Star-Touched Stories

Star-Touched Stories

by Roshani Chokshi

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250180797
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 08/07/2018
Series: Star-Touched Series
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 232,067
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

Roshani Chokshi is the New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Shimmer, and Book Smugglers. Her short story, "The Star Maiden," was longlisted for the British Fantasy Science Award.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

DEATH

I stood outside the home, watching as the light beaded and dripped down the length of the Tapestry thread. I waited. There was never any rush. Not for me at least.

The light dangled from the end of the string, clinging and reluctant. A passing wind stirred the ends of the thread, teasing out strands of memory. The memories plumed into the air, releasing the scent of a life lived in love. One by one, the memories unraveled — a pillow shared by two heads bent close in secrecy, a frayed blanket kept inside an eternally empty cradle, a table that sagged from the weight of uncertain feasts. Happiness stolen from the edges of sorrow.

I stepped over the threshold.

The lights in the hut extinguished. Shadows slipped off the walls to gather around my feet. Inside the hut, someone had propped up a stingy fire. Cinnamon scented the air. Past the dusty vestibule, rows upon rows of bay leaves hung from the ceiling. Strange runes scratched into small animal bones and ivory hairpins lay in carefully constructed patterns. I laughed. Someone had tried to ward me away. But there was no door that didn't open to me.

At the far corner of the house huddled two people. A man in the arms of a woman. Old age had blessed him, yet for all his gnarled veins and silver-streaked hair, the woman cradled him as if he were a child. He murmured softly into the crook of her neck. I watched them. She wasn't crying.

The woman looked up ... and saw me.

How refreshing.

"Greetings, Dharma Raja," said the woman in a clear voice.

I took in the bay leaves and bone pins. "You were expecting me, I take it."

"Yes," she said, hanging her head. "I regret that I cannot serve you any food or drink or treat you as a guest in our home."

"Don't let it trouble you," I said, waving my hand. "I am rarely a guest. Merely an inevitable occurrence."

Her husband did not stir in her arms. His breath had grown soft. While the woman had kept her eyes trained on me, I had taken away his pain, siphoned it bit by bit. I was in a generous mood.

"You have come for him."

"As I will for you, one day. I could tell you the hour, if you wish it."

"No."

I shrugged. "Very well."

She clutched him tighter. Her hands trembled. I knew she could feel his life unspooling. She may have seen me, but she did not see his life pooling beneath him.

"May I ask something of you, Dharma Raja?" "You may."

But I need not honor it.

"We always wished to leave this life together."

"I cannot change your appointed time, even if I wished."

She closed her eyes. "Then may I request, instead, that you not let him pass to the next life until I may join him there?"

Now this was interesting. I sank backward into the air, and an onyx throne swirled up to meet me. I tilted my head, watching her.

"Why? I haven't weighed your life yet. What if you were far more honorable than your husband in this life? I could pour your soul into the mold of a princess blessed with beauty and intellect, riches and wonders. I could add silver to your heart and fortify you from any heartbreak. I could give you a life worthy of legends."

She shook her head. "I would rather have him."

"You'd rather have him, and whatever life that entails?" I leaned forward, eyeing the dingy room.

Her eyes flashed. "Yes."

"He may not even come back as a human. Believe me. I've remade emperors into cockroaches and cockroaches into kings. You seem like a reasonably intelligent woman. Would you truly like to keep house for a bug?"

She lifted her chin. "I would be his mate in any form."

A curious emotion prickled my skin, nudging the back of my thoughts. My hands tightened on the shadow throne. Before I could stop myself, the question flew from me:

"Why?"

"Because I love him," said the woman. "I would prefer any life with him than any life without him. Even the deities know love to the point that they will chase their counterpart through thousands of lifetimes. Surely you, oh Dharma Raja, understand how extraordinary love can be?"

I knew very well what could come of love. I had seen it. Been cursed by it. Even now, I thought of her. The way she ran away and left a shadow in her place. Love was extraordinary.

Extraordinarily spiteful.

Extraordinarily blind.

Extraordinarily misleading.

"Bold words," I said.

"They do not move you?"

I shrugged. "You may appeal and supplicate and wheedle as you wish, but I have heard every excuse and plea and sputter, and my heart has never been moved."

The woman bowed her head. She gathered her husband to her chest. Her wedding bangles clanked together, breaking the silence. When I left, custom dictated that she must remove those wedding ornaments. Widows did not wear such bracelets. I had not considered until now that the sound itself was a thing near death. And that chime — gold against gold — struck me far louder than any keening. In the echoes, I heard something hollow. And lonely.

I dropped the noose. It slid through the man's skin, noiseless as silk. Life had left him. All that was left was his soul.

