Series: The Star-Touched Queen #2
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on April 26th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
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Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?
Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely:
Compassion. Protection. Desire…
But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.
Roshani Chokshi’s The Star-Touched Queen is a fairy tale with an Indian feel. It’s like A Court of Thorns and Roses meets Alice in Wonderland with a hint of Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
Maya was born into the harem of the Raja of Bharata under an inauspicious horoscope. When her father attempts to marry her off to a rebel leader, she is instead taken to a strange land by a mysterious hooded stranger, Amar. Excited to become Queen of the realm of Akaran, she soon discovers that her new home hides many secrets.
I’m not familiar with Indian mythology at all, but the different worlds and deities and creatures in this story were completely mesmerising. The settings were creepy and although I didn’t think aya was a particularly likeable character, there were others that were awesome (eg Kamala, Gauri).
When I first finished this book I rated it five stars right away, mostly because I was blown away by Roshani’s beautiful writing. If you’re interested, Roshani did an Ask Me Anything on Reddit where she discussed the development of her writing style, plus plenty of other juicy information about the writing of this book.
Although I loved the way the story was told, there were a few things that made this story less than amazing – mostly the romance, and the choppy, confusing nature of the plot. I’ll explain a bit more about my reservations behind a spoiler tag:View Spoiler »Okay, the romance. Basically, Amar was not particularly nice to Maya, randomly traumatised ‘tested’ her abilities and just expected her to go along with whatever he asked for. Then after the whole episode with Nritti, once Maya regains her memory, she just runs right back to him. It’s like we missed the whole falling in love part of the romance, and just ended up with the beginning, and then the ‘reuniting with a long-term lover’ ending. I was unsatisfied.
There are a lot of moving parts crammed into this book. Between Maya jumping between Bharata, the Night Bazaar and Akaran, a detailed flashback, plus the introduction of Kamala (who I thought was awesome, by the way) at the halfway mark, it almost felt like a much longer story had been cut down dramatically to 340-odd pages. I’m glad there is a sequel, because several plot-lines were left dangling. « Hide Spoiler
Despite my complaints, The Star-Touched Queen really is a beautifully-written book. Betrayal after betrayal, parallel worlds and strange magic make it a pleasure to read, and I am looking forward to seeing how the story continues in A Crown of Wishes (March 2017).