📑 Review: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
"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." - From Goodreads
The Star-Touched Queen was one of those books that I had heard so many good things about, and was really exited to read. Eastern Mythology and romance and fantasy? Yes please. Unfortunately, it also ended up being one of those books that, if I hadn't literally made myself keep reading, I would have abandoned 1/4 of the way through. Despite the lush writing (with occasional weird descriptions and a slight over-reliance of star/Night/darkness metaphors), and the interesting mythology/World, the beginning of the book was confusing. The plot moves quickly but not in a good way. We're expected to care and understand the basis of relationships and connections Maya, our protagonist, has with various characters only for her to be whisked away from them. The introduction of the antagonist and subsequently the love interest Amar, is hurried. Choices are made without proper justification.
I found myself confused time and time again by everyone's behaviour, something that is only aggravated by Maya's own confusion. For example, She gets super comfortable super quickly in Ankara one moment, and then feels out of place and lonely the next, she's told she has free reign and can be curious and wander, but also not to wander or go anywhere. There were several moments I almost just put the book down.
I'm glad I didn't. The second half of the book, as soon as you understand why Maya was kept in the dark (though, i have mixed feelings about the reasoning still) was good. It was engaging, holes in the chracters' past begin filling. Maya transforms into a fighter instead of a mildly annoying girl unable to make decisions, Amar's previous behaviour starts making sense (although, again, I feel like it could have been done better). There is a sense of urgency to the proceedings and I found myself flipping through the story faster, curious to how the plot would unfold, wanting Maya to succeed.
If you're into Eastern mythology, I'd say pick this one up. Otherwise, I recommend Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Same feel, slightly better execution (in my opinion).
Update: I looooved the sequel "A Crown of Wishes." It was everything I had hoped Caraval (see review here) would be, but with the extra fun of Eastern Mythology and a kickass (as opposed to slightly meh) female protagonist.
(Some) Memorable Quotes:
“I know your soul. Everything else is just an ornament.”
“A memory is a fine legacy to leave behind.”
“Father once said the real language of diplomacy was in the space between words. He said silence was key to politics. Silence, I had learned, was also key to spying.”
If anyone has read The Star-Touched Queen let us know what you think in the comments below! Comments also open to further book/movie/show recommendations, anything you’d like to see reviewed, or general feedback. We’d love to hear what you have to say!