The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Published on April 26th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic, Retelling, Romance
Format: Audiobook, eBook, Hardcover
Buy on Amazon--Buy on B&N--Buy on Audible
Add to Goodreads
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 want to share whole worlds with you and write your name in the stars…”
It’s not an exaggeration to assume that even the stars would envy the sheer beauty of The Star-Touched Queen. It was difficult for me not to make this review a long list of my favorite quotes from the story. Roshani Chokshi’s writing is rich and sophisticated and wondrous. Each sentence is like poetry. And strung together, those sentences make up an astounding debut.
“In Bharata, no one believed in ghosts because the dead never lingered. Lives were remade instantly, souls unzipped and tipped into the streaked brilliance of a tiger, a gopi with lacquered eyes or a Raja with a lap full of jewels.”
One of my favorite aspects of Star-Touched Queen is it’s story structure. I love how the story unravels, how Chokshi strings her readers along and teases them. Readers journey along with Maya, picking up bread crumbs with no idea where they’re leading us. There are a lot of questions to be answered as you read: Who is that? What is this place? Why is he so mysterious? Can he be trusted? Can she be trusted? All of those questions build up to a moment near the middle of the story that will leave you like: ‘Wait, what? What?! Oh shooooot!!!!’. I don’t know about you, but I live for good plot twists. I thrive on those soul-snatching moments when a character’s life is all happy-go-lucky, but then all the shit hits the fan and their life is ruined in all of 0.5 seconds. (Does that make me a horrible person?) Star-Touched Queen definitely delivers in the soul-snatching department.
Our protagonist, Maya, is unluckily lucky. Her misfortune has literally been written in the stars. However, there are moments when luck finds her, like when Amar saves her from certain death at the start of the story. From there, things start to look good for her–she falls in love, becomes a queen, finds her voice (not all in that order). All of that happiness, only to have it slip through her fingers like quicksand. Yet, in the face of all of that bad luck and misery (and bad decision making), Maya remains determined and headstrong. I love her character–she’s wise and fierce-spirited and witty. Her journey from a character with nothing to live for to a character with everything to lose makes for a worthwhile read.
“Although I had never envisioned marriage, I had thought of love. Not the furtive love I heard muffled in the corners of rooms of some of the harem wives. What I wanted was a connection, a shared heartbeat that kept rhythm across oceans and worlds. Not some alliance cobbled out of war.”
At the start of the story, Maya and Amar’s love seems too good to be true. He swoops in at just the right moment to save her like a knight in shining armor. He is nothing but an absolute gentleman with her. He more than adores her. And, in a world where women are unvalued and unappreciated, Amar constantly reminds Maya (through his words and actions) that they are equals. However, all of that too-good-to-be-true perfection of their relationship ends at that ‘Oh shooooot!!!!’ moment I mentioned earlier. And, once it’s gone, readers will find themselves hoping against all hopes that Maya and Amar get it back.
While I really loved Maya and Amar, I would have liked to see more character development for both of them. Especially Amar. We learn very little about his character besides the fact that he has an undying love for Maya. A companion novel to The Star-Touched Queen is in the works, and I hope that that gives readers a closer look at Amar’s character beyond his love for Maya. I think that he could make for a very interesting character. I would personally love to know about his past and how he came to hold the title/position he does.
The Star-Touched Queen is a story that should be read more than once. It’s not a story to breeze through. Rooted in Indian folklore and Greek mythology, it’s more fantastical than any fantasy I’ve ever read, requiring a bit more attention and imagination. It’s filled with metaphors and moments that I think are open to interpretation and definitely worth revisiting.
I assure you that The Star-Touched Queen is unlike any other story you’ve read.
It’s the rarest star in the nighttime sky.
“He loved her. And she loved him. And in such bliss does devastation grow.”
Latest posts by Teisha McRae (see all)
- Teisha’s Review: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress #1) by Julie C. Dao - October 9, 2017
- Teisha’s Review: Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven - October 5, 2016
- Blog Tour + Teisha’s Review + GIVEAWAY: Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1) by Kendare Blake - September 19, 2016