The Star-Touched Queen was my most anticipated read of 2016 and it completely blew me away! It’s a beautifully crafted story that lifts off the pages and tantalizes and hinders on your mind and heart for hours, if not days after reading.
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.
A lush and vivid story that is steeped in Indian folklore and mythology. The Star-Touched Queen is a novel that no reader will soon forget.
Heroine: Born with a horoscope that predicted death and destruction and a feminist at heart, Princess Mayavati aka Maya breathlessly represents a strong heroine. Not physically strong, but emotionally. She stands tall by herself, existing perfectly without her love interest even though they complement each other well.
At the start of the story, Maya thinks she’ll probably never get married because of her horrible horoscope. The average person would be moping around sad or depressed, but she’s not. She let it make her independent instead. Of course, she’s lonely at times, but she’s always keeping herself busy with reading, her sister, spying or exploring the royal courts.
In Maya’s eyes, trust is won with time, which makes her wise beyond her years. Her love for her sister shows that she’s loving, affectionate and compassionate while the unconditional love for her homeland, Bharata, represents her loyalty and selfless manner.
“It is not a question of want,” he said. “It is a manner of need. If this is what it will take to keep the realm safe for our people, then I have no choice.”
Our people. My stomach knotted. Only the thump of my heart told me I was alive. Not yet a corpse. I glanced at the frail vial. If I wanted, I could throw it in his face, pour it on the ground or smash the vial altogether. But of course I couldn’t. The vial was Bharata’s hope distorted, and I held it in my hand.
Not easily flustered or swept off her feet, I loved that she didn’t want an insta-love connection with someone, but something real that could grow into something timeless and forever. Even when she figured she’d never marry, she still wanted to be with someone who would consider her an equal—not just a prized wife.
Although I had never envisioned marriage, I had thought of love. Not the furtive love I heard muffled in the corners or rooms of some of the harem wives. What I wanted was a connection, a shared heartbeat that kept rhythm across oceans and worlds. I didn’t want the prince from the folktales or some milk-skinned, honey-eyed youth who said his greetings and proclaimed his love in the same breath. 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.
Everything about Maya was amazing and awesome! I loved reading from her POV and getting into her head. She’s a strong character that doesn’t disappoint. Yes, she makes mistakes and messes up horribly at times, but who doesn’t? I think that’s what made her realistic and relatable.
Hero: Amar takes book boyfriend to a whole new level! He’s everything you could want in a hero—in a soulmate. He’s loyal—very loyal. His love for Maya shines through even without him outright saying it.
“My star-touched queen,” he said softly, as if he was remembering something long ago. “I would break the world to give you what you want.”
He was just so dreamy…
“Come with me,” he said. “You would never be content in that world. They would cage you. They would give you playthings of silver and silk.” His teeth burned white when he smiled. “I would give you whole worlds.”
“I promised you the moon for your throne and stars to wear in your hair,” said Amar, gesturing inside. “And I always keep my promises.”
And just ahhhhhh…….
“I want to lie beside you and know the weight of your dreams,” he said, brushing his lips against my knuckles, “I want to share the whole worlds with you and write your name in the stars.” He moved closer and a chorus of songbirds twittered silver melodies. “I want to measure eternity with your laughter.” Now he stood inches from me; his rough hands encircled my waist. “Be my queen and I promise you a life where you will never be bored. I promise you more power than a hundred kings and I promise you that we will always be equals.”
But with all that set aside, he’s more than just a love interest. I liked his personality and his character. He’s strong—physically and emotionally yet he’s not afraid to express himself. Amar is a great leader—fair and puts his people before himself. Even if it goes against his personal agenda. But with his swift cleverness, he always makes sure it works out in his favor. I also loved his outlook on the world. He sees things in ways that most people don’t, like when he spins death and destruction into a positive light.
“Doesn’t death make room for life? Autumn trees die to make room for new shoots. And destruction is part of that cycle. After all, a devastating forests fire lets the ground start anew.”
The High Points
The Romance: The budding relationship between Maya and Amar is utterly beautiful and breathtaking. In a black and white room, their love is colorful and bright, and their feelings and reactions to one another felt so real that it touches your heart.
“I love you, jaani. My soul could never forget you. It would retrace every step until it found you.”
It was never a one-sided relationship or a relationship where he bullied or tried to make her feel like she was less than him.
“I want your perspective and honesty,” he said, before adding in a softer voice, “I want to be humbled by you.”
Amar always lifted Maya up and always tried to make her feel like she was needed, that she was a necessary part of his life and his kingdom.
“My kingdom needs a queen,” he said. “It needs someone with fury in her heart, and shadows in her smile. It needs someone restless and clever. It needs you.”
She does try to push him away, because she doesn’t understand him yet or his motives. But in the end, Maya always knew what her heart wanted and needed.
“You are my life too,” I said and then I pressed my lips to his.
I was totally in love with their love. It was spellbindingly beautiful, and wonderful. It wasn’t always perfect, and it had its ups and downs. There was some dishonesty and secrets and even some betrayal that broke my heart, but they both always found a way back to each other because that’s what true love is. That no matter what happens, if two are destined to be together, no time or person or anything will stop them. It may take a while—years even, but they will always find their way back to each other.
The Writing: The author, Roshani Chokshi has a stunning writing style! It’s filled with rich, textured words that really capture and bring the story alive. Some of her sentences were so beautifully written that they had me in straight awe.
The World Building: The world building was amazing! Very creative. The way Chokshi weaves Indian folklore into the story really helped make the world intriguing. I learned SO many new things and really enjoyed learning about Indian mythology.
The Characters: Every character was well crafted. Each had their own voice and left their own mark. One of my favorites was Kamala, the flesh-eating demon horse. She was hilarious and I loved her dialogue.
“Why do I do anything? Why do I hate beets or lust after the feeling of hair in my mouth instead of blood? Maybe I like the thought of being filled. Or being less empty,” said Kamala with another ghoulish grin.
The Low Points
In my opinion, I couldn’t find any real low points that stuck out or bothered me.
Overall, The Star-Touched Queen was an excellent novel! If you’re a fantasy reader, you should definitely pick this up when it comes out on April 26, 2016! Highly recommended.
I received an ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read The Star-Touched Queen.
Quotes are from an uncorrected ARC of The Star-Touched Queen and may change/differ from finished/published copy.