Sunday, May 28, 2017

Book Review: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

fantasy book review The Star-Touched Queen
By Roshani Chokshi
Series: The Star-Touched Queen #1
Paperback: 339 pages
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ✰ ( 4 out of 5 Stars )

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Categories: Mythology, Fantasy, Magic

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.

fantasy book reviews

I haven't been feeling the romance novels all that much as of late. It could be my own stagnant love life subconsciously making me cringe when I even begin to contemplate reading a romance novel. Let alone the whole star-crossed love thing. Ugh. So imagine my surprise when I actually enjoyed this book. I felt emotionally crushed each time that I had to put it down. It did end rather predictably, as romance novels tend to do, but all in all, I'm glad that I finally picked it up off of the bottom of my to be read list and gave it a shot. That beautiful cover didn't hurt either..(:

I really enjoyed immersing myself in the world that the author creates. Bharata is such a unique place. Harems of women that make my skin crawl, selfish rulers that don't even know how many children they have fathered, court politics that make me want to punch myself in the face. Twice.

This was the court of Bharata, a city like a bone spur- tacked on like an afterthought. Its demons were different: harem wives with jewels in their hair and hate in their heart, courtiers with mouths full of lies, a father who knew me only as a colored stone around his neck. Those were the monsters I knew. My world didn't have room for more.
Their superstitions piqued my interest, and I wish the author would have went into more detail about the horoscopes, how they deciphered them and whatnot. I loved the mythology, although I am not familiar with these particular stories, I feel like mythology is relatively universal. The whole reincarnation thing was probably my favorite part of their belief system. They mixed it with the idea of karma, for the ultimate judgement from the universe.
I couldn't decide whether I thought reincarnation was a scare tactic or a hopeful message. Do this, so you won't come back as a cockroach. Give alms to the poor, and in your next life, you'll be rich. It made all good deeds seem suspect.
Maya stole my heart from the first page, and held it tight throughout the entire story. I never once grew tired of her; she was strong when she needed to be, as brave as the situation called for, and remained hopeful although her world was falling apart. She never drowned in self pity, which is my biggest pet peeve of book characters. I saw a lot of myself in her, with her quirkiness and humor at inappropriate times, her bad decision making, and her rare but crippling self-doubt. She was real, and that is sometimes hard to write into a character of a fantasy story.

Amar. Sigh. On a side-note, I would just like to state that male book characters have made my expectations for men unreasonably high. Amar is mysterious, compassionate, sexy, blah blah blah.. all of those wonderful things that I don't even need to state because you all know them well. But he sure does know how to say the right thing..

I want your perspective and honesty, he said, before adding in a softer voice, I want to be humbled by you.

I know your soul. Everything else in an ornament.

The knight in shining armor, or a hooded robe, whatever you prefer, come to rescue the damsel in distress. Stealing her away from her kingdom in the heat of battle, he refuses to answer any of her questions about his strange kingdom or even who exactly he is. He calls himself the Raja of Akaran, but Maya knows there is no such place. Within his palace, there are strange doors with chains shackling them closed, mirrors that reflect nothing, strange sounds and voices all around. The longer that she stays in this foreign desolate place, the more questions that she has.
There's all kinds of hidey-holes dotted about. There are places where you can jump and find yourself buried beneath the Earth. There are pools of glass that you can swim through and find lost monsters with no names. In Akaran, things just are.
The lyrical way that Miss Chokshi writes fits this story perfectly. She was incredibly descriptive, and I could physically feel everything that she illustrated with her words. The Star-Touched Queen was a beautiful story full of wonderful characters, strangely beautiful worlds, and haunting superstitions that leaves the reader emotionally scarred.
fantasy book review
fantasy book reviews