Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

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Yes yes YES! I am SO GLAD I gave this book a chance because now I see the -point- of Inkmistress. In this book we’re thrown into a land of magic without any explanation, and without the worldbuilding I got in Inkmistress I would have been lost. Lucky for me, I read it first, and this book was such a JOY to read afterwards.

The basic premise is Denna is engaged to a prince she doesn’t care for, but his horse-taming sister is way more her style. Also there’s imminent war and magic and all that other fantasy goodness.

This is the first f/f YA fantasy with a queer but not outwardly bi main character princess I’ve seen. The romance was fantastic, and while I didn’t quite connect to Denna, I absolutely LOVED Mare (the OTHER princess). Their slow-burning romance was what made this book. Every chapter I was like YES THIS IS AWESOME. And it was. I was awesome.

We need more books like this. More fantasy aimed at teens with positive queer relationships like this. It was a good story and I’m glad it’s out there in the world. Yes, it’s your typical YA fantasy but it’s exactly what queer girls need in their life – a book where they’re represented as normal human beings. Five fiery stars!

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The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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She’s looking around the forest, as though if she can prove it isn’t magic, then nothing else is, either. Which is stupid. All forests are magic.

This book. It hurt in all the ways.

This my first Holly Black book and I’ve seen so much hype for it that I decided to jump on the bandwagon. I mean, I love the fey and YA fantasy so how could I not?

There was so much I loved about it. The fey world and human world mashup was amazing. All the different races and their nuances and magic. The rules and foods and enchantments. I just could not get enough. I loved the writing, and the twists, and overall it was a great book.

However…I don’t know if I’ll be picking up the next one.

Despite all the things I loved about it, I read YA fantasy because to me, it’s escapism. It feels good, like I’ve lived alongside it with the characters.

But in this book? Nothing felt good. It was just so damn bleak. All the relationships between the characters were strained, if not full on disdain/hate. When the few good things were happening, I knew they were lies/manipulations. Every chapter I had a bad feeling that something was going to get worse – and it always did. I mean come on, not ONE real positive friendship in the whole book.

This is just a personal thing, though. I know tons of people love to GET ALL THE FEELS, even if they’re depressing. However, that’s not me. I have enough of that in real life to spend my time being sad in my imaginary life. It’s why fairy-tales are my jam. I can count on them to bring me the hope and warm fuzzies at the end, despite the war/sacrifice/death in the middle. I’m currently reading Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf and that’s WAY more up my alley than this one.

Overall, I’m glad I read it just to have it under my belt, and I would recommend it for readers who like YA teen drama but with fey high school instead of human.

Everless by Sara Holland

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I couldn’t help loving this book. For me, it was Feyre from ACOTAR transported to a fantasy-style In Time (the Justin Timberlake movie) and it was so cool. There was a ton of mystery and intriguing characters and twists I didn’t see coming.

And the writing – I loved the writing! It kills me when I go on Goodreads after reading a book I loved and see that the low reviews cite writing as a negative. Not just because I disagree, but because it shows to me that no matter how I write my books, half the readers will find my prose insufferable. And it hurts. It makes me not want to write. I know you can’t please everyone, but when it comes to ‘this is amazing!’ and ‘this is terrible!’ there has to be some sort of middle ground, right?

Apparently not.

Anyway, this book had your standard enemies-to-lovers trope, which I didn’t mind because the guy wasn’t actually an asshole. It’s true that this is my favorite genre and so I’m biased, but if YA fantasy is your jam, you’ll enjoy this book.