14 June, 2016


Title: The Star-Touched Queen
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Series: The Star-Touched Queen #1
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Source: Hardcover
Pages: 342

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SYNOPSIS: 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.
Aaahhh this book was one of the top releases I wanted to read! Magic, mythology, fairy-tale touch... it definitely reminded me of The Wrath and the Dawn and A Court of Thorns and Roses (well, they are all re-tellings) but still had a unique essence of its own.

THE WORLD: The book starts in Bharata, a kingdom in India (I'm guessing India because of the mythology but please correct me if I'm wrong) but then moves on to a land of magic and different realms... Bharata is, let's say, in the "real world", then we have Akaran, which is "in between" realms, and also the Night Bazaar, which is a complete mystical world where weird creatures live.

CHARACTERS: The main character is princess Mayavati, daughter of Raja Ramchandra of Bharata. She is cursed by her horoscope, meaning that everyone in Bharata believes in horoscopes and hers is supposed to be coupled with death and destruction. Poor Maya finds herself without a single friend in the harem or the court, except for her half-sister Gauri. She's eight and she's so adorable! She's just a kid so she doesn't appreciate the horoscope power and couldn't care less, she loves Maya. One day the Raja decides to marry Maya in a ceremony called Swayamvara, where the girl chooses the husband out of a list of suitors, as an "offer" for peace with the neighbor kingdom. But the day of the ceremony something goes wrong and Maya has to flee the palace... married... to the king of Akaran, Amar. That's when the whole magic/realm thing kicks in. Amar shows Maya his palace and treats her as a true queen (which of course leaves Maya starstruck since all she has known is the harem of an Indian palace. You can imagine). We meet Gupta, a scribe working for Amar and apparently his only friend. I still don't know his role to be honest. Not a lot was mentioned. We also have Nritti... oh, what can I say? I saw it coming. By the way I hate Nritti, petty b*tch.
The last character worth-mentioning is Kamala! The flesh-eating demon horse and one of my faves. She was a good read, oh yes.

LOVE: Hard to explain without spoilers. It's basically insta-love but at the same time they knew each other from before so it's not really insta-love. Ugh. It's difficult to explain when destiny and magic and stuff are in the middle of all. You'll have to judge by yourself but although I personally despise insta-love, I didn't particularly mind it in this book.

PLUS: The writing is stunning! It's all poetic-prose. I'm no linguist so I have no idea of the style name but it's a very detail-rich prose with beautiful and flowery phrases. It reminds me, in a way, of Renee Ahdieh's way of writing. Tasteful, delicate, elegant.
I've seen people complaining about this. Well, it's a matter of taste. You may like, you may not. If you truly think it's not your style then I wouldn't recommend you this book.

Another plus? The mythology. I am not familiar with Indian mythology at all but it's fascinating. I wasn't aware of all the tales that inspired or were represented in The Star-Touched Queen until Roshani answered THIS question on GR. (I recommend clicking the link)

More? I also liked the self-discovering motive driving the plot. Well, the plot is heavily romance-driven as well, be prepared. The ending wrapped it up nicely. I want more though, I want answers!

PLUS-MINUS: I made up this extra category here to talk about the plot itself because it's an in-between thing. On one hand, it is an attractive plot and has its mysteries, dramas, twists, etc but on the other hand, it wasn't fully explored. Which brings me to the minus because they're very related.

MINUS: I think the book as a standalone is good but to be honest I also felt lack of development and details were left out... I would've appreciated it much more if more background stories were told (ahem Amar, Gupta, and Kamala deserved it!). The world-building is so rich that the book should've had more pages in order to fully explain it all. The characters felt flat at times, they needed more depth. More... something.

It's like looking at something big (a landscape, for example) through a window; what you see is beautiful but you can't appreciate it fully with such a narrow view. You need the full view to be 100% sure that it's beautiful and not some trick of the mind or carefully placed image.

OVERALL: I'm torn. I really liked it but at the same time there is the minuses... ugh I think I'm going to settle for 4 stars. Not perfect but darn, I really enjoyed it! I couldn't put it down! If you like fantasy and mythology I would recommend you to give it a chance ;)

Ah, one thing. The book is a stand-alone! I was confused at first but apparently the "series" will consist of another stand-alone following a secondary character from this book.

What did you guys think about THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN?