It was hard for me to rate Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst. Honestly, I think what I liked most about the story was its potential. I kept hoping it would get better, which meant that I kept reading, refusing to stop because I needed to find what I hoped was hidden beneath the extremely shallow surface.
I really wanted to love this book. But I just can’t. I’m at borderline like, maybe.
I think the biggest issue I had was with the characters. They lacked the complexity and depth I’ve come to expect from the books I read, and even the main characters showed little development over the course of the story. The story is told through the perspectives of Mare (short for Amaranthine) and Denna (Dennaleia), complete opposites who form an unlikely bond that turns into more than either ever expected. Their relationship was the only thing I truly found interesting about this story, and I still wasn’t 100% sold on it because it read like a love triangle, even though Denna never really loved the prince (Mare’s brother). I’m not a huge fan of love triangles (even though they are super common in YA novels).
The other thing I struggled with was the lack of world-building. There was so much hinted at: magic, political intrigue, conflict between nations, etc., but we never really learn the details behind the cursory overview we’re given. What Coulthurst did write about was intriguing, but there wasn’t enough depth to keep me interested. Some people might be okay with not knowing how or why things ended up the way they did, but I can’t read a story without thinking of a hundred questions as I read. And if those questions are never answered, it leaves me feeling unsatisfied and disappointed.
Gosh, I feel like I’m only pointing out flaws in this review, which I kind of feel bad about because it’s not like I hated this story. It was okay. But I do have one last rant to get off my chest; although, it’s not unique to Of Fire and Stars. Why must YA novels portray adults to be complete idiots? This is another common theme amongst YA novels that I really don’t appreciate. I understand that the plot might need the older generation to “not quite get it” in order for the story to move forward, but there’s no need to make all of the adults seem like they wouldn’t be able to differentiate between a horse’s ass and its head.
Like I said in the beginning, this one was a tough book to rate and review. There were parts that I enjoyed but also a lot that I didn’t. Yet some people seriously loved this book, and it’s not like it was poorly written or rife with errors. Again, it was an okay book. I just had some issues with it, and that’s why I can only give it 3 out of 5 flowers. But that’s just my opinion, and you’ll have to read it before making your own!