The Star-Touched Queen (Star-Tocuhed Queen #1) by Roshani Chokshi
Publication Date: April 26th 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Mythology.
Find: Goodreads | Amazon
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 honestly did not know what to expect from this book. I knew a lot of people loved this book but I didn’t really understand why until I picked it up myself. This tale is imaginative and magical. Inspired by a mix of Indian mythology, an area I’m not all that familiar with, and a hint of Greek mythology, The Star-Touched Queen brings this element of mythology and fantasy together to create a rich and captivating story.
The world building is extensive in this book. The images created are so vivid in my mind it’s like I’ve been transported there myself, like a fly on the wall. The writing in this book is so dreamlike and evocative and the consistency in the pacing and flow of the writing made it easy to get sucked into. However, there were some instances where the imagery felt a bit overly descriptive and there was a danger that this beautiful writing could have drowned out the overall plot.
As an individual, Maya is quite an enjoyable character. Cursed with a horoscope promising a future of death, Maya is used as a punching bag (metaphorically speaking) to the king’s wives and her horoscope is used as a means of instilling fear and hatred to those in the kingdom. She’s cast aside in her father’s kingdom but when offered an opportunity to be seen as an equal, Maya seizes this chance as a way to free herself from the ties that bound her to her father. Here enters Amar. Overall, I enjoyed his character. It is his promise of freedom that allows Maya to explore her own strengths and unlock a new found power within her. The question of fate comes into question with Amar’s presence and I loved the contemplation on the choices made that could seal a person’s entire future and which road would be the lesser of two evils. I think Amar has a layer of complexity to him but I didn’t feel like we spent enough time with him to explore these complexities. This where the story kind of falls flat for me. While we have a great character arc in Maya’s journey, the secondary characters weren’t as fully fleshed out as much as I’d have liked them to be. We are treated to tidbits of information about these characters but ultimately their role is to heighten Maya’s own journey.
Like I said, this story is Maya’s journey. Maya is such a wonderful character. She strives to be independent and treated as an equal but along the way Maya has to learn to trust. She does make a few mistakes along the way and can be very impulsive but these mistakes are all part of a learning curve which ultimately leads to the better life she so wished to live.
Overall I really enjoyed the first installment in this series. While I found that the secondary characters could have used a bit more development, Maya was a character I could get behind and root for. However, Chokshi’s real strength lies in her storytelling and her ability to create such a rich, imaginative and magical world – one I am very excited to revisit in the near future.