Title: THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Format: Kindle, 353 Pages
Published: St. Martin's Griffin (April 26, 2016)
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 4 out of 5 Wine Glasses
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.
“Who wanted to be smiled at by the girl that trailed shadows like pets, conjured snakes and waited for Death, her bridegroom, to steal her from these walls?”
THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN is a remarkable, entrancingly lyrical standalone debut by Roshani Chokshi. I finished this tale almost two weeks ago and am still enthralled pondering it. Honestly, at first, I had trouble vesting in the story. But, I was intrigued enough to continue with it and am so glad I did as the story is infatuating. This tale is a fractured retelling of a mix of Indian folklore and mythology. The wording is so vibrant that it elicits vivid imagery. The writing is so richly descriptive that I read some of the illusions multiple times just to savor them over and over in my mind.
As the story opens, we meet seventeen-year-old Maya, a princess of Bharata. Maya is believed to be cursed as her horoscope promises a marriage of Death and Destruction. When her father arranges for her to be married to stave off war on his kingdom, her suitor, Amar, whisks her away to a kingdom that she'd only thought to be real in the fairy tales she would recite to one of her younger sisters. Even though her new husband was not known to her, her mind would catch glimpses that he had actually been known to her before. Torn between what is real and what is not, the path of her discovery is rife with danger. One wrong step could spell disaster for her, her husband, their kingdom and the world.
I really liked both of the primary characters, individually and as a couple. I could easily see relationship similarities with that of Persephone and Hades and also of Beauty and the Beast. Their story is heart-breakingly beautiful and it was not at all clear that Maya and Amar would find their way to each other.
Following please find a few of my favorite quotes from this read:
“The worms do not take heed of caste and rank when they feast on our ashes," the Raja said. "Your subjects will not remember you. They will not remember the shade of your eyes, the colors you favored, or the beauty of your wives. They will only remember your impression upon their hearts and whether you filled them with glee or grief. That is your immortality.”
“A memory is a fine legacy to leave behind.”
“I promised you the moon for your throne and stars to wear in your hair," said Amar, gesturing inside. "And I always keep my promises.”
I have read that there will be a companion novel to THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN which will follow the adventure of two supporting characters in this book. I look forward to reading more from this author. She has illustrated in striking detail how fairytales and folklore cross cultural spectrums. I would recommend THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN to anyone who enjoys captivating expressively dramatic YA fantasy romances.