You never forget what it's like to withdraw a soul. It is an unclasping. Sometimes a soul is tough and hard, surrounded by sinews of memories gone brittle with age. Sometimes a soul is soft and bursting like wind-fallen fruit, all bruised tenderness and stale hope. And sometimes a soul is an ethereal shard of light. As if the force of its life is a scorching thing.

This soul belonged to light.

When the woman looked down, she knew that her husband was gone. The thing she cradled was nothing more than meat soon to spoil. Tears slid down her wrinkled cheeks.

"Come now," I said, standing from the throne. "I have taken husbands when their wives still wore the henna from their wedding. I consider you lucky."

"I beg of you," she said. "Don't let him move on without me. He would have asked the same."

I swung the soul into a satchel and the light faded. I headed for the door, more out of formality than anything else. If I wanted, I could've disappeared right then and there.

"Please. What would you do for someone you loved?" I stopped short. "I can't say I've had the pleasure of that provocation."

"You love no one?" she asked, her eyebrows rising in disbelief.

"I love myself. Does that count?" And then I left.

* * *

I had lied when I told the woman I loved nothing.

Standing in front of Naraka — taking in the flat gray lands and stone trees, the crests of mountains like jagged teeth, and the night sky stretching its stars above my palace — I felt the closest thing to love. Night understood me. Night held the promise of secrets slinking in the shadows, of things that conjured fear and bewitched the sight. Nothing was more beautiful than a night sky dusted with stars. Nothing was more terrible than a night sky scrawled with a thousand destinies.

Night was inevitable. Like me.

Yelping and the scratching of paws greeted me the moment I walked inside the palace. My hounds snuffled the folds of my cloak, whining loudly.

"Souls are not chew toys." I sighed.

They huffed, slinking away to the shadows. If they were upset now, they would soon forget. My hounds were my usual representatives to the worlds above and surrounding Naraka. They fetched the souls too stained to lure me aboveground. They'd taken queens from their deathbeds and maidens from the throes of childbirth, soldiers in war and priests at their altars. I was certain they'd find a murderer among the dead to rend and chew with perfect contentment.

I envied them. They could forget what had upset them. But I saw the reminder of what had unsettled me in the empty hallways and silent vestibules, in the solemn and in the eternal. Everywhere.

Envying a mortal and now a beast? Pitiful.

Gupta walked into the hall, his arms full of parchments.

"How was it?" he asked.

"Normal. Less tears than I expected. The wife could see me, though, and she asked for a boon."

"Did you grant it?" "I'm undecided on whether I should."

Gupta stepped back, brows crumpling. "You look —"

"— preternaturally handsome?"

"No."

"Record keeping is ruining your eyes."

"Impossible."

"Well, one can hope."

"If anything, record keeping has made me more observant," said Gupta.

We started walking down one of Naraka's halls. A thousand mirrors glittered around us, reflecting cities and ports and seas. I never bothered to look at them anymore. There was nothing new to see in this world or any other.

"And what do you observe?" "Emptiness."

The woman's parting words flitted to mind. What would you do for someone you loved?

"Don't let that trouble you. Probably just the reflection of your own mind."

Gupta primly rearranged his papers. "When you decide to stop being a churlish infant, and talk to me about what's bothering you, you know where to find me."

"I am not bothered."

"You are irritated for some reason," he said loftily. "But I'm sure you'll find the answer in the Tapestry." He glanced down at his parchments, checking off names and underlining cities. "Anything else to tell me?" "You have ink stains on your nose."

Gupta shrugged. "Admittedly, I can be too close to my work."

"Exactly how close? Do you roll around with the parchment afterward, murmur love songs to the paper, and profess your undying love for the written word?"

"I would never roll around in my parchment. It would get wrinkled." Gupta turned to walk away before pausing. "Oh, I forgot ..." He snapped his fingers. Ink splashed on my face. "You've got something on your nose."

And then he stuck his tongue out at me, and disappeared.

* * *

The Tapestry was a lesson in light and dark. When I stood in the throne room, I felt the threads from a hundred lives pass over my palms, snagging and spinning against one another in an unfathomable web of cause and effect and balance. It was my duty to uphold the balance, to throw dark where there was too much light and sew light where the dark grew too thick. Sometimes the Tapestry showed me a life thread out of place. Sometimes it showed me forest fires approaching a village or a cure for a disease that the world should not yet see. Today it showed me ... myself.

The threads shimmered like light upon water. My reflection changed, stretching into the halls of Naraka itself ... the stone halls and the marble courtyards. Empty, empty, empty. The reflection quivered: an ivory counterpart to the onyx throne, a shadow curled around mine in the night, a voice that balanced and weighed. A garland of flowers placed around my neck. My heart tightened. I felt that image opening inside me, as if my whole life had been something lopsided in need of righting itself. The Tapestry's demand knifed through me: I needed a queen.

