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.
The Star-Touched Queen was pitched as a Hades-and-Persephone-style romance, infused with Indian mythology, and that’s exactly what it was. It was beautiful and romantic and great when you look at the bonds that were built between Mayatvi and Gauri, and Mayatavi and Amar.
Mayatavi, who goes by Maya, showed so much growth throughout this novel. She was always intelligent, but she grew to truly care about the others around her once she got out of the situation that she as in. In the beginning of the novel, her father’s wives collectively are concerned about her influence on everyone else because or her horoscope saying that she would bring death wherever she went. Horoscopes were taken very seriously in Bharata, so no one would come close to her except her younger half-sister Gauri. Until her father, the Raja, asks her to sacrifice herself in order to allow him to take over the nearby rebelling kingdoms. That is when everything goes to hell for Maya.
I loved Gauri as a character, and Amar was… interesting. I can’t decide whether I really liked him or not, but he was a very intriguing character. Kamala was so entertaining that I hope we’ll see her again, although I don’t know that it’s likely.
The prose was also beautiful, with quotes like this:
“Mirror after mirror… giving way to countries spiked with spires, turrets bursting with small ivy flowers, cities awash in color, and a thousand skies painted in vespertine violets of anxious nightfall waiting for stars, dawns just barely blooming pink and orange with new light, afternoons presiding over sleeping towns… it was all here.”
I really enjoyed this novel, though it did have some issues in my opinion, as I’ve mentioned above, so I’m rating it four stars. I can’t wait to read the next book!
Photo by Aman Sharma, from the author’s website
Her author bio says “Roshani Chokshi comes from a small town in Georgia where she collected a Southern accent, but does not use it unless under duress. She grew up in a blue house with a perpetually napping bear-dog. At Emory University, she dabbled with journalism, attended some classes in pajamas, forgot to buy winter boots and majored in 14th century British literature. She spent a year after graduation working and traveling and writing. After that, she started law school at the University of Georgia where she’s learning a new kind of storytelling.”
The Star-Touched Queen was published on April 26, 2016, and is Chokshi’s debut novel. Some of her other work has appeared in Khabar, Strange Horizons, and Shimmer magazine. A Crown of Wishes is the title of the second book of this two-book deal, and should be published on March 28, 2017 by St. Martin’s Griffin Publishing House.
Disclaimer: All links to Indiebound and Amazon are affiliate links, which means that if you buy through those links, I will make a small amount of money off of it.