I received an A.R.C for this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This review is spoiler-free.
Status: Finished Reading (17 July 2018)
Edition: Kindle ARC
Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi is a companion book to The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes universe. It comprises of three short stories: Death and Night, Poison and Gold, and Rose and Sword. Each of those stories has its unique form of prose, given the completely different characters they deal with – in turn, they take us on a completely thrilling but different roller coaster ride.
If you are already a fan of Chokshi’s work, then there is no doubt that you will love Star-Touched Stories as much as you have loved the preceding novels. They each have a taste of romance, suspense, plot, and character building that will not only have you holding your breath but also positively drowning in the rich tapestry – no pun intended – that Chokshi has woven for this universe.
Death and Night:
There is no other way to describe this first story other than breathtaking. The tale of the Dharma Raja and Night is one we fell deeply in love with when we first started this series, so to read about them again is like coming home. As far as suspense goes, there is perhaps not much – in many ways, we already know exactly how their story pans out. But that doesn’t take away from the way in which Chokshi spins their story to still keep us extremely curious, and successfully being surprised with some of the characters’ actions.
One of the strongest tools in Chokshi’s writing arsenal has been her refreshing use of purple prose – while some don’t find it suitable to their palette, I’m a firm believer of using purple prose to its full extent in a fantasy setting. This is especially true for mythical retellings – as opposed to epic fantasies with complex world buildings. Chokshi does a superb job of using this narrative tool to give us a beautiful story of love and inevitability, which is both true to and entirely different from The Star-Touched Queen.
Poison and Gold:
This was easily the story I was looking most forward to, and it did not disappoint in the least. Aasha quickly became a well-loved character – not just in the series, but for YA literature, in general – and her story was one I was desperate to get my hands on. I didn’t know if there was romance to be expected, since Aasha is still so new to our world. I wanted her to first find herself, figure out who she is, and find her place in the world before she found another person. That being said, a part of me was also hoping for her to find a romance, something different from the superficial desires that she had grown used to.
Of course, Chokshi gifted me with both. Aasha’s perspective offers a lot of opportunity for creative writing, and I’m glad that it was used to its full potential. Her perceptive nature makes her a good eye to look at characters from, just as her curious eyes allow for an author to easily construct some very beautiful story-settings. Moreover, the kind of journey she’s pushed on gives us equal parts adventure and self-reflection. This is the perfect kind of story for someone like Aasha, who is both very old and very young in this world.
I’d also like to add how happy it makes me that her romance is a sapphic one, and one that actually had me sitting on the edge of my seat looking for an outcome. I suspected that whenever she would get a romance storyline, it would be sapphic, but to see it on paper just had my heart bursting with joy.
Rose and Sword:
This story struck such a deep chord inside me. I was completely blindsided by it because it was not narrated in the manner in which I expected it to be – but it still was an experience I don’t regret. Vikram and Gauri are some of my favourite MCs and I was awfully bittersweet about ending this series with them.
Their short story is one that is equal parts joy and grief, and it left me feeling so emotional when I finally closed it. I think this one is the one with most potential for spoilers, and since we’re keeping this spoiler-free, I’ll stop talking about it here. All I have to say for this is that it did a great job of showcasing what this entire universe means to me.
At the end of the day, these are myths I have grown up hearing from my own grandmothers, every night for as many nights as my childhood stretched. That is one of the many reasons why this series means so much to me. Chokshi’s decision to end it in a similar storytelling format, especially with my favourite characters, had me choking up. This final story is everything this universe means to me – thrilling, yet comforting; loving, yet lonely; welcoming, yet painful. Absolutely perfect.
Thank you Roshani Chokshi, not only for giving us this delightful set of stories but also for creating this universe that we so easily fell head over hells for. It will always hold a special place in my heart. I cannot wait to get my hands on the end product!