The Star-Touched Queen
By: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: April 26th, 2016
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.
If any of our readers are in North Carolina, particularly the Triangle area, be advised: Roshani Chokshi, as well as Ryan Graudin of Wolf by Wolf fame, is going to be in Chapel Hill TOMORROW. Since Roshani is stopping by my very own home turf, I thought I might as well pick up her books. And I’m very glad I did.
The Star-Touched Queen is essentially a fairytale, kind of East of the Sun West of the Moon story meets Persephone. But it’s told with the rich background of Indian mythology informing it. I found this to be an utterly fascinating combination. I couldn’t get enough of the descriptions of gorgeous saris, the magical world of Akaran/Naraka, or the strange but intense connection between Maya and Amar. Roshani wove a fantastical, jewel-toned world for me, and I loved it.
I liked Maya well enough as a character–she was fairly meek at the beginning, but grew well into her role, and was glorious at the end. But the side characters were EXCEPTIONAL. I loved Gauri and her sassy refusal to conform. Similarly, Kamala the bloodthirsty skeleton horse was the best comic relief/sidekick, and Gupta was everyone’s favorite vizier. I even liked the characterization of Nritti, once we finally got to the bottom of her story. I’m especially excited to see more of Gauri in the forthcoming companion novel.
I admit, there were a few things that threw me. One little thing was Nritti and her backstory. As I mentioned, she was a great evil character, but the reasons for the emnity between her and Maya came in bits and pieces throughout the book, and I never really felt like I had the full story. This was also an issue with Maya and Amar, actually. Although there was the hint of a truly glorious romance between Maya and Amar, we didn’t get to see it in action much–the juicy falling-in-love bits literally happened in a past life. I mean, what there was was fantastic, but I would have liked more intense soulmate romance. Fortunately, there’s a novella coming out which might satisfy my craving for this.
Despite a few small disappointments, I absolutely adored this book–as Em can attest, I essentially gobbled it up. And frankly, I’m even more excited for a Crown of Wishes now–not just to see Gauri again and figure out what’s going on with Vikram, but to jump back into Roshani’s jewel-toned stories again.
Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us.