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Of Fire and Stars #2

Of Ice and Shadows

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Princesses Denna and Mare are in love and together at last--only to face a new set of dangers.

Mare just wants to settle down with the girl she loves, which would be easier if Denna weren't gifted with forbidden and volatile fire magic. Denna must learn to control her powers, which means traveling in secret to the kingdom of Zumorda, where she can seek training without fear of persecution. Determined to help, Mare has agreed to serve as an ambassador as a cover for their journey.

But just as Mare and Denna arrive in Zumorda, an attack on a border town in Mynaria changes everything. Mare's diplomatic mission is now urgent: she must quickly broker an alliance with the queen of Zumorda to protect her homeland. However, the queen has no interest in allying with other kingdoms; it's Denna's untamed but powerful magic that catches her eye. The queen offers Denna a place among her elite trainees--an opportunity that would force her to choose between her magic and Mare.

As Denna's powers grow stronger, Mare struggles to be the ambassador her kingdom needs. By making unconventional friends, her knowledge of Zumorda and its people grow, and so too do her suspicions about who is truly behind the attacks on Zumorda and her homeland.

As rising tensions and unexpected betrayals put Mare and Denna in jeopardy and dangerous enemies emerge on all sides, can they protect their love and save their kingdoms?

464 pages, Hardcover

First published August 13, 2019

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About the author

Audrey Coulthurst

4 books1,337 followers
Audrey Coulthurst is the author of critically acclaimed novels for young adults, such as the Of Fire and Stars series and Starworld (co-authored with Paula Garner). After studying music history and composition as an undergraduate and earning a Master’s degree in Book Publishing, she somehow ended up leading a double life working in finance by day and writing novels by night. Audrey was a Lambda Literary Fellow in 2013 and a Publishers Weekly Flying Start in 2016. Her debut novel Of Fire and Stars was named to the Kids’ Indie Next List, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, and was listed among Vulture’s 38 Best Queer YA Novels in 2018. Audrey grew up riding horses in the Willamette Valley, made most of her best friends while living in Austin, spent five beautiful years enjoying ocean views in Santa Monica, and currently lives in Oregon with her family.

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5 stars
954 (25%)
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44 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 405 reviews
Profile Image for Natasha.
477 reviews382 followers
March 18, 2019

I think this was a great follow up and the author has vastly improved at world building, but, and it's definitely a me thing, I found the plot kind of dull? It does feel like it exists for a reason though, and I liked Denna's growth. I'm just not the biggest fan of books where a large chunk is training. But I did love the overall growth and I still love the relationship between Denna and Mare.
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
943 reviews14k followers
September 29, 2019
DNF at 50%

I had this book out from the library for over a month but hardly could make my way through it. I ended up moving away and having to return this to the library, which was a great conclusion to my everyday questioning myself, "Should I DNF this?" I was just bored. I feel like I've read this story before in a 2013 generic fantasy. It's a journey book with random side characters interspersed and nothing to anchor me to the story because the girls' relationship is getting more distant as Denna explores her powers, which in itself wasn't interesting either. I wish I could've liked this, but it was just difficult to read because I didn't care about anything that was happening even though I liked the girls' relationship in book one. This book's dynamic was so different and I just couldn't get through it. Maybe one day I'll try again.
Profile Image for Jackie.
297 reviews197 followers
Want to read
May 10, 2018
November 7, 2021
Maybe, in these troubling times of rising fascism and white nationalism, it's not a great idea to shape your novel's plot around the idea of suspecting the desert-dwelling immigrants of secretly trying to bring the country down.

(Tragically, I am neither kidding or embellishing.)

The Good
– Both Denna and Mare grow as individuals
– Plot-wise, there was usually something going on
– Some genuine moments of intrigue
– Decent choice of scenes?

