cover image Of Fire and Stars

Of Fire and Stars

Audrey Coulthurst. Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-243325-1

At the start of Coulthurst’s spectacular debut, seven-year-old Princess Dennaleia of Havemont discovers that she has a magical “Affinity” for fire. Unfortunately, she is already betrothed to Prince Thandilimon of Mynaria, a kingdom where the practice of magic is considered heresy. Dennaleia’s mother swears that if she ignores her gift, it will fade, but the opposite proves true; when a 16-year-old Dennaleia arrives in Mynaria to start her new life, she nearly starts a conflagration. While hiding her ability, Dennaleia must also find a way to work with the prince’s prickly and rebellious older sister, Amaranthine, to dissuade Mynaria’s king from waging an unjustified war. But Dennaleia is faced with difficult choices about her future after something other than friendship unexpectedly develops between the two princesses. Dennaleia and Amaranthine’s narratives combine to create a powerful and exquisite love story that also provides incisive political commentary and cautions against zealotry, vengeance, and intolerance. The central mystery is intriguing, Coulthurst’s worldbuilding is excellent, and the book’s explosive conclusion both thrills and satisfies. Ages 13–up. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, ICM. (Nov.)