Once more, the threads twisted, and the sight wrapped tendrils of ice around my heart — the palace of Naraka split in half, the moon hanging in a torn sky. Without warning, the Tapestry fell back on itself, threads looping and dancing until it was still as a pool.

I sank into my throne, staring at the Tapestry. The message was vivid and vague at the same time. It wanted me to fill the halls, not with the dead, but with ... a bride. I sat there. Numb. For years, I had considered the possibility of finding someone to share this gift and burden. But whenever I closed my eyes, I saw her. The way her eyes had squinted against the brightness of the Sun Palace. The shadow she left standing in the doorway as she fled. Wearing her smile. Wearing her eyes. Did she think I would not notice the substitute she had left behind? If I had stayed silent, I would have committed a grave injustice.

If I had stayed silent, I would never have been cursed.

The longer I sat there, the more the palace fidgeted. Annoyed. Perhaps it felt neglected in the past few days. Voices grew out of the floor, suddenly taunting and cruel.

Let us show you a jewel that is not yours.

Let us show you a door that will never open to you.

Let us show you a soul that you can never claim.

In the Tapestry, I saw a smile fashioned for me alone. A jewel that is not yours. I saw a man standing in a field, someone's arms thrown around his neck as if she had created a hidden world just for them. A door you will never open. I saw two people walking with their fingers threaded together, and I felt transfixed by the impossible wonder of a bond so powerful that it was a living thing. A soul you can never claim.

I slammed down my fist. The sound trembled throughout the room, and small fissures netted their way down my onyx throne.

"Enough," I said harshly.

I abandoned the Tapestry and the door slammed shut. My head throbbed. I knew what I had to do. Stepping into the hall, a familiar door winked in the half-light. Gupta called it my Inspiration Room, which sounded vapid, but I suspected he did this on purpose. The room was so much more. It was my thoughts poured into shape. The moment I stepped inside, a burden lifted from me. Here, I was not the Dharma Raja. Here, I was no destroyer.

Here, I was a creator.

The onyx floor expanded, and the shelves — littered with my old thoughts — bent forward as if in polite acknowledgement. Around me, I saw decisions that had weighed heavily in the past: all conquered, all organized.

In the corner of the room, a pair of heavy wings caught the light. Each feather was a braided bolt of lightning. On another shelf, a ship with an ever-changing prow crafted from an eclipse's halo glowed. There were jars of materials floating in the air: the velvet-silent tread of panther paws on the forest floor, buttons of lies and garlands of nightmare teeth.

Even looking at them gave me peace. My creations served as reminders that my thoughts could be conquered and tamed. It was a reminder that even with all that I destroyed, I could create too. Even if no one was there to witness it.

I took a deep breath and tasted the crackling of magic on my tongue. I flexed my fingers, closed my eyes, and concentrated on the darkness.

Darkness has a sound if you know how to listen. Around me, darkness sounded like the roaring space between thoughts and the chaos of possibility. Nothing was born of light.

Everything was born of shadows. I caught a ribbon of lustrous shadow notes and snatched it from the air. I twisted the dark in my hands, and thought of the Tapestry and the Shadow Wife's curse. When I opened my eyes, I faced what my thoughts and energy had created:

A lustrous horse with milk-pearl eyes. It drew its lips back over its teeth and in the unshaped dark of its mouth, a city glinted — steel spires and iron trees, paved walkways of jasper and agate, squares of amber windows glittering in the makeshift night. A hidden world. The horse snorted, nipping at the charcoal shoulder of my sherwani jacket. The longer I stared, the more I saw it for what it could be. What made a thing a horse? The content or the shape? Was it somehow ... both? And maybe that wasn't so impossible. Maybe I could have a marriage and not a marriage. I could have a bond that looked like marriage, but have none of the inner workings that made its essential marriage-ness. My queen could have everything she wanted. Except my heart. I didn't need the Tapestry before me to imagine what that future would look like: perfect equality, and perfect balance, with none of the intimacy. None of the risk. I would escape the Shadow Wife's curse, and still keep Naraka whole.

I smiled to myself before realizing that a critical part was missing from my plan: I needed a queen.

* * *

Gupta was hanging upside down in his favorite hallway, a bone-white corridor lined ceiling to floor with crackling tomes, glowing branches, and sweet-smelling parchments. He swung back and forth a little when he saw me.

"Don't look at me like that," he said, glaring. "Sometimes I need a new perspective when I'm writing."

"I was not going to comment. I recognize a hopeless case when I see one."