The Bad
– Weak, rough, sloppy writing style
– Indistinguishable "voices" between the two main characters
– ALL the telling over showing
– Huge lack of self-awareness in terms of xenophobia
– Author doesn't know how to build meaningful relationships between characters
– Final battle was basically a confusing sneeze
– Apparently, we're expected to forgive Thandi even though he's done nothing to earn it
– Strange amount of girl-hate for an F/F novel
– No concrete plans for continuing the series

Characters—★★★☆☆ (2.25 Stars)
Writing Style—★★☆☆☆
Themes and Representation—★★☆☆☆

Denna and Mare arrive in the border town, Duvey, to find it under attack from Sonnenborne. Denna's powers overwhelm her, and after Mare shares her news of Sonnenborne's plot back home in Mynaria, it becomes clear the girls are bound for different paths—for now, at least.

After a fight over Denna's out-of-control powers, she accepts the Queen's offer—that is Queen Invasya, or Ina, from Inkmistress—for specialized training in the northernmost part of the country. In the north, Denna finds clues point toward a seventh god and grows closer to the queen. Mare stays behind in the south, to continue her ambassadorial duties and to sort out the plot she knows is afoot and must involve every single Sonnenborne in the city:
“Excuse me,” a man said behind me in rough Tradespeech. I moved aside to let him pass, shocked when I saw his Sonnenborne garb. Two more people rushed after him, both carrying tall stacks of folded fabric.

“What the Sixth Hell are Sonnenbornes doing here?” I asked.

“Those are textile merchants.” Alek shrugged.

“Sonnenbornes just attacked a city a week’s ride from here!”

“Which is why it’s doubtful that those textile merchants were involved in the attack.”

“Kartasha is neutral territory,” Denna added.

“Its people will feel different after we share details of the attack,” I said. Still, it didn’t sit right with me. Rumors had to have made their way ahead of us, even if we came bearing the official message. Wouldn’t that have made people suspicious of Sonnenbornes, especially if they knew that children had been abducted during the battle?

It would be easier if acceptance was part of Mare's character growth—why bother simple foreigners who just want to run their business?—but as it turns out, Mare's fears are 100% justified. Coulthurst really decided that the perfect plot for Of Ice and Shadows was "Every immigrant from the desert-country living in this city are pretending to be normal, harmless merchants, but are secretly plotting to take it over."

(Hello? Did no one see this and point it out? Hello???)

Rampant xenophobia aside, the story has all the right building blocks to work. There's some genuine intrigue: Denna finds hints of a seventh god in ruined temples and neglected libraries and Mare sneaks around, chasing conflicting clues she tries to piece together. Of Ice and Shadows has an interesting base plot and solid potential, but Coulthurst is not a storyteller. (And barely a writer.) Of Ice and Shadows suffers from a brutal execution problem.

Coulthurst does a lot of telling over showing and struggles with which elements to embellish and build upon and which ones to stack and set aside. Elements like Corovja's ancient temple and dusty library should be absolute goldmines of information and intrigue, but in Coulthurst's hands they're discardable, only a means to an end, carelessly used. She overwrites Mare's feelings in Denna's departure (I feel so sad; I feel so guilty) but the Midwinter Revel—the brutal competition Denna unknowingly signed up for when she accepted Queen's Invasya's offer—is glossed over in a couple paragraphs. Worse: Coulthurst does the same thing in the finale. You know, the finale? The conclusion to both this book, and at this point in time, the entire series? After building the ultimate antagonist up and showcasing the depth of their might, the ultimate battle plays out as something no longer or more distressing than a particularly violent sneeze.

My biggest concern: as of writing this, there are no concrete plans for another book. This is infuriating, as Of Ice and Shadows ends with bigger things looming on the horizon, heavy with the notes of unfinished business. The entire series could've concluded comfortably with Of Fire and Stars as a standalone (or with tedious Inkmistress as no more than a novella or short story), and have a third, final book of Mare and Denna's story. Yet, are left unsatisfied.

It's rare in Young Adult series that couples stay together for very long, and Denna and Mare find themselves in the same situation in Of Ice and Shadows. After an argument about Denna's unstable magic, Denna heads north for training without a proper goodbye and Mare's left lonely and guilt-ridden.

