A collection of three companion romance narratives featuring the spunky heroines of The Star-Touched Queen (2016) and A Crown of Wishes (2017).
In “Death and Night,” Dharma Raja, the god of death, is cursed by the Shadow Wife to lose the woman he loves. He is confident that he will never fall in love—until he meets Night incarnate. “Poison and Gold” traces the adventures of Aasha, a “vishakanya,” who wants to not just live, but also belong in the human world yet is unable to control her powers. She strives to regain her identity—and consequently, her confidence—under the tutelage of Bharata’s deadly Spy Mistress. Refreshingly, this story depicts same-sex desires. In “Rose and Sword,” young Hira listens to her paternal grandmother, Gauri, narrate the tale of a bride who sets out to rescue her fiance from the threshold of death on the eve of her wedding. Deftly woven with fantastical elements and Indian mythology, the tales reflect and materialize the characters’ internal struggles. Although Night’s narrative is at times clichéd and overrun with tedious descriptions, Aasha’s and Gauri’s stories explore complex themes of identity, ambition, love, and loss.
Chokshi (Aru Shah and the End of Time, 2018, etc.) marries sensuous storytelling with kick-ass protagonists in these feminist romances. (Romance. 12-18)