The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Series: The Star-Touched Queen #1
Rating: 4.5 stars
Release Date: April 26th 2016
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.
This book was phenomenal. It was beautifully written, with romance that parallels Renee Ahdieh's The Wrath and the Dawn. And, an Indian Hades and Persephone story? Definitely up my alley!
Maya is a princess of Bharata who carries a horoscope of death since her birth. Because of this, the palace staff and the harem is wary of her, save her sister Guari and her father, the Raja. As Bharata is at war with several other kingdoms, and Maya is the only unmarried daughter of proper age left, she is turned into a bargaining chip to secure her kingdom's safety and freedom. But Maya, forever a headstrong girl, has other ideas. However, her ideas didn't involve a mysterious prince in a kingdom known as Akaran, and now Maya is left to figure out her origin and her true identity, as well as save the one she loves most.
What can I say about this book? I absolutely loved the writing. Roshani has a way of writing elegant prose and spine-chilling scenes... The last few chapters in particular were giving me goosebumps. This isn't from the end, but it's a significant scene. The romance was written so well. Every interaction with Maya and Amar was like a dance between lovers. Or a swordfight; but with clever words, not swords.
"This is why you couldn't move the thread," he said. "You need to believe in it. Believe in you."
Amar twisted his fingers and the silk of my sari changed.. from yellow to deepest blue, flecked with stars.
"My star-touched queen," he said softly, as if he was remembering something from long ago. I would break the world to give you what you want."
I touched my sari and the stars faded.
"I want you to leave," I said, not looking at him.
Maya herself, is feisty. She questions everything and isn't complacent with the simple answers. Her banter with Amar is passionate, yes, but also the words of a woman who isn't afraid and who doesn't want to stand still.
"Queen? I'm no better than a caged bird," I bit out. The words tasted like bile.
"What would that make me? An owner? You have free rein, as always, over this kingdom. Much more freedom than any caged bird. Think on that. All I ask, for now, is that you don't-"
"Walk alone? Question you? Breathe without your permission?" I offered, knowing what he would say. "I have free rein except when I don't."
And the Indian folklore... The Night Bazaar, Kamala, the Otherworld, with threads all connected... I loved it. I love mythology, and seeing Hades and Persephone with Indian lore just gave me shivers. The setting was beautiful.
My only qualm with this, and I rate it 4.5 stars (but still, a magnificent read), was the slowness of the first part. I preferred the latter of the novel, and the beginning dragged out for me. It was when the Akaran was revealed to be the world of death and the reveal of who Amar was the point I got fully hooked.
Other than that, its a passionate romance with a strong and smart heroine, and a book to recommend.