Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi, a review

The Star-Touched Queen

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Published by St. Martin's Griffin, April 26, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Length: 353 pages
My Rating: ★★★★★

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 was really surprised that I ended up liking this book as much as I did. Literally, every aspect of this book I loved. Let me break it down:
The world: First off, the author was really enjoying building this world. It's clear in the way she deliciously details every setting (especially glass garden,gooorrrgeous) without taking away from the pacing of the book.
The characters: I was really impressed with how realistic the author made every character, even the secondary characters like Gauri and Skanda, who had a total of two scenes, realistic with their depth.
The relationships: Mainly, between Maya and Amar. I've read so many fated loves where the hero is actually a jerk from beginning to end and the story is really about the heroine learning the live with and forgive his short comings because of the weak excuse of fate. (Helen of Troy comes to mind. Guh.) That was not the case between these two. Their relationship was flawed but not in any unforgivable sense. And as far as Maya goes as a main character, she's perfect. Likable, stubborn, strong but not without self-doubt- her growth as a person in the story was really enjoyable and organic to read.
The only thing that took away from the story for me was that it was so steeply based in Indian folklore, which was great except as a total layman to that subject I felt like I lost part of the reveal towards the end. I ended looking up some terms and names used in the book but not defined in the glossary in the back. They definitely helped me grasp the gravity of certain things better. And maybe things were defined in the context of the story and I just missed them. I will admit near the climax I was reading pretty quickly and somehow missed a couple of crucial scenes that I had to go back and read the next day. That's definitely a bad habit of mine when I'm super invested in characters, I just need to know what happens RIGHT NOW!
The Star-Touched Queen was so enjoyable; a story that you can get lost in and one whose imagery that's so strong and unique I feel like I be thinking about it still months from now. I'd love to see Gauri's story and adventures sometime in the future. She seemed like such a strong character whose life will take her in down just as adventurous a path as Maya's.

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