Escape Velocity

A curated Collection of Fantasy and Science Fiction Media

Princess Dennaleia is betrothed to the prince of a neighboring kingdom to seal an alliance. As she does her best to learn the ways of her new home, something that proves to be hard enough by itself, she has to do everything within her power to conceal her magic abilities. After all, magic is strictly forbidden in her future kingdom.

Meanwhile, Princess Amaranthine – called Mare for short – cares little for the arrival of her sister-in-law. However, when tensions in the kingdom lead to an assassination, the two princesses quickly find they need each other to puzzle things out.


Of Fire and Stars is primarily a romance story in a pretty generic fantasy setting. Neither the worldbuilding nor the plot are very original, so those things are not what you should be reading this story for. I would recommend going in with the same expectations as when you watch a romantic comedy: you pretty much know what you are going to get when you start, but sometimes that can be just what you are in the mood for. The writing itself is decent and I liked the story well enough while I was reading it. However, once I had finished it I did not feel the need to pick up the sequel as well.


Especially for young adult readers who do not read a lot, I think this book can be a good place to start. I wish there was a longer list of other fantasy or sci-fi books featuring F/F romances that I could recommend, but sadly these are still somewhat hard to find. Some books that come to mind are Wilder Girls by Rory Power (although this book is quite a lot darker than Of Fire and Stars), and the graphic novels The One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg and On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden.

First of all, it should be said that this book is primarily a love story. The fantasy murder mystery plot and worldbuilding are quite simple, never reaching their full potential. This leaves the two female protagonists and their slow-burn relationship as the main driving force of the story. If you can’t seem to care for either one of the princesses or their romance, this book has little to offer you.

That said, I would say Of Fire and Stars is in no way a badly written (or even constructed) book. However, I think it is better suited for a younger public than an experienced reader, who’ll probably see all the plot twists and answers to mysteries coming from afar. 

Dealing with themes concerning identity and independence, and also the fact that the story contains a F/F romance, makes that Of Fire and Stars is a perfectly fine addition to the fantasy genre.

I really wanted to enjoy this novel because of the queer main characters, but unfortunately it just didn’t really work for me. The plot is quite predictable, which I don’t mind at all if the writing is good. Unfortunately Of Fire and Stars doesn’t offer much more originality than the fact that it is a queer twist on a usually very straight trope.

It’s been quite a while since I read this book and I briefly considered rereading it for this review. However, I quickly realised that I didn’t really want to? Don’t get me wrong: I didn’t hate the book, I just didn’t really take anything from it the first time I read it, and I feel like my not wanting to reread it is probably as good an indication of how well (or poorly, I suppose) I enjoyed it as if I reread it and gave you a very in-depth overview of why it left me unphased.

If you’re desperate for an easy read and you like the idea of a queer fantasy romance,  I suppose I can recommend it. But I wouldn’t go out of my way to read it, personally.


This is the worst book I have finished, at least in the past five years, and maybe ever. The prologue captivated me, and then it was one big ride of irritation turned to frustration turned to anger to the end. If it wouldn’t have been on a list for a book club, I would have tossed this right out of the window a few chapters in.

The premise of the book is all about the twist: a princess is married off to a prince, but then falls in love with his sister instead. A bit of a gotcha, but a welcome variation on an old tune. Except everything else about this book is just… awful. There is no other way to put it.

The fantasy setting is so generic there is literally nothing to say about it. For some reason, half the book is about horses instead of the plot.

The main characters act like – and are – spoiled children. Their parents put reasonable restrictions on them. Everytime the children break the rules, they find themselves in mortal danger and end up needing to be saved or surviving by a hair’s breadth. Somehow, the parents are still the bad guys for trying to keep them inside.

The sister that our main character falls for is a literal princess who lives in a literal palace and gets offered a seat on the literal ruling council while the peasants break their backs in the fields to support them, but she throws a temper tantrum and embarrasses her family because her little brother and not her will inherit the throne – and this is somehow a great injustice to her.

There is a murder investigation going on, but because there are literally so few characters in the book it is immediately obvious who did it.

The characters are horrible. The writing is childish. The plot makes no sense. The fucking unnecessary focus on horses. Even writing this review is slowly filling me with rage over this book again.

For me, this book embodies a lot of what I dislike about a sub-section of the modern fantasy genre. It is reduced to a quaint, rainbows-and-unicorns Disney-fairy-tale setting, thinned down to a veneer, a tasteless sauce to spread over your uninspired YA love triangle story.

At best, this is fantasy for 13-year-old-horse-girls (and that’s being really generous). At worst, this is a blatant cash grab, a horrible book that is sold to the woke crowd on the premise that it is gay – but really, it isn’t worth the paper it is printed on.

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