Although the circumstances in which they separate are a little contrived, Mare and Denna spend their time apart growing into themselves more and developing as individual characters outside of their relationship.

Outside of between the main characters, Coulthurst struggles to build deep relationships. She does sort of succeed with Mare's friendship with young Fadeyka, mind you, but there are other characters who are clearly supposed to cause a large amount of emotional strife who simply... don't. It's hard to believe Denna thinks of Invasya "almost like family" when their scenes together are truncated and Coulthurst always antagonizes Invasya in her characterization. Likewise, it's hard to dredge up any feelings when a character whose defining trait is barely having a personality dies. Both these characters lack crucial scenes with the girls: we don't see them connecting or showing vulnerability to one another. Invasya and Denna's relationship frustrates me most: according to the end of Inkmistress, the bond they develop in Of Ice and Shadows is supposed to be a BIG DEAL. But, with no confirmed sequels on the horizon and Denna's departure having the emotional impact akin to losing a box of raisins... well, what was the point?

Writing Style
Of Ice and Shadows is told in first person past tense, alternating between Mare and Denna's POVs, as in the first book.

Somehow, in the near-three years since Of Fire and Star's release, Coulthurst's writing ability hasn't improved at all. Given the time, the number of books the author's written, and the release of programs like ProWritingAid—which basically spoonfeeds the basics of writing strong prose—since the release of the first book, it's disappointing, to say the least. (And to say more: it's downright embarrassing to Coulthurst, her editor, and the Balzer+Bray imprint; it's despicable HarperCollins marketed such inferior quality books to LGBT+ teens when there were less options; and of course, it's heinous anyone let a book loaded with so much xenophobia and racism get to this point in publishing.)

As in previous books, her writing style is rough, rambling, imprecise, and unnecessarily wordy. She takes a lot of words to add very little new or meaningful information to the story, instead substituting dozens upon dozens of unnecessary details, such as how a character spills his soup into his beard when he eats. These details contribute nothing to the story and depict Denna and Mare as strange and judgmental. Additionally, she abuses filter and other weak words, particularly made, and litters the prose with unnecessary thats and hads. Given this is the fourth book that Coulthurst has authored (or co-authored) it's inexcusable.

Themes and Representation
Coulthurst does an okay job presenting Denna learning to control her powers, gaining confidence and finding a new purpose in life, as she does with Mare's learning about leadership. We also have three confirmed sapphic characters.

But jeez, not only are Coulthurst's theme and messages weak to nonexistent, everything else is a hot mess. For starts, there's the aforementioned issue with xenophobia. The book is ripe with it, and I don't know if the author (and literally every other person involved with Of Ice and Shadows) is genuinely aggressively anti-immigrant and racist or just painfully ignorant of what she's writing.

Another issue: the girl hate. Mercifully, it's something YA authors are further away from, but to see it here, in a sapphic book of all places, by a woman author specifically married to another woman? It's odd. Almost every girl and woman is presented in a negative light to some degree: the catty, stuck-up girls who Denna trains with; Invasya's "bloodthirst"; Fadeyka's annoying persistence; Laurenna's supposed desire for power. On the flip-side, we're supposed to care and even like male characters who are intentionally dull or who contribute little to the story. We're even supposed to forgive Mare's brother, Thandi—despite his rampant sexism, misogyny and cruelty in the first book—even though Coulthurst does nothing to redeem him.


Recommended For...
Unfortunately, it comes down to this: If you're sapphic and like YA fantasy, your choices in books are still limited. However, unlike when Of Fire and Stars, these days there are alternate choices available. The only benefit any book in this series has over fanfic is that they're somewhat more completed. Seriously, unless you're dedicated to supporting every sapphic fantasy novel, go read some fanfic.