Gupta frowned at me upside down. "What do you want?"

"A bride."

"And I want dinner."

"I'm serious." He fell to the floor. I kicked at his foot. "Shocked?"

"Floored," said Gupta, and then he cackled at his own joke.

"This is no time for humor. I need a queen. Now."

"What brought this on?" asked Gupta, still not bothering to collect himself from the floor. "I believe I send you a list of prospective brides at least once a year. If memory serves, you burned each of those lists ..."

"Not true. With the last couple of lists, I tossed them into the air ..."

"You mean that tornado of paper that chased me down the hall?"

"See? I don't set fire to everything," I said. "Now to answer your question, it's become a necessity because I've seen it in the Tapestry."

Gupta paled. In a blink, he was upright, floating with his legs crossed and scribbling on parchment.

"But what about the ..." He trailed off, and I knew what word had made him stumble.

"I found a way around the Shadow Wife's curse."

"How?"

"Simple," I said. "I won't fall in love."

Gupta raised an eyebrow, but said nothing.

"Now I need to find out what —"

"Not what," said Gupta. His gaze was unfocused, fixed somewhere on the cut of night sky through one of Naraka's windows. "Where. And when."

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Star-Touched Stories"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Roshani Chokshi.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
Dedication,
Acknowledgments,
Death and Night,
1. Death,
2. Night,
3. Death,
4. Night,
5. Death,
6. Night,
7. Night,
8. Death,
9. Night,
10. Death,
11. Night,
12. Death,
Poison and Gold,
Rose and Sword,
Present,
The Extravagance of Normal,
Present,
The Bargain for Breath,
Present,
The First Gate,
Present,
Second Blush,
Present,
The Gate of Grief,
Inhale,
Tomorrow,
End,
Epilogue,
Excerpt: The Gilded Wolves,
Also by Roshani Chokshi,
About the Author,
Copyright,

