A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in consideration for review.
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. My goodness how I loved this story and the writing. The writing was like a dream…beautiful, elegant, and fairy-tale like with a hint of magic. Each word felt thought out and that it served a purpose. I loved that the imagery wove together to create themes within the story that carried through the entirety of the book. This is one you’ll want to reread multiple times.
The book was written in first person from Maya’s point of view. I felt completely immersed and like I’d been dropped into her character. I lived this story with her as it progressed. This book was completely captivating for me from start to finish. From the very first chapter heading, Not a Ghost, to the conclusion I was riveted. The ease with which Chokshi transports the reader from Maya’s home in Bharata to Akaran- a world of mystery and hidden truths- was impressive. Each setting was entirely original and yet the story seamlessly crossed over from one to the other.
The characters were so beautifully developed and yet they kept a hint of mystery throughout the novel. Amar was as much a mystery to the reader as to Maya and his character unfolded equally before me as Maya grew to know him. I felt her appreciation for him grow as did my own. My emotions were directly related to hers which was so powerful to the storytelling. This was the type of book that I felt.
Beyond the human characters there was even a demon horse. Yes. A. Demon. Horse. And to top it off this demon horse named Kamala, had a sense of humor and was one of the best characters in the book. I’m not really sure how that was possible but it was. It didn’t come off as cheesy at all. A talking horse does have that potential but somehow it worked and left me wanting demon horses to make more appearances. Seriously, I’d read a novella starring Kamala’s backstory.
Another element that I loved was the meshing of Indian culture with the story of Hades and Persephone with a touch of Beauty and the Beast. I felt that Chokshi executed this brilliantly. Truly, I don’t think there was a single element about this book that I didn’t love. I found it to be such a strong debut and story. The fact that it is a standalone makes it even better- one full does of awesome all in one book.
The Star-Touched Queen was a glorious example of beautiful, dream-like writing, strong, complex characters and a storyline that had me invested start to finish. There wasn’t a single element about this novel that I found weak and would recommend it to everyone.