The Star-Touched Queen
UK PUBLISHER: St. Martin’s Griffin
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.
I’m in two minds about this book. There was a lot I liked about the story: the writing and sheer imagination of it are particularly spellbinding. However there was so much I found confusing. I couldn't connect all the dots between the story arcs, and I didn't understand the main characters choices at all.
Maya was born with a terrible horoscope, one that binds her to a future of death and destruction. Safe in the freedom she will never marry, her life is turned upside down when her father suddenly announces she must choose a husband. But when the man Maya picks makes her queen to a world of myth and legend, she finds herself caught in a maze of secrets, stars, and a deadly plot that will cost her every person she loves….
My first impression of this story was that the prose is stunning. The descriptions are beautiful and Roshani Chokshi paints a world of vibrant colours, magical creatures and vivid scenery. The world building is truly astounding. I also love that it's all based around a fantasy version of old India, featuring its foods, scents and culture, as well as some delicious myths and legends.
The characters however, I did not relate to so well. This was mostly because I didn't understand why they made such bad choices - and although I liked Maya’s personality and way of thinking, I didn't like how she could be so trusting and naive. The scenes between Maya and Nritti I found unrealistic and just plain confusing!
Then there was the romance between Maya and Amar. I felt it lacked connection because the sparks and passion, the butterflies and witty banter that makes a romance real… it just wasn't there. Despite many declarations of love from them both, I never experienced that rush (or any of the squee moments readers are prone too - you guys know the ones I mean!) when a couple finally gets together.
However I adored the demonic talking horse, Kamala. She had some of the best lines and made me laugh out loud on many occasions. I’m just sad she didn't appear until near the end of the book.
All in all though, there was much to like about this book. The prose, the world building and magical creatures - those alone are reasons enough to give this book a try. It also means I will definitely be checking out other books by this author. Unfortunately though I wasn't sold on the characters, and the storyline unravelled in an almost dreamlike, yet non-sensical way.
For those reasons, I give this book 3 stars!