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Star-Touched Stories 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi Publisher: Wednesday Books Publication Date: August 7, 2018 Rating: 4 stars Source: eARC from NetGalley Summary (from Goodreads): 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? What I Liked: I'll be the first to admit that I don't typically like short stories or novellas, and so I avoid them most of the time. I hate feeling like a story was cut short or could have been longer. Usually that's the feeling that most short stories and novellas leave. However, I will say that the three star-touched stories in this book are 100% worth the print bind-up that the publisher is publishing. Roshani Chokshi's storytelling and masterful prose are on full display in these stories. If you've read any of her books, you know how creative and colorful her writing is. She likes comparisons and imagery and a good amount of detail, and she ties everything together so neatly and with a flourish. I really enjoy her prose, and I know some won't, but majority will. And per her usual, her storytelling was wonderful. I did NOT feel like any of the stories were too short or ended with a sense of lacking. Perhaps it was because she had the room/page space to write freely? Regardless, each story felt full and complete. This is what short stories and novellas should feel like. No reader should feel like what they read wasn't enough, from that story. There are three stories in this novella bind-up, and while I won't talk about each of them (that would take too long and this review would be entirely too boring), I will state that each story is unique and engaging in its own way. Each story has a lovely tale, a sweeping romance, and a wonderful, complete ending. I love the Indian rep! These stories are written with so many dashes and dips of Indian culture. From the food to the lore, Chokshi has woven Indian culture into her stories seamlessly. These stories are great #ownvoices rep and just plain great. Can I talk about the amount of food references? Each story had multiple mention of some sort of Indian food and well, yum. I'm Indian and am familiar with most of the dishes and it was gratifying to see Indian food in the stories. I couldn't help but feel a little hungry! Definitely pick up this book if you want to experience more from Roshani Chokshi. The stories are so wonderful and engrossing. You won't regret it! What I Did Not Like: I have no complaints! This book is gorgeous, inside and out. Read the rest of my review on my blog, The Eater of Books! - eaterofbooks DOT blogspot DOT com :)
Beths-Books More than 1 year ago
Other than the fact that I can never remember the name of this author, I loved this book. It's a collection of three stories, all set in the world the author has built. They all tie together and create a wonderful mystery about them. Are they a tale or truth? My favorite was the first story Death and Night. I might read that one again, just because it was so good. Read it... And read the first two... And then read them again... Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are going to write a novella in between books, THIS is how it is done! I will normally avoid short stories, origins and any other form of novella like the plague. Nine times out of ten I find them to be fluffy little tales of what my favorite characters are doing in between books and I hate it. Rather than bringing me closer to the characters I have grown to love, they tend to pull me away with pointless tidbits that I really don't need to know. Star-Touched Stories not only surprised me by blowing my expectations out of the water but by also giving me beautifully written insights that only made me love these characters more. To say I was impressed is an understatement. I definitely recommend reading Chokshi's other works before diving into this amazing short story collection, not only because the books are incredible but because you there's so much magic you will be missing out on. Roshani Chokshi is quickly becoming one of my favorite fantasy writers and I am anxiously waiting to see what magical tale she comes up with next! I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read and review this book.
JenLBW More than 1 year ago
Star-Touched Stories is a compilation of three different stories that all take place in the world of The Star Touched Queen. I always love getting a glimpse of what characters are doing after the book ends. Of course the stories are all beautifully written, which I would expect nothing less from Roshani Chokshi Death and Night Ahh this is the story of how the Dharma Raja and Night met the first time. This is probably my favorite of the three stories. It is so sweet how they come together and of course the chemistry is as perfect as it was in The Star Touched Queen. I love going back to the Night Bazaar and experiencing it again through their eyes. We also get some insight to Dharma Raja as well. Plus Uloopi and Nritti round things out. Poison and Gold This is actually probably my least favorite of the three stories. I loved Aasha and Zahril but for some reason I didn’t connect as well with the plot. I still liked it and it was so enjoyable to see Aasha find her place. I thought the Spy Mistress part was really interesting, plus Gauri and Vikram are always delightful to read. Rose and Sword This one is super sweet and I loved how the story is being told to Hira to help her understand the sacrifice that loving someone can be. How it is worth it to go to the end of the world for someone. Especially because it’s hard headed Gauri that the story is about. Thinking about this one makes me feel like I can’t decide if it’s a tie for my favorite. Ha ha. If you were a fan of the world The Star Touched Queen World then you definitely need to pick up these stories. It made me happy to read them and I loved revisiting the world. They are such a great addition to the collection.
pooled_ink More than 1 year ago
pooled ink Reviews: Roshani Chokshi dazzles once again with her elegant prose and tale-spinning prowess. In this exciting collection of novellas set within the elegant world crafted in The Star-Touched Queen series we receive more thrill, more danger, more romance, and more fantasy-filled delight. Written with a voice that will easily ensnare the senses, each tale is but a taste of this stunning world that will have you yearning for more. Short though a novella may be, these stories will satisfy any fantasy-lover's needs.
taramichelle More than 1 year ago
