Death and Night by Roshani Chokshi
Book 0.5 of The Star-Touched Queen series
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: May 2, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley
Summary (from Goodreads):
Before The Star-Touched Queen there was only 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.
What I Liked:
Usually I don't bother with novellas, because they're always too short and not really worth the money. ($2.99 for 60 pages? I'm good.) However, when I was invited to read/review this novella, I didn't think twice. I liked The Star-Touched Queen and loved A Crown of Wishes. Friends, this novella was absolutely wonderful, definitely something you don't want to miss if you enjoyed Chokshi's full-length novels.
Death and Night is the story of the Dharma Raja, the god of death, and Night, an immortal being who sells dream fruits and weaves night. The Dharma Raja has been cursed never to love, but he is tasked with finding himself a wife - a queen. He dare not fall for her though. He seeks out Night, who rejects him without a second thought. But Night captivates Death, Death captivates Night, and this is their story.
As usual, Chokshi's writing was lovely and mesmerizing. I don't know how she does it! I was captivated from the start. Sometimes I would go back and reread a scene just to experience it again, not because I needed clarity. I also love her storytelling! And how there are always tales within the story, and how those tales circle back into the main plot.
I love the South Asian representation! Being Indian, I always get excited to see South Asian protagonists in books written by South Asian authors. You can really see and feel the Indian influence in this book, from the vocabulary to the lore to the mode of dress.
I'm going to be honest - while I enjoyed The Star-Touched Queen, I didn't LOVE it, especially parts of the romance. I wasn't totally smitten by Amar and Maya's romance. So I was slightly worried that I wouldn't enjoy the romance in this book, because Amar and Maya are reincarnations of Death and Night. In other words, this is the original story, the original incarnations. But I shouldn't have been worried! I loved this love story, as short as it was, more than I loved Amar and Maya's.
This is probably because I loved the equal balance between Death and Night. Death is persistent and keeps visiting Night (with her permission), and they get to know each other well. Death is kind and sweet and thoughtful with Night, so different compared to what everyone thinks of him. Night is bold and fierce and lively, and she is careful with her heart. I liked that both characters go after each other, not just one doing the heavy lifting in the relationship. Death woos Night, but Night chases Death. It's a perfect tug-of-war, in my opinion!
I loved their banter and their chemistry, subtle as it was. I liked watching them fall for each other. Two months passes in this story, even though it does not seem like the story would be long enough for two months to pass. You can tell how much their relationship progresses though, with every scene featuring Death and Night together.
There are several strong friendships in this book. Death has one friend, Gupta, who is funny and supportive. I love male friendships! Night has a sweet and lovely friend, Nritti, who gets her own happy ending.
Speaking of happy endings, oh my heart! The ending of this novella is lovely, and exactly what I wanted it to be. I love that Death ran to Night, but Night also had to make a choice, and she chose Death. Perfect! They fought equally to be together, which I loved. LOVED.
What I Did Not Like:
I can't think of anything specifically! Maybe more kissing? More kissing is always good!
Would I Recommend It:
Even if you're not a novella person (like me), I recommend this novella. It's over one hundred pages and includes a preview of A Crown of Wishes, which puts this file at about 150 pages. This novella does NOT necessarily give insight to The Star-Touched Queen, and it's not required to read in order to read the other books of the series. But it is a lovely addition to the series nonetheless.
4.5 stars -> rounded down to 4 stars. This is definitely among my favorite novellas of all time! I felt incredibly satisfied after finishing, which is something I can't say after reading other novellas in the past. It was lovely to revisit this world and fall for Death and Night! I liked them more than Amar and Maya - and maybe as much as I liked Vikram and Gauri!
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