Cursed with a horoscope that promise a marriage of Death and Destruction, sixteen-year-old Maya has only earned the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her world is upheaved when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. But when her wedding takes a fatal turn, Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Yet neither roles are what she expected. As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds friendship and warmth.
But Akaran has its own secrets – thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Beneath Akaran’s magic, Maya begins to suspect her life is in danger. When she ignores Amar’s plea for patience, her discoveries put more than new love at risk – it threatens the balance of all realms, human and Otherworldly.
Now, Maya must confront a secret that spans reincarnated lives and fight her way through the dangerous underbelly of the Otherworld if she wants to protect the people she loves.
The Star-Touched Queen is a lush, beautifully written and vividly imagined fantasy inspired by Indian Mythology.
True rating: 2.5 Stars
“It was superficially lovely.”
This quote ironically does a nice job of summing up my thoughts on this book.
The Star-Touched Queen has all the makings of a wonderful book. Chokshi spins a compelling tale about love that transcends realms of reality and lifetimes and reincarnations. There is betrayal and bitterness and magic and mystery. She even places this story in a beautifully rich exotic locale filled with hints at Hindu folklore and mythology. The writing is lovely. It should have easily garnered five stars.
Despite what Chokshi gets right, though, this is a laborious read. The writing is lovely, as previously mentioned, but often completely abstract. Nonsensical metaphors like “lightning seemed across the gloaming earth like a broken eggshell veined with light” and “fat moths the size of palms wreathed my hair like pearls and moonstones” might be nice every once in a while, but they form the bulk of the prose we’re given. I had to fight to finish the second half, mostly because the action was so incredibly hard to follow. There are several references to mythological creatures, which I appreciated, but little to no explanation of what these creatures are and what functions they serve in the world the author has given us to explore. I shouldn’t have to stop reading a book fifteen times to look up and read articles on Hindu mythology just to understand two paragraphs of a novel. And try as I might, I never connected to Maya or Amar. The only characters I felt attached to were Guari, Maya’s half-sister whose arc never reaches resolution, and Kamala, a flesh-eating demon horse.
I’m aggravated that I didn’t like this book more because I’ve been looking forward to reading it for months now, but it just wasn’t for me. However, given the intriguing premise and the quality of the writing, I can understand why it’s gotten so many positive reviews. If it sounds at all intriguing to you, I recommend you at least try it. I’m glad I read it. I just wish I had enjoyed it more. I’ll definitely want to check out more from this author.
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.