The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publishing Date: April 26
Genre: young adult, fantasy
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.
Maya was cursed since the day she was born. Because her mother died and she lived, the other harem wives of her father, the Raja, believe in Maya’s horoscope: her marriage is one of death and destruction. When the Raja asks Maya to give her life for her kingdom on the brink of war, Maya painfully agrees to do so — and instead finds herself in Akaran with Amar, a raja who promises equality and power. But strange things are happening in Akaran, and as Maya tiptoes the edge of secrets, she’s thrust into unraveling an ancient mystery, one that could alter thousands of lives and truly bring about devastation.
I wanted a love thick with time, as inscrutable as if a lathe
had carved it from night and as familiar as the marrow in my bones.
I wanted the impossible, which made it that much easier to push out of my mind.
What a ride. There are no comparable titles, only authors, that I can give. Chokshi’s writing is vivid as Erin Morgenstern’s and as otherworldly as Laini Taylor’s. Toss in the beauty of Indian myth and folklore, and you’re destined for an adventurous read. I haven’t read a YA fantasy quite is unique (and steeped in non-Euro culture) as this (either ever or in a long while!). Chokshi is like a breath of fresh air!
Maya’s journey is unique, yet familiar. Though there are words and beliefs and myths completely unfamiliar to me, it’s Maya’s quest for answers and character growth that’s recognizable. The last third of the book heavily relies on Indian mythology, I felt, with a fantastical, otherworldly quest Maya must fulfill in order to restore the balance between the mortal world and Akaran. Hang on tight. It may seem a little confusing, but it’s entirely worth it in the end. You are, along with Maya, experiencing several reincarnated lives, and every word in this book matters!
“I know your soul. Everything else is an ornament.”
Amar is also a great character for a love interest. It’s easy to see why Maya’s drawn to him, and it’s understandable when her trust begins to falter. How can someone so ethereal, composed, and determined to show compassion and equality also refuse to tell her anything deep about himself, about his world, his past? What is he hiding? And why can’t he share it with her? All this complications made for an intense relationship, and a key to Maya’s quest, and I deeply enjoyed the character exploration.
Chokshi is officially on my watch list. I’ll happily read anything else she publishes!
Thank you, NetGalley, for providing this book from St. Martin’s Griffin for review!
*quotes taken from uncorrected proof