosphere will be.

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