Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi (TSTQ #2.5)
Publisher: St. Martins Press
Release Date: August 7, 2018
Summary: 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?
My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½
My Thoughts: Readers are once again immersed into the world of The Star-Touched Queen through three dazzlingly written stories that explore love, loss, acceptance, and so much more! Star-Touched Stories is not a collection to miss for fans of the series! Chokshi’s storytelling weaves magic and wonder with each page!
Death And Night by Roshani Chokshi: ★★★★★
This first story is set up to be a prequel to The Star-Touched Queen, which follows the past lives of Maya & Amar + how they fell in love! (There’s also some references to TSTQ).
Death wanders the land of Naraka, lonely with only the night sky as his solace and comfort. Then there is Night herself, who sells dream fruit (allowing people to have any kind of dream), and all she longs for is recognition or remembrance for what she’s done!
Both are death & night incarnate, and through Chokshi’s writing we get such thought-provoking passages of the movement of time, connection, longing for love, loneliness…just such moving passages that are delivered through each of them and what they long for!
Death runs into Night after hearing about her & figuring she may be the one, before Teej comes (which Death isn’t looking forward to)! They meet after an evening in the Night Bazaar and there beautiful relationship goes from there!
We see how lonely they both are, but in different ways! As their relationship develops, its so clear that they both have fears that are holding them back from being with each other. However, when they are with each other, they begin to see that each of them understands the deepest secrets + dreams within their hearts.
We learn that Death’s heart was cursed by the Shadow Wife to always lose his love and seeing how it added so much more to his apprehension of finding love at first was so incredibly developed and weaved into not only his story, but the story overall!
I loved how Chokshi developed their relationship and through the beautiful dual POV 1st person narrative, get immersed in such a beautiful tale.
Additionally, through Chokshi exploring both Death & Night, we see how throughout the story, they unlock each others deepest dreams + wishes as they connect and grow with each other.
The descriptions and overall atmosphere of this novella was phenomenal! I could picture Naraka, Nights dream fruit, Death (who had elaborate horns on his head, which was really cool!), the worlds and place both Night & Death explore, the wondrous imagery of the night sky, dreams, etc.!
What also allowed me to really love this story is that through Chokshi’s elegant writing-style, it made me pause and think with every few lines because of how beautifully and thought-provokingly written they were! The breaks I took while reading this novella really allowed the words to sink in and for me to completely fall in love with the story of Death And Night!
Above all what really stuck with me throughout this story was the exploration of love and when you meet someone who truly understands not only do they help you become your best self, but they also allow you to face the truths that aren’t always easy to say out loud that they can clearly see!
This novella explored love, deeply moving emotions, and through such lyrical, profound writing, The tale of Death And Night, was truly one of my favorites!
Poison And Gold by Roshani Chokshi: ★★★★☆ ½
Poison And Gold is a short-story/epilogue to A Crown Of Wishes, which now follows Gauri & Vikram’s friend that they met briefly during the Tournament Of Wishes, Aasha who is a Vishakanya and has left her life as a poisoner behind to be with Gauri & Vikram in the real world.
Now she’s given an opportunity by Vikram & Gauri to become their Spy Mistress and train with the current Spy, Zahril or risk being sent home and no longer being allowed among Gauri & Vikram, according to the council.
Now as she trains among Zahril, she learns more about what it means to be truly human and how as a Vishakanya, she’ll be able to avoid being found out by Zahril while proving she has what it takes to become Spy Mistress.
With my love for A Crown Of Wishes, I was so incredibly happy to return to this world where Vikram & Gauri are now married and busy with ruling over their united kingdoms of Bharata-Ujjain.
I loved seeing the beautiful friendship bloom even stronger between them & Aasha! ❤
Aasha goes through so much development within this story! First, she is still in fear of Vishakanya abilities and the destruction it brings, but over the course of the novel (even if she does have to keep it hidden) she begins to understand more about how it connects to her past when she was the in harem, but also how her powers are a part of her + how she comes to accept it on her journey to become Spy Mistress!
Her instructor, Zahril isn’t exactly all to happy with her there in the first place (& her hatred of Vishakanyas doesn’t make things much easier), but through her trials and tasks, we find how it not only allows Aasha to become more confident in who she is, but how there’s so many different facets to the role Aasha is training for!
