By Ekta R. Garg
August 29, 2018
Genre: YA fiction
Release date: August 7, 2018
Rated: Bordering on Bookmark it / 3. 5 stars
Death and Night take on human form as they learn to love one another. A woman granted a wish loses her self-confidence as she navigates a world unknown to her. A queen and king, on the night before their wedding, engage in the greatest challenge to their union. Author Roshani Chokshi brings back characters readers will recognize in Star-Touched Stories, a triad of novellas almost too sumptuous for consumption.
In the first story, Death needs a queen but doesn’t want to risk his heart. Due to a curse inflicted on him centuries earlier, he’s destined to lose anyone he loves. He searches for a companion with a proposition in mind. He’ll offer a suitable mate all the comforts she could possibly want but not love. Of course, he didn’t count on meeting Night and falling in love with her. Night, too, becomes enamored with Death, despite his insistence that he doesn’t want a relationship. Together they navigate a territory unknown to both of them until they reach a point where they must decide whether love is worth the cost.
The second story opens with Aasha, a being from the Otherworld who made a wish to live among humans. A close friend to Queen Gauri and King Vikram, Aasha lives in the palace and uses her talents to advise both on matters of state. As the two royals prepare to join their kingdoms through marriage, other advisors complain about Aasha’s proximity to Gauri and Vikram. They offer her the opportunity to train as a Spy Mistress so she can retain an official title as well as a legitimate reason to stay close. With the utmost of reluctance, Aasha begins her training and finds it to be exactly what she needed to center herself. She also finds the opportunity for love in the most unexpected way possible.
Gauri and Vikram become the focus of the third story. Many years into the future, Princess Hira finds herself pouting on the eve of her big sister’s wedding. She runs to her grandmother and former queen, Gauri, who shares her own love story with Hira. On the night before her wedding, Vikram falls victim to a mysterious illness. Gauri learns the only way to cure him is to go to the Otherworld and bring back his last breath. Along the way she runs into challenges to herself and to the strength of her love, which force her to consider carefully whether the journey is worth it.
Author Roshani Chokshi gives readers a chance to spend more time with Aasha, Gauri, and Vikram, beloved characters from her previous novel, A Crown of Wishes. In Star-Touched Stories, as with her previous books, Chokshi bends her prose in ways that will delight readers with its unexpected twists. Many of the metaphors will make readers sit back in appreciation.
Those same metaphors, however, also slightly weaken the book. In many cases, they come too close to one another. The lush descriptions, enchanting at first, at times will overwhelm readers and will force them to step back from the book for a while to breathe.
Chokshi’s talent is unquestionable; her descriptions and world building offer readers a delightful departure from other stories. It wouldn’t hurt, in future books, for her to give her readers a little bit of space in between some of those descriptions. With enough plain narrative to act as the stitching to the rich metaphors, the tapestries of her novels and stories will appear that much more lush.
Fans waiting to find out more about Aasha, Vikram, and Gauri will certainly appreciate returning to their world in this trilogy. Readers new to Chokshi’s work can consider it a crash course in her writing style. I find Star-Touched Stories Bordering on Bookmarking it.