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

Book: Dance of Stars and Ashes

Author: Nisha J. Tuli

Pub Day: Feb 16th 2024

Buy Link(s):  Amazon 

About the book:

A love that burns brighter than starlight. A gift that could leave her world in ashes. It’s time for Zarya to release the fire within.

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 devour her?

Dance of Stars and Ashes is the second book in an addictive series that builds from a slow burn to irresistible steamy romance. Packed with tension, action, and heart-stopping twists, it will keep fans of Sarah J. Maas, Jennifer L. Armentrout, and Rebecca Yarros reading late into the night.

Nisha J. Tuli started off her Nightfire Quartet in fantastic fashion with Heart of Night and Fire (see my review here). I had high hopes for Dance of Stars and Ashes, the second in the quartet, and it delivers!

This book picks up where Heart of Night and Fire left off. Dharati is under magical attack, and everyone is rushing to complete the ceremony that will allow Amrita to protect the city as queen. But will it be enough? Can Zarya accept her forbidden magic and learn to control it? And where will things go between her and Rabin?

Tuli’s world-building is again superior. I love the use of Indian/South Asian mythology and culture as the basis for her setting. It’s easy to imagine the sights and sounds because she writes them so strikingly.

The magic system in this world is, well, spellbinding. The ritual that gives Amrita the ability to guard the city is fascinating to me, and a little bit heartbreaking. Zarya thinks it’s heartbreaking, too, because she’s determined to take Amrita out for a night on the town before her life is changed irrevocably. And that’s where the action begins, as the city is attacked while they’ve whisked Amrita away without permission. (Small spoiler: nobody dies – yet.)

Descriptions of each of the different characters’ magical abilities is intriguing, and we get a good helping of magic here. We see Zarya learn more about her magic, and start to learn whether “the darkness” that’s part of it is truly something to fear. The action is pretty fast-paced, with assaults on the city growing closer together and more severe. This ramps up the tension as they race against time to get Amrita installed as queen.

There’s tension of another kind, too, between Zarya and Rabin. They dang near set the pages on fire with the heat they generate. (If you aren’t a fan of on-page spice, either this will not be the book for you, or you’ll become a fan after reading this!) There’s still a fair bit of “enemies” between them when the book opens, and there may be some of that feeling left when the book ends. I’m not going to tell you. Go read for yourself and find out. But they’ve got chemistry by the truckloads between them, and it’s a lot of fun.

There are battles. A villain is revealed. Some beloved characters come close to death, and some may not survive the book. (You might want to have some tissues handy.) And of course the book ends on a colossal cliffhanger that has me beside myself waiting for the next installment!

With Dance of Stars and Ashes, Nisha J. Tuli has earned a place on my must-buy authors list. If you love a beautifully written fantasy with a smokin’ hot side of romance, you need to read this book!

Thanks to Second Sky Books and NetGalley for an advance copy. I am writing this review voluntarily. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.

About the author:

Nisha J. Tuli is the bestselling author of Trial of the Sun Queen—the first in the Artefacts of Ouranos series—which became a BookTok hit thanks to her amazing fans. The originally self-published series was acquired by Forever Publishing and Orbit UK in 2023, and will soon be published in 15 other languages around the world. 

She’s also the author of Heart of Night and Fire, a South Asian-inspired fantasy romance and the first in a four-book series. Look for her rom-com debut in 2025 with NSFW (Not Suitable for Work), a workplace rivals to lovers rom-com publishing with Forever. 

Nisha lives in Canada, where she spends most of her time reading and writing while enjoying travel, food, and camping with her partner, two kids, and their fluffy Samoyed, Mora. 

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