Princess Dennaleia of Havemont has always known her future. Betrothed to Prince Thandilimon of Mynaria, Denna has spent her whole life being groomed to be future queen. But she also has spent her life hiding her magic; in Mynaria where magic users are not particularly welcome, Denna’s ability to control fire may compromise her future marriage.
She also didn’t count on meeting Princess Amaranthine, Thandilimon’s older sister. Mare, as she is known, is headstrong, stubborn, and doesn’t want to be a princess. She values the little freedoms she has, and initial isn’t too fond of Denna and she scholarly diplomatic ways. But when a civil war between Havemont, Mynaria, and their shared border with the magic sympathetic Zumorda threatens them all, Mare will need Denna’s scholar trained mind to help her navigate the complex government. In turn, Denna needs Mare’s familiarity with the town and its people to gather information on the uprising Recusants and what their intentions may be.What neither Denna nor Mare bargained on was the growing friendship between them…or is it more than that?
As a story, I found Of Fire and Stars not quite on the same level as other fantasy novels I have read recently. Other reviewers have commented on its subpar world building, which I do agree; at just shy of 400 pages, I feel another 200 could help build the world and the relationships between magic and non-magic users better. Considering this is a debut novel and I often find debuts to be lukewarm in world building, it isn’t a bad start.
However, I don’t think the intention of the story was to focus on the world but rather on the relationship between the two female leads. In that sense, Of Fire and Stars does quite well, starting with initial friction between the girls and slowly changing over time. I would have liked another 100 pages to really build that relationship as there was a point halfway through where I felt it progressed too much too quickly.
As an LGBTQ story, I feel it does a nice job of introducing the relationship between Denna and Mare. I cannot really say how accurate this relationship is, but for someone who isn’t of that sexuality per se I think it works well. I believe this would be a good novel to recommend to young readers as they begin to navigate their teen life and its trials.
My rating: 3.5/5