The Star-Touched Queen My Rating:
Published by: St. Martin's Griffin on April 26th 2016
Genres: Coming of Age, Fantasy & Fairy Tales, Light Romance, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
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.
There are two main reasons I picked up The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi at my local library. First, the cover. Very seldom do I get sucked in by a cover. And while the cover isn’t the only reason I read the book, it did draw my attention to it. Second, and this is the real reason, I won the second book in the series, A Crown of Wishes, in a giveaway. I was told I didn’t need to read the first book to understand the second. My understanding is that they are more companion books rather than sequels that build on one another. But I have this compulsive need to read books of a series in order, so I grabbed The Star-Touched Queen.
I liked the book. I didn’t go into it with any preconceived ideas of what it would be and I think that helps. I enjoy books more, generally speaking, when I don’t have expectations. Chokshi is a strong storyteller and she weaved a beautiful tale of love and loss and unwavering determination to do the right thing while navigating a foreign and confusing world.
The love story is sweet and swoony, if not a teensy bit sappy, which isn’t always a bad thing.
Come with me and you shall be an empress with the moon for your throne and constellations to wear in your hair.
My one complaint is that I wasn’t really invested in it until the end of the book. The reader learns very little of Amar. In fact, we see very little of him. I definitely wanted more. Although, at the end of the book I understood why his character was written the way it was, I still think the love story aspect would have been much stronger had I been given more opportunity to connect with Amar and Maya and Amar had been together more. That said, he was a likeable character and I did find myself rooting for him and Maya’s relationship.
Maya was a likeable character. It was easy to feel for her. Her horoscope made her an outcast for such a petty reason.
“Do you believe the horoscope?” [Amar asks Maya]
“Then why hate the stars?”
“For what they did. Or, I guess, what they made other people do,” I said softly. “For making me hated without reason and without evidence. Wouldn’t you hate distant jailers?”
The anger and hatred she faced from the other women in the harem was harsh. It made it easy to understand why she’d go with a man she barely knew so willingly, especially after her father’s request of her.
Chokshi has a very lyrical type of prose. I think it’s the type that one will either appreciate or dislike. I don’t think there will be too many inbetweeners. I tended to like it. Her words flowed beautifully together, almost like one long poem of love and distrust and loyalty and hurt and back to love again.
We spent the rest of the day lost in that room of old planets and forgotten meteors. I stepped across flattened comets and spilled haloes of things that may have burned for centuries or may have always been illusions.
Her world building was on point, crafting a magical otherworld that awed and inspired and was easily pictured in my mind like a photograph.
The story is a version of others in the same vein and was slightly predictable, but the author still managed to make it her own in many ways. I found the pacing somewhat slow at times, but neither issue was enough to lessen my enjoyment of the book to any degree.
Bottom line: A wonderfully woven story, with beautiful writing, in a lush, magical setting. An endearing love story. I’m looking forward to more from this author.