Star-Touched Stories is a beautifully written addition to the Star-Touched Queen series. Prepare to laugh and cry (I definitely needed tissues). This book sees the return of some old favorites and the introduction of some new characters. Roshani Chokshi is truly a magician with words and her full skill is evident in these pages. Prepare to be transported back into this wonderfully magical world. While you technically don’t need to read the first two books in the series to understand this one, there are spoilers for the first two in the second two stories. Since this is a short story collection, I wanted to include a few thoughts on each story. Death and Night: This one was just so much fun to read. It tracks the courtship of the Lord of Death and Night as they navigate misunderstandings, getting to know each other, and curses. I loved how the front they each presented to the world was slowly unraveled and how they only fell in love once they truly knew each other. Chokshi captures the essence of a new relationship and, although this one has magic galore, it feels entirely relatable. Poison and Gold: This is one that I would love to see expanded into a full-length novel. Focusing on Aasha, one of the more minor characters from A Crown of Wishes, Poison and Gold delves into the world of spies and secrets. Although the focus was more on figuring out who you are, the romance was absolutely adorable and surprisingly heart-warming for something that involved so much poison and death. Rose and Sword: Rose and Sword was the one story that made me cry. This one was so beautifully tragic, sweet, and romantic. It details what happened to Gauri and Vikram after A Crown of Wishes and perfectly captures what it means to truly choose to love someone day after day. This one was probably my favorite in this book (but all three were fantastic). Just make sure you have a tissue or two handy. For me, the mark of a good book is how strongly I want to reread it one day. With Star-Touched Stories, I was tempted to begin reading again as soon as I turned the last page. Lyrical, magical, and utterly captivating, Star-Touched Stories is a stellar installment in one of my favorite series. *Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
taramichelle More than 1 year ago
Star-Touched Stories is a beautifully written addition to the Star-Touched Queen series. Prepare to laugh and cry (I definitely needed tissues). This book sees the return of some old favorites and the introduction of some new characters. Roshani Chokshi is truly a magician with words and her full skill is evident in these pages. Prepare to be transported back into this wonderfully magical world. While you technically don’t need to read the first two books in the series to understand this one, there are spoilers for the first two in the second two stories. Since this is a short story collection, I wanted to include a few thoughts on each story. Death and Night: This one was just so much fun to read. It tracks the courtship of the Lord of Death and Night as they navigate misunderstandings, getting to know each other, and curses. I loved how the front they each presented to the world was slowly unraveled and how they only fell in love once they truly knew each other. Chokshi captures the essence of a new relationship and, although this one has magic galore, it feels entirely relatable. Poison and Gold: This is one that I would love to see expanded into a full-length novel. Focusing on Aasha, one of the more minor characters from A Crown of Wishes, Poison and Gold delves into the world of spies and secrets. Although the focus was more on figuring out who you are, the romance was absolutely adorable and surprisingly heart-warming for something that involved so much poison and death. Rose and Sword: Rose and Sword was the one story that made me cry. This one was so beautifully tragic, sweet, and romantic. It details what happened to Gauri and Vikram after A Crown of Wishes and perfectly captures what it means to truly choose to love someone day after day. This one was probably my favorite in this book (but all three were fantastic). Just make sure you have a tissue or two handy. For me, the mark of a good book is how strongly I want to reread it one day. With Star-Touched Stories, I was tempted to begin reading again as soon as I turned the last page. Lyrical, magical, and utterly captivating, Star-Touched Stories is a stellar installment in one of my favorite series. *Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Aditi-ATWAMB More than 1 year ago
I am A HUGE FAN of Roshani Chokshi’s absolutely breath-taking writing style, and I have been since I read The Star Touched Queen, more than two years ago. I don’t usually describe writing like this, but if you’ve ready any of Roshani’s books, you’ll know what I’m talking about. In fact, it was so good, that this short story collection didn’t even feel like one. I was immersed, spell bound and Star Touched Stories is one of my FAVOURITE reads of the year and also, probably the BEST short story collections I’ve ever read. I’ll review the three short stories separately: Death and Night: This was probably the story I was MOST excited for. I loved the PLOT behind book one, The Star Touched Queen, but somewhere in the middle, the story lost structure. Death and Night is the story of how Maya and Amar met for the first time, before the Shadow Wife’s curse and I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. Where The Star Touched Queen was tortured and lacking structure, Death and Night was witty and filled with such beautiful lines and AAAH I LOVED IT! Poison and Gold: Truth be told, that while A Crown of Wishes is one of my FAVOURITE books and Vikram and Gauri are one of my favourite desi couples, I didn’t care much for Aasha, who debuted in Vikram and Gauri’s books. Poison and Gold is about Aasha’s story after A Crown of Wishes, and while it was nice, and I LOVED THE LGBT REPRESENTATION, I just wasn’t as into this story as I was with the other two. Rose and Sword: I honestly didn’t know what this story was about, before I started. And when I found out, MY TINY HEART FREAKED OUT BECAUSE OH. MY. GOD. honestly didn’t expect to see this plot twist that was hinted at in The Star Touched Queen, about a character I fell in love with in A Crown of Wishes, but this story, YOU GUYS, THIS STORY WAS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS I’VE EVER READ AND IT WAS JUST SO GLORIOUSLY BEAUTIFUL AND IT ALMOST BROKE MY HEART. With the small short story, (and I don’t even LIKE most short stories) Roshani Chokshi’s characters have permanently cemented themselves in my heart and I AM JUST SO HAPPY AT THIS MOMENT. Would I recommend this book? YES, but only after you’ve already read The Star Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes. ESPECIALLY A Crown of Wishes. It’s absolutely beautiful.