And if you're not sapphic, there's nothing here that's special or even executed well enough to warrant your time. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

>>More book reviews at Feathered Turtle Press<<
Profile Image for Trina (Between Chapters).
876 reviews3,754 followers
August 28, 2019
Some interesting things happened toward the end, but overall I didn't feel invested. The climax happened so quickly I didn't realize it was over and it left me wondering why all the build up? Mare was nearly intolerable with her constant prejudice against an entire nation of people. Just not as interesting as the first book for me.
Profile Image for Danni's Badass Books.
173 reviews6 followers
January 19, 2021
⭐ 3 Stars ⭐

Hnmmm I'm not sure if it's just me but I found this book to be a little boring. It didn't seem to get very interesting until the last ¼ where the plot picked up. Took me a while to finish, but I'm glad I did.

The magic system was explored more in this and I really enjoyed that aspect. I didn't mind the training segment as you got to know the characters and learned about the magic in this world.

Speaking of the characters, I liked them and what they brought to the plot. Both the main characters grew throughout the book which I thought was great, especially Denna. However, sometimes I didn't really enjoy reading Mare's chapters apart from the ones nearer to the end.

Overall though the writing has really improved. The world building and characters were much better so that's a big plus.
Profile Image for Danika at The Lesbrary.
527 reviews1,336 followers
December 30, 2019
After falling in love with Of Fire and Stars, I was eager to pick up the sequel. Luckily, I thought it was even stronger than the first one, developing the characters, fleshing out the world, introducing two equally interesting plots, and keeping the core of Denna and Mare's relationship.

My full review is up at the Lesbrary.
January 21, 2018
Profile Image for Amber.
342 reviews54 followers
August 24, 2020
The fact that the plot didn't really become interesting until around 390 pages kinda says it all 😔 Let's just pretend that of fire and stars was a standalone
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,425 reviews215 followers
April 14, 2020
Not bad.. but I liked the first book a lot more.

Of Ice and Shadows was a nice sequel for me to listen to. It was honestly more of background noise than anything but I really did try to focus on it. In it, we still have the same princesses that we fell in love with in the first book: Mare and Denna. Yet, there was something missing in this book.

Not going to lie, nothing really happened in this. At least for me because things didn't start to get interesting until the very end of the book. Each princess just felt different to me in this one. It's like they were on some big or grand adventure.. but nothing really happened? Yes, magic needed to be tamed and they needed to be together till the very end. 'Cause ya know.. they love each other and shit.

..but I just wasn't invested this time around. I tried but they these two felt so boring. I honestly wished that the ending could've redeem them or the entire book but it just wasn't meant to be. Maybe next time folks.
Profile Image for Rahma.
266 reviews77 followers
September 20, 2020
I have one question: what was the point of this book? I would've been perfectly content leaving things the way the first book ended...

June 24, 2018
Ok, but doesn’t the description give away too much? I hope there are enough surprises in the book itself to make up for this.
March 4, 2019
3.5 stars

full review now on my blog!

Maybe I should’ve reread Of Fire and Stars prior to picking this up, but I was too excited when the ARC arrived on my Kindle. If you have the chance to before Of Ice and Shadows, I’d definitely recommend. Unfortunately, there’s no way I was putting anything on hold to see my gay princesses together again.

At the end of the first book, Mare and Denna are off on an adventure together. The princesses are seeking help for Denna to tame her magic, while Mare becomes an ambassador for her kingdom. They’re finally able to be together with no interruptions or barriers.

Everyone believes Denna is dead and Mare is acting as an ambassador to the distant kingdom Zumorda on behalf of her brother to attain a truce. However, they encounter a vicious attack along the way and it’s obvious Denna’s powers are becoming uncontrollable. Therefore, Mare needs to act like a diplomat and quickly establish an alliance to protect her home. However, the queen doesn’t warm up to her and instead takes an interest in Denna’s out of control powers. Their relationship is tested through a separation where Denna is trained in the use of her Affinity, and Mare stays in Zumorda to gain information and train in the art of swordsmanship.

