“It was an old adage, that some people were fated to meet, to teach each other a lesson they so desperately needed, perhaps to save their lives.” – S. D. Simper
The Fate of Stars by S. D. Simper (ISBN: 978-1952349089) is a beautiful fantasy romance, with an intriguing enemies to lovers trope. The writing and world-building is beautiful, and the descriptions allow the reader to visualize the story. I highly recommend this book to adult fiction readers who are fans of fantastical elements, sword-wielding princesses, sassy mermaids, and a well-done love story.
Tallora is a priestess in training who breaks the ocean’s surface during a storm to pray to Goddess Staella. However, Tallora is not alone this stormy night. She watches as a young woman falls from a ship into the sea. Tallora attempts to help the woman, but her kindness gets her stolen from her ocean home.
Princess Dauriel, Tallora’s captor, is cold and mocking, but her mother, Empress Vahla, is even worse. Tallora tries to escape, but her fin proves detrimental to her plan. So, Tallora prays to her beloved Goddess Staella, who sends her something to assist her. Tallora escapes her watery prison, only to remain prisoner of the country of Solvira. But tenuous feelings between Tallora and Dauriel threaten to blossom into something more – something that could endanger Tallora and Dauriel’s kingdom.
Can one truly learn to forgive? And can the other learn to love and accept love in return?
Simper creates dynamic three-dimensional characters, and she does an excellent job in building reader sympathy for characters, even characters you dislike in the beginning. The story almost reminds me of Beauty and the Beast, minus the Stockholm Syndrome. Simper does a wonderful job exploring the power imbalance in the blossoming romance, and she has the characters explore this themselves – something that shows there is no manipulation within the budding relationship.
Simper’s love story reminds me of Audrey Coulthurst’s Of Fire and Stars, and as I loved it in the YA fantasy, I love that Simper shows two people actively falling in love. The entire romance was enthralling, and I desperately want to read more of Tallora and Dauriel – enemies to lovers may just be my new favorite trope. I’m greatly looking forward to reading the next two installments of the Sea and Stars trilogy, Heart of Silver Flame and Death’s Abyss.
Overall, I give this book 5/5 stars. The fantasy world has magical and political intrigue, and the romance is wonderfully written. If you are looking for a wonderful fantasy romance then The Fate of Stars is for you!
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Trigger Warnings: Sex and references to suicide.