‘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?’
I loved The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes and was thrilled to see more stories being written in this universe. Death and Night is set before the events of the first novel, while Poison and Gold follows A Crown of Wishes, with Rose and Sword imagined some years later.
I can’t decide which I enjoy more: the prose describing the world(s) in which the stories are set or the characters that inhabit them. I adore Gauri and that she does not yield and is not broken down into behaving as others might wish her to. All too often, we see confident and capable female characters eventually ‘get in touch with their feelings’ and start spouting poetic declarations of love. With Gauri, it isn’t that she doesn’t have these feelings, but that she finds ways of expressing herself without conforming to cliches and having her agency taken away from her by her romantic interest. Vikram is just as wonderful and a strong male lead without being a ‘moody and mysterious’ puzzle to unpick. He’s delightfully open and unashamedly himself, both entertaining and endearing without being over the top or the comic relief. I have to say that Gauri may well be my all-time favourite character, both for the reasons above and the fact that she gets to be both feminine and a warrior without having to trade one for the other, her intelligence not sacrificed for the sake of her feelings (and vice versa). She is brilliant and brave and I cannot applaud her multi-faceted nature enough.
Poison and Gold follows Aasha as she tries to cope with the fluctuation of her abilities and seek out a place to belong within Gauri and Vikram’s court. The LGBT romance is handled sensitively and in so matter of fact a way that it’s nice to see more same sex relationships in YA novels that have societies and characters accepting them without judgement. I wish this story could have been a little longer – but then I wish that all of them could go on forever!
Without giving away any major spoilers, all I feel I can say is this: whether or not there are to be any more stories in the Star-Touched world, Rose and Sword felt like the perfect goodbye.
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pub date: 7th August 2018
I received an ARC of Star-Touched Stories from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.