The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi has been getting a lot of hype since its release last month, so being the gleeful follower I am, I jumped on that band-wagon ASAP. I was not disappointed by this debut novel, and in fact I hope Chokshi has other novels sitting ready at the press as I write this.
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on April 26th 2016
Narrator: Priya Ayyar
Length: 9 hours and 22 minutes
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.
The story is a loose retelling of the myth of Hades and Persephone but based in an Indian, high fantasy world. It’s not every day that you get to dive into a book that combines Indian folklore with mythical creatures and magical happenings. Oh, wait. I’ve never read a book like that before. And it was freaking awesome!
1) reincarnation, 2) Indian, and 3) otherworldly
I cannot even begin to describe how utterly amazing Chokshi’s writing was in this story. It was so incredibly lyrical and vivid. I wanted to eat the entire thing. Yes, I wanted to devour it. The writing appeals to all of your senses. I would literally have visceral reactions to the words because they were just so.gorgeously.composed.
The world was spectacular! You get to immerse yourself in some crazy-awesome mythical India with night bazaars, magical portals, passages for the dying, reincarnation pools, memory trees, glass fruit, etc. etc. It sweeps you away (oh, and did I mention the writing is fantastic?).
I will admit that the timeline periodically got a bit confusing for me, especially when you remember reincarnation and living multiple lives are big themes of this novel. There’s some jumping around to get used to. The confusion may have been related to the audiobook rather than the story itself, though. Honestly, I didn’t care much. I’d just be like, “Oooooooh, she’s describing Maya’s Sari and bangles again!” Then I’d start drooling and forget I was confused.
Guys, this book was downright beautiful. The writing and world were so vibrant that for me reading the book became more about escapism than it did revealing more of the plot. It probably could have been a book about a 1-million lap NASCAR race and I would still be raving about its beauty.
PLEASE TELL ME YOU CAN RECOMMEND ANOTHER BOOK LIKE THIS?! I need more Indian mythology/folklore/magic in my life. Have you read the Star-Touched Queen yet? Are you considering it???? You should be.