Of Ice and Shadows is a significant change from its precedent and brings back our beloved characters as they try to navigate a new kingdom and new foes. The heartbreak and sweetness Mare and Denna bring to the pages is as present as ever, and their character development is even more admirable. The political intrigue and influx of side characters could be confusing at times, but it’s an intense, emotional read that’ll have you clutching the book to your chest to wipe away the tears. I adore this series for paving the way for more F/F fantasy books to come on the market, and I love the lack of homophobia in this world. Mare and Denna’s love feels natural to everyone around them, as it should be.

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Profile Image for Lea (drumsofautumn).
622 reviews625 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
September 30, 2019
DNF @ 35%
I'm the saddest bean!!! Ever since first reading Of Fire and Stars, I had always hoped that it would get a sequel because we saw so little of the world and magic system in the first one. On top of that, Audrey Coulthurst's Inkmistress was literally my favourite book of 2018. But I was so bored by Of Ice and Shadows. I tried pushing my way through it for over two weeks, eventually put it down and just never felt like I wanted to get back into it :(
Profile Image for Colleen Corgel.
525 reviews18 followers
February 27, 2020
This is a very sweet continuation of the first book, Of Fire and Stars, but with a little more intrigue and action. In the first book, it was mostly revolving around Mare and Denna as they figured out their feelings for each other, and navigated the issues in Mare's court. This time around, the girls get more time apart, and that's a good thing. It still is a bit of a coming of age story, so they needed to have time to find themselves as individuals before their relationship could get any stronger.

I enjoyed that the fantasy elements are there, and are strong, but not overwhelming. People who don't like fantasy often dislike the seemingly steep learning curve to even understand the fantastical elements of the story, but here, it feels just natural. It could be that Mare and Denna are both learning more about their world's magic, so we can understand it along with them. It could be that it's mentioned a lot, but it is straight forward, and has clear rules. Either way, it just adds to the story rather than subtracting from it.

This is on the younger side of young adult reading, which is fine, especially with a lot of the young adult fantasy reads being more mature. I love that it is fluffy but with some tough stuff. All in all, it is about two girls learning to become stronger and having a solid, beautiful relationship. Recommended for those looking for a cozy read.
Profile Image for Alison Rose.
836 reviews33 followers
July 20, 2021
I don't know why I like reading about people using magic but I dislike reading about people learning how to use their magic.

(Except if it's middle grade, then it's awesome.)

I had really enjoyed Of Fire and Stars. I mean, lesbian princesses and magic, yes please. I'd been meaning to get to this one since it came out three years ago, but unfortunately it was a bit of a letdown. It's not bad, and I did enjoy much of it, but I definitely wasn't as engaged as I was with the first book. Part of that is the length, but also that about halfway through the book, the two MCs are split up and Denna goes off to get her magical training and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. That shouldn't be boring to me, but it is. Like...the trope of "person has such intense magic that they can't control it and need a Skillshare class so they don't destroy the whole planet" thing is kind of tired. Why can't magic users just be capable and chill? I just have no interest in training sequences of any kind (again, MG is an exception, it's just more whimsical and fun, rather than dreary and depressing).

I also wish, as I always do with first person multi-POV books, that it had been written in third person. The voices of the two characters just did not sound distinct at all, except for Mare's whining, and third person makes it easier to give your characters clearer personalities, because it's not them telling us about themselves, you know?

I still loved seeing the relationship between Mare and Denna, though at times it felt like Mare forgot that Denna wasn't really her maidservant. I liked the resilience and fortitude they both showed, and there were some moments of real intrigue. But at times it plodded along, especially those training scenes, the climax of the story felt weirdly abrupt, and there was some kind of..........xenophobia? I don't know if that's maybe going a bit far, but some attitudes towards others rubbed me the wrong way.

