Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst is such a cute YA fantasy with a girl-girl love story - a princess falling in love with her fiance’s sister.
I loved this story and the sweet romance, I am really happy about this kind of diversity in YA Fantasy books and wish for there to be more of it in the future. Hopefully by Audrey Coulthurst!
This is her debut novel, which is really impressive. The writing is wonderful, with distinct voices for the two main characters, Denna and Mare, and with a romance that is allowed to take its time. My favorite was actually Mare, over Denna. I loved Mare’s fierceness and her way of breaking all princess conventions.
I also love that the society described in the book was so open to women in general. There were women in positions of leadership and in the army, and it also seemed like there wasn’t any taboo in the relationship itself. The obstacles against it were more the circumstances, that Denna was already engaged to the Prince, not because it was two women falling in love. It was also good that Denna and Thandi (the Prince she was betrothed to) never had any romantic feelings for each other. It was not about Denna falling in love twice, or a love triangle, but about being torn between the duties enforced upon you and the wish to make your own decisions and be with your one true love.
Even though I loved a lot about this book, there was also a few things that disappointed me. The fantasy world and the characters could have been more developed, and it would have helped a lot with a better background (why was magic forbidden and why was there an alliance between two of the kingdoms that needed to be sealed by a marriage?). But overall it was a great read with an important topic and representation. I encourage you to check this one out if you're a fan of YA Fantasy!
Find out more about the book and the author here: Audrey Coulthurst