A Crown of Wishes
By: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: March 28th 2017
An ancient mystery. An unlikely union. For one young princess in a state of peril, a dangerous wish could be the only answer…
She is the princess of Bharata—captured by her kingdom’s enemies, a prisoner of war. Now that she faces a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. But should she trust Vikram, the notoriously cunning prince of a neighboring land? He promises her freedom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together they can team up and win the Tournament of Wishes, a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor. It seems like a foolproof plan—until Gauri and Vikram arrive at the tournament and find that danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans, mischievous story birds, a feast of fears, and twisted fairy revels. New trials will test their devotion, strength, and wits. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.
Although I liked The Star-Touched Queen, as soon as I saw the setup for Crown of Wishes I knew I would really adore this book. Although I enjoyed the story of Maya and Amar, Vikram and Gauri were more vibrant, more active, more there, in a way that I really enjoyed.
It probably helped that I was introduced to both of them in the Star-Touched Queen, and knew roughly their respective roles and struggles. My early introduction to them helped to set the stage for Crown of Wishes. This was especially useful because the book started off rapidly, without much in the way of setup, and I had to rely quite a bit on what I already knew about the characters and the world. I’m not sure how well the lack of a setup would work for someone who hasn’t already read Star-Touched Queen.
That being said, the plot was full-throttle from the first page, which I appreciated. The Tournament of Wishes was described in the prologue, with all of the insanity that it seemed to have. And the first meeting between Vikram and Gauri was high-intensity–Gauri tries to murder him, and he invites her on a magical adventure. This intense plot continued through most of the book–I felt like I couldn’t stand to put the book down.
Adding to this, the connection between Gauri and Vikram was palpable. At times antagonistic, at other times sweet, always playful, I couldn’t help but ship them. Gauri is driven and action-oriented, whereas Vikram is sassy and analytic. Every conversation between them was great, the two of them teasing each other mercilessly. And all that just added to the delightful tension between them. On a deeper note, however, they’d had similar experiences of helplessness and struggle, and were able to help each other through the aftereffects.
And while their relationship was great on its own, in the context of the Tournament of Wishes it was even better. A reviewer on Goodreads recommended this book for fans of Caraval, and I 100% agree. There was a similar setup–two characters forced into a magical tournament with high stakes and unknown challenges for a nebulous prize. But Roshani’s jewel-toned, mythology-inspired writing puts Crown of Wishes slightly higher for me. There was a beautiful mix of the lovely and the creepy, in a setting that I would have loved to see. Every detail sang.
I have very few objections, but the ones that I do have stem from the relationship between Star-Touched Queen and Crown of Wishes. Roshani has said that they’re two standalone novels, albeit interrelated, but aren’t meant to be seen as a series. However, I think it would be difficult to understand Crown of Wishes without having first read Star-Touched Queen. And now that I know what I do about the second book, I want to reread the first and see if it makes sense to me. So, while I understand the emphasis that they’re not a series, I think they should then be able to actually stand on their own. I think that Roshani has a wealth of knowledge about how her world functions squirreled away somewhere, and I’d like her to share more of it with us.
But that being said, Crown of Wishes was a delightful read. There was a vivid romance, a grand tournament, a wealth of description and enough twists and turns that I was on the edge of my seat. I closed the book feeling more than satisfied.
Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us.