So...eh, it's okay. Couple steps down from the first book, but still some enjoyment to be had, for sure.
Profile Image for belle ☆ミ (thisbellereadstoo).
1,800 reviews145 followers
January 13, 2022
check out the full review on thisbellereadstoo

Not knowing the language fluently, the culture and customs of the other kingdoms, Mare is inadequate at being an ambassador. Even though she’s a princess and the representative of her kingdom, her incompetency and lack of knowledge sucked when she needed those to qualm the uprising conflict. On the other hand, Denna has the information, knowledge, and critical thinking skills. It’s obvious, even to strangers, that she’s not who she seemed to be.

Each of them has different ideas of how their future would look like and the steps they need to go through to reach there. Denna’s powers are still unstable and too powerful for her to handle without any proper training, and the only way she could do that is by putting a kingdom between herself and Mare. Simultaneously, Mare needs to fulfill her diplomatic responsibilities as an ambassador from her own kingdom. She needs to find peace for her people but it isn’t easy when she’s seen as weak without any sword-fighting skills.

Watching them grow as individuals were incredibly satisfying. They have to do what they need to do and they did it with so much courage, bravery, and determination. There were countless mistakes and painful moments along the way but they became impressive people. It’s true that, in Of Ice and Shadows, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

As Denna slowly learns about her affinity and how to control it, readers start to know more about world-building. The plot thickens and becomes more complex as the characters explore Zumorda through the magic and the mysterious coup going on in the kingdom.

Overall, I enjoyed Of Ice and Shadows. Both Denna and Mare’s personal growth journeys were admirable. There were new interesting characters introduced and they all had unique voices and abilities.

books in the series:
1. of fire and stars: ✰✰✰✰½
2. of ice and shadows: ✰✰✰✰
Profile Image for iz.
614 reviews
February 19, 2020
this was so good!!! it was a little slow at the start but once the plot kicked in i loved it; learning more about the magic system was my favorite part. the character development worked out so well (mare and denna both grew so much and it felt so natural) and it was just!!! great!!!! highly recommended
Profile Image for Faith Simon.
198 reviews164 followers
November 10, 2021
DNF @ like 5 pages lol, I read all these reviews from yall for this book and it completely psyched me out, I find it difficult to read when all I can think about is how much I'll probably end up not enjoying it, considering so many others did after adoring the first book as I did. So, I'm going to take all those warnings and skip this one.
Profile Image for catherine ♡.
1,211 reviews160 followers
April 27, 2020
I shook my head, bewildered. "I've always known what lay ahead."

That was me, basically. I was okay with the first one and I was okay with this one — they were both predictable and I could've told you after a few of his scenes that .

Both of them seem to have the same issue where I just felt like there was no PURPOSE. In most YA novels, the hero(ine) gets somewhere and either has a plan in mind or some Big Thing happens and suddenly there's something they have to figure out. In this one I didn't really see that — it felt like the characters were going through the motions and the overarching plot was just weak.

The world-building felt weak as well — it felt like we were making up the rules of the world as we went along, and Denna's "she is much more powerful than she seems" was milked for much too long.

Mare/Denna also kind of lost their spark. It was a lot of the typical "they are the only thing worth living for in this world" and then the "If I stay I'll hurt you but I don't want to leave because I can't bear to be apart from you" and there really wasn't much in their relationship to keep me invested.

With all that being said, 3 stars is still not a bad rating for me, and I appreciate some of the little pieces of dialogue, and some side characters like Tristan.
Profile Image for C.
88 reviews42 followers
June 10, 2021
“I love you so much,” she whispered
Her words filled all the places in me that had been empty since she disappeared.
“I don’t ever want to be without you again.” I said. “I love you, too.”

I was so afraid on reading this sequel of Of Fire and Stars because it might disappoint me because the first book was too great for me. Thank the Gods it was amazing too. I love it so much! I enjoyed every chapters, every adventures, and each character’s development. Also, so many powerful women. Yay!

