The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin (26th Apr 2016)
Series: The Star-Touched Queen #1
Format/Source: Hardback (received a review copy from Macmillan USA International)
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 have been hearing nothing but praises for The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi, especially since the sequel and companion novel, A Crown of Wishes is publishing soon! Aside from the stunning cover and blurb that promises a spellbinding story, I was compelled to pick this book up because it was inspired by Indian mythology and folklore, most of which excited me.
“No matter where we are, we’ll always share the same sky. We can always find each other in the same constellation.”
The Star-Touched Queen is an enthralling mix of Indian mythology, stories and that has tinges of the story of Hades and Persephone. Think of Beauty and the Beast with tones of The Wrath and the Dawn. Like that couldn’t be a winner already? Add in a generous handful of beautiful prose and stunning, atmospheric writing, you’ve got a story that draws you in like a soft caressing song that fills your heart and body and soul and leaves you with a feeling of deep satisfaction.
I cannot begin to express my love for this book because it’s a blend of wanting to read it so badly and finding out that it was better than I expected it to be. *inserts funny meme on expectations vs reality*
“I love you,” he murmured into my hair. “You are my night and stars, the fate I would fix myself to in any life.”
Going into The Star-Touched Queen, I had no idea which direction the story would go. It started off with the heroine, Maya, one of the daughters of the Raja of Bharata, whose horoscopes foresee a life of death and destruction for her. Then on the night where she’s supposed to make the most important decision for her kingdom, she gets whisked away by a mysterious, handsome stranger who isn’t who he seems to be.
“What I wanted was a connection, a shared heartbeat that kept rhythm across oceans and worlds. Not some alliance cobbled out of war. I didn’t want the prince from the folktales or some milk-skinned, honey-eyed youth who said his greetings and proclaimed his love in the same breath. I wanted a love thick with time, as inscrutable as if a lathe had carved it from night and as familiar as the marrow in my bones. I wanted the impossible, which made it that much easier to push out of my mind.”
Have I enticed you with enough mystery and intrigue of the story that you’d give The Star-Touched Queen a chance? Yes? Good, because the story only gets better as Roshani Chokshi slowly and teasingly unravels the plot and surprise you with that clever twist in the end.
The writing is beautiful, enriching and it blended so well with the overall plot and tone of the book. Reading The Star-Touched Queen was like stepping into another world where day and night were entwined and you’re blissfully unaware of what’s happening around you as you stroll aimlessly around a land filled with magic with a star-studded sky, immersing yourself in the world the author had created. I don’t think I can ever get over Roshani Chokshi’s writing.
“My star-touched queen,” he said softly, as if he was remembering something from long ago. “I would break the world to give you what you want.”
Initially, I found the plot to be quite confusing but fret not, Maya is kept in the dark as well, so you’ll really understand why the story was written in that way, because I had an inkling of what was going to happen but I was completely blown away when the plot revelation came about! I am not that familiar with Indian mythology and folklore so I can’t comment on how they were represented in the book but what I can comment on is the way Roshani Chokshi weaves the stories into Maya’s incredible story of love, belief and strength.
“The moment he touched me, my universe constricted to the space between our lips. We were a snarl of limbs and bright-burning kisses.”
The Star-Touched Queen is a magnificent story that is a beautiful blend of folklore and mythology, smart and sassy female characters and a pinch of heady romance that made my heart swoon. If this is what Roshani Chokshi is capable of writing for a debut novel, I can’t imagine how great her coming novels will be. I’m particularly excited for A Crown of Wishes now!