We see how this fear of revealing her abilities also brings an element of intrigue and thought-provoking moments as Aasha questions what it means to be a Vishakanya.
There’s also f/f rep., when we learn more to Zahril’s past and how she was in love with a girl named Samza, but was killed by Vishakanyas + as Zahril begins to accept Aasha as a potential candidate, Aasha finds herself falling for her!
The writing as with all of Chokshi’s stories builds so much depth to the world & what we were already familiar with in A Crown Of Wishes! The little details also build on the emotional depth of each character and their view of the world, its magic, etc.
Overall I loved returning to the world of A Crown Of Wishes & seeing my favorite characters again + getting introduced to one of my new favorite characters Zahril! I loved how this story focused on having Aasha accept her strengths and not letting the fear overcome her!
Poison And Gold is a short story that is all about growth, friendship, love, and forging your own path! I loved it!
Rose and Sword:★★★★★
In the kingdom of Bharata-Ujijain, 10-year old Hira helps her sister on the day before her wedding by packing up her favorite toys and putting them in a chest for Meghana. But, Meghana is nervous and lashes out in anger at Hira. So, Hira heads to her grandmother’s quarters where her grandmother recounts a story of a queen on her wedding night.
From what I gathered this story takes place well after A Crown Of Wishes and I loved reading the hints/references to it, like later in the 1st chapter, its stated that the women in Hira’s family were immune to poison and it hinted at a rumor surrounding a blue star they were born with (like w/ Aasha?) & of course the story revolving around Garui & Vikram’s wedding ❤ ❤ + seeing very early on that Hira’s grandmother is Gauri.
I just loved seeing this past/present/future timeline to see how Gauri & Vikram were doing!!
The story follows Gauri on the day before her wedding and the journey, she’s feeling so many different things (especially uncertainty, maybe fear). So, she is shocked when she realizes Vikram is sick and she stays with him as its revealed that the physicians aren’t sure whats wrong.
When its revealed that a messenger of death may come for Vikram, Gauri knows she will do whatever it takes to make sure he is brought back! So the messenger (which disguises itself as Gauri) tasks her with reaching & retrieving Vikram’s last breath from the Kingdom Of Death by passing many Gates, before sunrise!
The journey to the first gate leaves Gauri remembering her sister Maya & reflecting on an argument she & Vikram had in the past, a reminder to who she could lose if she doesn’t make it in time.
Its so clear the love each other and that they’ve both grown so much, and knowing what’s at stake, my heart broke during her flashbacks.
Next, Gauri makes it to the Gate Of Grief and into an unknown white palace, where she finds Vikram’s voice, but learns something about love, the truth that there will be a day when she loses him, and the bravery of love, (even when you let go)!
Gauri then makes it in time to get back to Vikram! I loved reading about how their wedding turned out and what Hira takes away from the story in the end, when she thinks of the anger (which was actually a sense of fear) that Meghana had before her own wedding!
Now I don’t want to spoil it, but the epilogue that finished off this story was beautiful, there were definitely some tears (I love Gauri & Vikram so much!! 😭✨❤❤)
Overall, though I absolutely adored every tale in Star-Touched Stories, my only minor issue is that the pacing was a bit slow for me as I spent quite a bit more on reading through Poison And Gold!
Also what makes Star-Touched Stories such a great short story collection as a whole, is that it also adds more the world and story itself, while also giving enough time to develop everything so perfectly from the characters, setting, descriptions, plotting, pacing, etc.
What made Star-Touched Stories so incredibly special was spending one last book with the amazing characters like Gauri, Vikram, Aasha, the past selves of Maya & Amar! I hadn’t really thought about it until I began reading Rose And Sword, and that’s when I was just savoring each page with these characters, because looking back, Chokshi’s Star-Touched novels have just stuck with me ever since I first read them and even with the many other books I’ve read, her series has truly stayed with me! I got a bit emotional as I read through Gauri looking after Vikram as he was sick 😭✨❤
Star-Touched Stories is a collection of three beautifully written tales that take readers back to the world of Chokshi’s Star-Touched Series! Wrapping up the series, the stories explore the complexities of loss, love, finding ones inner strength, and so much more! Chokshi’s beautifully descriptive writing delivers on building even more into the Star-Touched Queen world as a whole and the magnificent characters we’ve come to love from the series!