The Star-Touched Queen
- Author: Roshani Chokshi
- Genre: YA Fantasy
- Publication Date: April 26, 2016
- Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
- Series: The Star-Touched Queen #1
CONTENT WARNING: mention of death, mention of death of children, mention of domestic violence
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. While Maya is 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. 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 beats 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 Otherworldy realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most … including herself.
I read this as a buddy read with Whitney @ BooksWhitMe, and I’m so glad that I did. She was just as enthusiastic as I was about this (even though this was a re-read for her), and our feedback was so similar. I’m already looking forward to buddy reading the sequel to this with her.
I’m normally a very visual reader, but with this book, Roshani Chokshi has unleashed this stunningly descriptive writing that further fueled my visualization. Her writing was achingly beautiful and it was like … watching the most beautiful sunset unfold on the page. Every single scene was poetically beautiful.
“In Bharata, no one believed in ghosts because the dead never lingered. Lives were remade instantly, souls unzipped and ripped into the streaked brilliance of a tiger, a gopi with lacquered eyes or a raja with a lap full of jewels.”
The story itself drew heavily on Indian folklore and mythology, but it still allowed the author to cut loose and express herself creatively in a way that I’ve rarely seen anyone do. It was like seeing an entirely new world open up, and it was refreshingly different from anything I have read before. It drew from the most intriguing aspects of Indian stories, while still incorporating immensely creative expressions. I was absolutely awed by how talented Roshani Chokshi is, and although I was already impressed by The Gilded Wolves, this book took that talent to a whole other level.
Maya grows up as the daughter of a Raja, but she’s lonely, set apart from the other women of the harem because of her horoscope. But she is still part of the harem, so she grows up fairly naïve, which explains the many, many times she made decisions that I wanted to reach into the book and shake her for making short-sighted, dumb choices. But ultimately, I could see why she did, since she was only 17 and had basically no life experience.
“But I had listened to the stories of the wives and I saw what lay ahead. Another harem. Another husband. Another woman scurried away behind a lattice of elephant bone, staring out to a scene forever marred by the patterns of a gilded cage.”
Once Amar comes into the picture, things started getting really interesting. I wasn’t too sure about him at first, but he definitely grew on me. He was mysterious, but I loved how he challenged Maya and worked to build her up after she’s been torn down her whole life.
“Being with him was like seeing for the first time. I even started to think differently about the horoscope. Could I see a glimmer of silver in all that darkness? I wanted to. And now, I almost did.”
A lot of the plot twists didn’t come as surprises to me. I could see them coming a mile away, but I still couldn’t stop reading because they were just written so beautifully. The lyrical writing style and how effortlessly the words flowed off the page made this a quick read that was thoroughly enjoyable. I would have liked to see the magic system detailed more thoroughly, but I did love seeing how it came to life.
“I could feel magic coating the air around me. It felt like starlight and a swoop in my stomach, something heatless and bright and extraordinary.”
I look forward to seeing what comes next in the story, even though it focuses on a different character. Chokshi has a talent for developing characters that I enjoyed reading about, even the villain. So while the suspense wasn’t fully there, the story, writing, and characters more than made up for it.
People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.
Gasp Factor: 10
Categories: Book Review