Review: Dance of Stars and Ashes by Nisha J. Tuli





In the jeweled city of Dharati, Zarya found passion and adventure for the first time. A mysterious stranger named Rabin helped to free the power within her—a dark, ancient magic that should not exist.

Now, Zarya learns Rabin’s true identity. A warrior prince, born to rule, he is as deadly as he is beautiful. He’s also insufferable. Arrogant and superior, with dangerous secrets of his own.

Zarya wants nothing to do with him. Terrifying demons are gathering beyond the walls and Zarya’s friends are rushing to complete a ceremony that will protect the city. Her mind is fixed on saving her home and finding the origin of her magic.

But every discovery and every dream pulls her back to Rabin. Does an enchantment bind them, or is it pure desire? Will opening her heart give Zarya the power to turn back the demons, or will it let the darkness to devour her?


Reviewed by Nethra Deckland

Reviewer note: I read this because Dee had read and reviewed the first book of this quartet so I read it and decided to continue the series for her. Therefore I am going to forgo my usual casual review style and adapt a more professional tone akin to Dee’s review style. This one is for you babe! May you ever soar high!

This review contains minor spoilers. 

Dance of Stars and Ashes, the second installment of The Nightfire quartet, revealed a marked improvement over its predecessor, Heart of Night and Fire. The character development was striking, with significant growth evident across all major characters. This added layers of depth and complexity to the narrative, making it all the more engaging. The execution of action scenes was particularly impressive, with each moment skillfully crafted. The intricate blend of political drama, intrigue, and suspense was masterfully handled, weaving a captivating tapestry that kept me enthralled from start to finish. Moreover, the richly crafted lore added depth and dimension to the world building, enhancing the overall immersive experience. Additionally, the romance and spicy scenes were undeniably swoon worthy, adding a delightful touch of passion to the story.

Zarya’s evolution as a character in this installment was truly remarkable. In the first book, I found myself somewhat disenchanted with her portrayal, as she seemed to be shallow, naive and stubborn to a fault. However, in Dance of Stars and Ashes, Zarya underwent a profound transformation, emerging as a more nuanced and empathetic character. Gone was the one dimensional persona I had encountered previously; instead, I witnessed a Zarya who was capable of empathy and rational decision making. Her growth throughout the narrative was palpable, and I found myself drawn to her newfound depth and complexity. This evolution in Zarya’s character added layers of richness to the story, allowing me to connect with her on a deeper level and rooting for her development as the plot unfolded. It’s a testament to the author’s skill in crafting dynamic and relatable characters, and Zarya’s journey in this installment was a highlight of the book for me.

Rabin’s character arc in Dance of Stars and Ashes was undeniably a highlight of the narrative, filled with layers of mystery and intrigue. I was somewhat worried his character too would be at risk of being portrayed as one dimensional like Vikram and Yassen in the first book who lacked substantial depth. However, Nisha’s adept handling of Rabin’s character arc in this installment alleviated those concerns. Through careful crafting, Rabin emerged as a character of substance, with his own motivations, fears, and complexities that added depth to the story. That being said, I feel that a dual perspective narrative could have enriched the storytelling experience further. By delving into Rabin’s perspective, readers would have gained deeper insights into his journey, motivations, and inner conflicts. This approach would have provided a more comprehensive understanding of his character and contributed to a more well rounded narrative.

The evolution of relationships within Dance of Stars and Ashes provided a rich tapestry of emotional depth and growth. The growing friendship between Yassen and Zarya was a particularly heartwarming aspect of the narrative, offering moments of camaraderie and mutual support amidst the unfolding events. Their bond served as a source of strength and solace, highlighting the power of connection in times of adversity. Similarly, the transformation of Amrita following the seeding ceremony added a layer of complexity to the story, showcasing the profound impact it had on her. Furthermore, the portrayal of the relationship between Row and Zarya was a poignant exploration of familial dynamics, characterized by authenticity and depth. The absence of instant forgiveness underscored the realistic nature of their interactions, as both characters grappled with past grievances and insecurities. Through moments of vulnerability and reflection, they embarked on a journey of self-discovery and reconciliation, forging a bond based on mutual understanding and appreciation.

The romance between Zarya and Rabin was beautiful to witness. The banter and bickering was heartwarming. What set their romance apart was Zarya’s introspective questioning of her feelings and the potential repercussions of pursuing a relationship with Rabin. This added a layer of depth and realism to their connection, as Zarya grappled with her emotions and the complexities of navigating a romance amidst the challenges they faced. Their slow burning romance was beautifully written. And I am not even going to delve into the spicy scenes because ‘Oh Mama!!!!Phewwwww!!!!”

Very excited to read the next installments of this series. Highly recommended!


Book Cover:

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