Arys More than 1 year ago
Star Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi is a collection of three stories. Each brings its own uniqueness and is woven in Roshani's complex and detail writing. Death and Night is one that stood out to me. Roshani gives us a tapestry of a tale filled with culture, myth and imagery. One of the courtship of Night by Death (aka Dharma Raja). Inspired by the heartfelt request of a widow Death feels something missing and searches for someone to be his Queen. His courtship is muddled by a curse laid on him by his false mother that he will lose anyone he loves. Unfortunately for him the object of his courtship will only marry for love. Death and Night is a tale that I enjoyed for the dynamic of innocence, even between immortal beings, and a rich background of myths and legends. It is a sweet endearing tale of the beginning of a timeless love. Poison and Gold and Rose and Sword also continue to bring characters you already love from the Star Touched Queen series. They give perspectives of event that maybe were seen from a different character. Adding them to the whole of the series gives you an even deeper appreciation and understanding for the stories and world that is already so detailed and complex. Everything adds artfully to the whole experience off the series and in Roshani's stories every detail counts and is appreciated. Overall, if you are a fan of the other Star Touched books or of any of Roshani Chokshi's work this is definitely one to pick up it gives you just that little bit more that you've been wanting. (I voluntarily reviewed an advance review copy of this book I received for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my open and honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.)
Sunshine1006 More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I have read by Roshani Chokski. It was magical. There are three stories where.each one leads you into a land of love and poetry. I loved all the images that the author described. They were beautiful. Even a lonely King needs a Queen no matter if there is a curse. Love is like that. I loved this book and will look up more of her work. I received this book from Net Galley for a honest review and no other compensation otherwise.
book_junkee More than 1 year ago
I’m going to read everything Roshani writes, but I’m 10000% on board for anything set in the Star Touched Queen world. These three stories are fantastic. I loved seeing the glimpses or characters and I thought the ending of Rose and Sword would kill me. It was absolute perfection and my cold, black heart warmed a bit, but it was also a bit heartbreaking. Overall, this was an atmospheric and lovely slice of time in a series I absolutely love. I need to reread those books again ASAP. **Huge thanks to St. Martins Press for providing the arc free of charge**
courtofbingereading More than 1 year ago
**Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review** I didn't think it was possible for Roshani Chokshi to blow my mind and exceed my extremely high expectations yet again, but naturally, she did. Wow. Star-Touched Stories is everything I wanted and needed in my life right now. There are 3 short stories in this book: Death and Night, Poison and Gold, and Rose and Sword. Each story is woven with Chokshi's signature lyrical prose. Chokshi is an artist; her words paint vivid sceneries and the most intricate yet heartwarming storylines. I'm in awe of her as usual. Death and Night: *5 stars* "I wanted a love that time could never erode, a foundation that would grow spires and turrets large enough to swallow constellations. And yet I wanted a love like a home. a corner of the universe built for two and snug as skin." If you're a fan of The Star-Touched Queen then you will devour this story. This is the story about how Death and Night (Amar/the Dharma Raja and Maya originally met). It's a sweet story that discusses how scary it is to let yourself fall in love, but when you meet the right person you simply can't control it. You love who you love. Gosh, this story is so romantic. I was swooning the whole entire time. Chokshi perfectly conveyed how it feels when you first start to like someone, and then when you start to fall for them. Death and Night is a beautiful. touching, mesmerizing love story. I couldn't have asked for more. Poison and Gold: *4.5 stars* This story is about Aasha. We first met Aasha in a Crown of Wishes. Now, in Poison and Gold we see how she has settled in to her new life in Bharata and Ujijain with Gauri and Vikram. Turns out, Aasha is struggling with controlling her vishakanya side with her human side. Anytime she is surprised or scared her vishakanya star lights up which turns her touch into poison. This story is about Aasha's journey in accepting herself and in turn being her true self. It's a heartfelt story that anyone can relate to. We all feel as if we don't belong sometimes, but at the end of the day we have to love ourselves and stay true to who we truly are. Rose and Sword: *All of the stars* This story wrecked me. I smiled, laughed, and cried. This is now my favorite story Chokshi has ever written. It is THAT beautiful. Everyone needs to read this story even if you haven't read A Crown of Wishes. This story is told from the perspective of Hila, Gauri and Vikram's granddaughter, and Gauri in her old age. Gauri tells her granddaughter a story about her and Vikram before they were married. The night before they were to be wed Vikram died. It was up to Gauri to bring him back as his life was at a crossroads: he could die now or he could die at an old age. The moral of this story is how much power the person you love has over you. Gauri is terrified of losing Vikram or for them to grow apart once they are married. She has to face the impossible choice of losing him now or losing him later when it would most definitely destroy her. Either way she knows she will lose him at some point as he is meant to die before her. Nothing I say or write will give this story the justice it deserves. It's a heart wrenchingly beautiful story of what we all feel and fear when we are in love. It's as heartbreaking as it is honest. Please, please please. read this story. I'm preordering this book right now because I have to own it in a physical copy. It's tha
courtofbingereading More than 1 year ago
**Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review** I didn't think it was possible for Roshani Chokshi to blow my mind and exceed my extremely high expectations yet again, but naturally, she did. Wow. Star-Touched Stories is everything I wanted and needed in my life right now. There are 3 short stories in this book: Death and Night, Poison and Gold, and Rose and Sword. Each story is woven with Chokshi's signature lyrical prose. Chokshi is an artist; her words paint vivid sceneries and the most intricate yet heartwarming storylines. I'm in awe of her as usual. Death and Night: *5 stars* "I wanted a love that time could never erode, a foundation that would grow spires and turrets large enough to swallow constellations. And yet I wanted a love like a home. a corner of the universe built for two and snug as skin." If you're a fan of The Star-Touched Queen then you will devour this story. This is the story about how Death and Night (Amar/the Dharma Raja and Maya originally met). It's a sweet story that discusses how scary it is to let yourself fall in love, but when you meet the right person you simply can't control it. You love who you love. Gosh, this story is so romantic. I was swooning the whole entire time. Chokshi perfectly conveyed how it feels when you first start to like someone, and then when you start to fall for them. Death and Night is a beautiful. touching, mesmerizing love story. I couldn't have asked for more. Poison and Gold: *4.5 stars* This story is about Aasha. We first met Aasha in a Crown of Wishes. Now, in Poison and Gold we see how she has settled in to her new life in Bharata and Ujijain with Gauri and Vikram. Turns out, Aasha is struggling with controlling her vishakanya side with her human side. Anytime she is surprised or scared her vishakanya star lights up which turns her touch into poison. This story is about Aasha's journey in accepting herself and in turn being her true self. It's a heartfelt story that anyone can relate to. We all feel as if we don't belong sometimes, but at the end of the day we have to love ourselves and stay true to who we truly are. Rose and Sword: *All of the stars* This story wrecked me. I smiled, laughed, and cried. This is now my favorite story Chokshi has ever written. It is THAT beautiful. Everyone needs to read this story even if you haven't read A Crown of Wishes. This story is told from the perspective of Hila, Gauri and Vikram's granddaughter, and Gauri in her old age. Gauri tells her granddaughter a story about her and Vikram before they were married. The night before they were to be wed Vikram died. It was up to Gauri to bring him back as his life was at a crossroads: he could die now or he could die at an old age. The moral of this story is how much power the person you love has over you. Gauri is terrified of losing Vikram or for them to grow apart once they are married. She has to face the impossible choice of losing him now or losing him later when it would most definitely destroy her. Either way she knows she will lose him at some point as he is meant to die before her. Nothing I say or write will give this story the justice it deserves. It's a heart wrenchingly beautiful story of what we all feel and fear when we are in love. It's as heartbreaking as it is honest. Please, please please. read this story. I'm preordering this book right now because I have to own it in a physical copy. It's tha
courtofbingereading More than 1 year ago
**Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review** I didn't think it was possible for Roshani Chokshi to blow my mind and exceed my extremely high expectations yet again, but naturally, she did. Wow. Star-Touched Stories is everything I wanted and needed in my life right now. There are 3 short stories in this book: Death and Night, Poison and Gold, and Rose and Sword. Each story is woven with Chokshi's signature lyrical prose. Chokshi is an artist; her words paint vivid sceneries and the most intricate yet heartwarming storylines. I'm in awe of her as usual. Death and Night: *5 stars* "I wanted a love that time could never erode, a foundation that would grow spires and turrets large enough to swallow constellations. And yet I wanted a love like a home. a corner of the universe built for two and snug as skin." If you're a fan of The Star-Touched Queen then you will devour this story. This is the story about how Death and Night (Amar/the Dharma Raja and Maya originally met). It's a sweet story that discusses how scary it is to let yourself fall in love, but when you meet the right person you simply can't control it. You love who you love. Gosh, this story is so romantic. I was swooning the whole entire time. Chokshi perfectly conveyed how it feels when you first start to like someone, and then when you start to fall for them. Death and Night is a beautiful. touching, mesmerizing love story. I couldn't have asked for more. Poison and Gold: *4.5 stars* This story is about Aasha. We first met Aasha in a Crown of Wishes. Now, in Poison and Gold we see how she has settled in to her new life in Bharata and Ujijain with Gauri and Vikram. Turns out, Aasha is struggling with controlling her vishakanya side with her human side. Anytime she is surprised or scared her vishakanya star lights up which turns her touch into poison. This story is about Aasha's journey in accepting herself and in turn being her true self. It's a heartfelt story that anyone can relate to. We all feel as if we don't belong sometimes, but at the end of the day we have to love ourselves and stay true to who we truly are. Rose and Sword: *All of the stars* This story wrecked me. I smiled, laughed, and cried. This is now my favorite story Chokshi has ever written. It is THAT beautiful. Everyone needs to read this story even if you haven't read A Crown of Wishes. This story is told from the perspective of Hila, Gauri and Vikram's granddaughter, and Gauri in her old age. Gauri tells her granddaughter a story about her and Vikram before they were married. The night before they were to be wed Vikram died. It was up to Gauri to bring him back as his life was at a crossroads: he could die now or he could die at an old age. The moral of this story is how much power the person you love has over you. Gauri is terrified of losing Vikram or for them to grow apart once they are married. She has to face the impossible choice of losing him now or losing him later when it would most definitely destroy her. Either way she knows she will lose him at some point as he is meant to die before her. Nothing I say or write will give this story the justice it deserves. It's a heart wrenchingly beautiful story of what we all feel and fear when we are in love. It's as heartbreaking as it is honest. Please, please please. read this story. I'm preordering this book right now because I have to own it in a physical copy. It's tha