Today I’m here with a review of Star-Touched Stories, the third book that takes place in the beautiful setting of The Star-Touched Queen (my review here and fanart here), and A Crown of Wishes (my review here and fanart here). Star-Touched Stories, however, brings forth three short stories that not only ties these books together, but wrap them in an epilogue that will leave readers brimming with love and emotions. Chokshi’s writing is always so passionate, and this master storyteller leaves not a thread hanging in these stories.
Three lush and adventurous stories in the Star-Touched world.
Death and Night
He was Lord of Death, cursed never to love. She was Night incarnate, destined to stay alone. After a chance meeting, they wonder if, perhaps, they could be meant for more. But danger crouches in their paths, and the choices they make will set them on a journey that will span lifetimes.
Poison and Gold
Now that her wish for a choice has come true, Aasha struggles to control her powers. But when an opportunity to help Queen Gauri and King Vikram’s new reign presents itself, she is thrown into the path of the fearsome yet enchanting Spy Mistress. To help her friends, Aasha will have to battle her insecurities and perhaps, along the way, find love.
Rose and Sword
There is a tale whispered in the dark of the Empire of Bharat-Jain. A tale of a bride who loses her bridegroom on the eve of her wedding. But is it a tale or a truth?
Throughout these stories, Chokshi’s writing remains provocative and sensual – perhaps leaning towards the purple prose side for some readers. I for one really enjoyed her heady descriptions and imaginative metaphors, and any reader who has enjoyed her previous two books in this world will adore this one. It ties in so many stories and characters, as well as presents itself as a final kiss and goodbye to the stunning world that we have visited twice already.
Note: this review will contain slight spoilers to The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes!
Death and Night
“Love was extraordinary.
This story is a prequel to Chokshi’s debut, The Star-Touched Queen. In TSTQ, Maya and Amar are given a second chance to revisit their love and correct their mistakes. But what happened when they first fell in love?
I love how Chokshi set-up Death and Night’s characters in this story. Night sold her wares at the Night Bazaar, which consists of this dream fruit that is coveted by many, but at a high price. She wants recognition. Death has been lonely these past years, and he needs to take a bride. The only catch is: he can’t fall in love with her. Despite obstacles and all odds, they meet each other and begin a sweet, sometimes snarky, but altogether delightful courtship that is tested through the threads of time. I loved this little insight to Maya and Amar’s past life, and seeing familiar characters!
Poison and Gold
“Of all the human desires and emotions that fascinated her, love was the most mysterious of them all.”
In A Crown of Wishes, we met and fell in love with Aasha, a centuries old vishakanya who despite her age, is still curious and bright-eyed about the world. When Aasha gets granted a boon to become human, she goes back to the courts with Gauri and Vikram. But she still doesn’t feel as if she belongs with them…
I adored Aasha in ACOW, and I loved seeing her story continued in this short story. Aasha finds herself lost, to an extent. She’s no good to Gauri and Vikram diplomatically, while they’re trying to rule two kingdoms, and she just can’t seem to shake off the courtier’s insults. An opportunity to get away from this presents itself when Gauri and Vikram ask her to become their Spy Mistress. The catch? She has to get approval first from the current Spy Mistress, who is a mysterious and apparently cold-hearted individual. But when Aasha begins her training and finds herself completing her tests, she also finds herself drawn to the Spy Mistress and the secrets she told. I loved the sapphic romance this story had, and Aasha’s own self-discovery.
Rose and Sword
“‘To possess even a single line in the legend of you is the greatest wish I could have made.'”
This story brings back Gauri and Vikram’s tale, which hasn’t quite ended yet. It takes place distantly in the future, where a grandmother is trying to cheer up her grandchild in the wake of a large wedding. To cheer her up, she tells the story of another wedding, long ago. A wedding that never happened…
I don’t want to give away too much of this story, but it was as beautifully-written and heartful as the other two. It serves as an epilogue to ACOW in many ways, and I just love how Chokshi tied everything up. There’s an exploration of not only new love found, but retaining this love through thick and thin, and the risk to love despite the pain. Readers of Chokshi’s books do not want to miss out on these three stories, and the beloved characters they bring back.
Thank you St. Martin’s and Netgalley for the review copy!