Denna and Mare so deserve each other. They are the example of star crossed lovers *kilig*

This was my best read in June so far. Happy Pride Month!
July 1, 2020
This book and its prequel were both amazing. I love them both and I recommend them to anyone who loves "YA books that tend to involve magic, horses, and kissing the wrong people" (Comment if you know where that is from)
Dennaleia (Lia) and Amaranthine (Mare) were amazing protagonists and I loved reading about their adventures from Havemont to Mynaria and even Zumorda as well as Corojva (I think that's how it's spelled, correct me if I'm wrong) and Kartasha.
Anyways, overall this duology was amazing and I recommend it to anyone who wants some fantasy and/or LGBTQ+ romance. (I love both, so this was right up my alley)😁
Profile Image for Tim.
936 reviews15 followers
May 10, 2021
But some things require a person to be more than a name.
A kingdom in need of a fighter.
The threat of a war that could destroy everything.
Or a girl holding fire in her hands.

Oh, Coulthurst, you did it again.

Just like before, it's a terrific cover, fantastic plot, and good worldbuilding. Zumorda and the magic are a lot to take in, it may take some time to grasp everything, but once you've done that, it's amazing work!

There are a few times where you really want to bang Mare's and Denna's heads together - hard - but most of the time they're just as awesome as they were in Book 1. Especially in the last one hundred pages you can see all too well how they've grown and really come into being. Gosh, I wouldn't mind reading more about them - let's say a book or five extra. All the new characters were very interesting as well, and Coulthurst does not fall into the trap of making the queen the ultimate bad guy.

Very often, sequels that weren't the author's plan turn out to be… well, below-average, but that's clearly not the case here. It doesn't reach quite the heights of Of Fire and Stars, because there were a few minor things that I didn't like that much or sounded unlogical to me, but 'minor' in this case means that it's still a fucking good novel. The only thing that did bug me was that Denna's 'disguise' as a maid works almost all the time. Fine, so she says that she's Mare's handmaiden, and while that might give her some leeway in things she knows or can, it certainly doesn't give her enough leeway to do... everything she does in this book without anyone growing suspicious of her. I didn't really buy that.

For the rest, though, I'm so glad this book exists. Also, it has one of the weirdest random comments I've ever come across. Extra points for this one. Are you ready...? This is Mare: At least I'm not the one eating bread full of sad, shriveled grape corpses.
And, just in case you're wondering: Yes, she is talking about raisins.

Average rating for the series: 10/10
Profile Image for Béatrice.
316 reviews
December 27, 2020
Of Ice and Shadows was a perfect sequel. It had the same cute and romantic feeling than the first one, but the political and magical elements were so much more developed and interesting. It was honestly so wonderful, like I couldn't stop reading it every time I picked it up. Denna and Mare's stories after they separated were each very fun to read and never got boring. I loved seeing Denna learn to use her magic in Zumorda with the queen and I absolutely adored the final battle! This is one of my new favourite series and I really hope it continues. But even if it doesn't, it works well as a duology. I can't wait to read the prequel now!
Profile Image for helena.
121 reviews102 followers
Shelved as 'abandonados'
July 26, 2020
dnf at 6%, chapter 5.
Profile Image for Alex.
329 reviews20 followers
May 1, 2021
I’m gonna need a third book. Like a conclusion one. I need to know what happened to the Queen, to the brother, to the other Queen, were the MCs are living, etc, etc.
Profile Image for luisa&#x1f496;.
307 reviews11 followers
December 7, 2019

“Blood is not the only thing that keeps a heart beating.”

Even though this one had a rough start for me, it really picked up by the end! The first half felt rather slow and less action-packed and I forgot many things considering world building from the first book.

But as soon as I got into the story and the plot picked up a little, I found myself really enjoying this and wondering what was going to happen next.

Especially the characters made up for the slow pacing for me. Denna and Mare were interesting enough and I enjoyed their perspectives, but I mostly got attached to all the new minor characters we were introduced to!

If there ever should be a third book in this series, I will definitely pick it up because I think there’s still so much left to learn about this world and its characters!
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