May 10, 2016

Do You Believe in Fate? • The Star-Touched Queen

The Star-Touched Queen book cover
I have no idea what I was expecting when I started The Star-Touched Queen, but it certainly was not what I ended up experiencing – and in this case, that’s not a bad thing. This is a tale that calls to mind the Hades and Persephone myth, a story that fascinates many and has so inspired writers to try to put their unique spin on the tale. Chokshi succeeds where many have not been so fortunate, as her words tell an imaginative tale laced with Indian folklore and written in the style of many a classic fairytale.

The Star-Touched Queen is the story of a princess named Maya, who has been shunned and feared all her life by the people of her father’s kingdom for the terrible horoscope that promises her a marriage of death and destruction. And the future comes true as the stars foretold it: Maya is wed to Amar, and becomes the queen of his kingdom of Akaran. As queen, Maya is finally able to wield the power she’s always dreamed of having – but this kingdom is not all it appears to be. Soon, she is faced with a great dilemma, and it is up to her to save herself, her husband, and her kingdom.

It is true that there are many novels that have a similar feel and plot. So what makes The Star-Touched Queen different? Personally, I found great joy in the combination of Indian folklore and fairy tale tropes. Chokshi weaves into existence a world filled with many possibilities, and all sorts of imaginings are brought to life. Her lovely turns of phrase describe all that can be seen and heard and felt, and it’s one of the most visceral reading experiences I’ve had in a long time. I savored her descriptions, allowing myself moments to simply close my eyes and dream up what was on the page until I could picture it clearly.

The unique cultural elements and beautiful words make a story that would otherwise be an extremely familiar, tired plot into something new, though it didn’t work the same way for the characters. (I wasn’t overly impressed with Maya or Amar, though I did love two of the secondary characters very much.) Still, even though I didn’t love these characters, I certainly enjoyed the story – and there’s definitely something to be said for that. If you like lush prose and tales touched with elements from myths and fairy tales, then you should definitely read The Star-Touched Queen.

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin | Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Source: ARC downloaded from NetGalley (Thanks!)

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.


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