Cursed with a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, sixteen-year-old Maya has only earned the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her world is upheaved when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. But when her wedding takes a fatal turn, Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Yet neither roles are what she expected. As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds friendship and warmth.
But Akaran has its own secrets – thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Beneath Akaran’s magic, Maya begins to suspect her life is in danger. When she ignores Amar’s plea for patience, her discoveries put more than new love at risk – it threatens the balance of all realms, human and Otherworldly.
Now, Maya must confront a secret that spans reincarnated lives and fight her way through the dangerous underbelly of the Otherworld if she wants to protect the people she loves.
The Star-Touched Queen is a lush, beautifully written and vividly imagined fantasy inspired by Indian mythology.
It’s a rare and beautiful thing when a fully-hyped debut lives up to expectations. I, like the rest of the bookiverse, couldn’t wait to get my hands on this juicy Indian mythology. Mostly because a) I’m OBSESSED (and always have been) with India (one of my most-prized possessions is a book of Indian legends and myths from different areas of India, which are traditionally only passed down through the oral tradition) and b) there were so many interesting themes going on in the book blurb. I mean, I can’t be the only one who has trouble resisting retellings of Persephone and Beauty and the Beast, all with a fresh perspective and a diverse twist, can I?
I’m so so so happy to report that The Star-Touched Queen FAR EXCEEDS the hype. This is a brilliant retelling (if you can even call it that – it’s certainly a fairy tale all its own, in my book), and I think that fantasy readers will be beyond thrilled when they have this piece of art in their hands come April 26th.
From page one I was swept up in the gorgeous setting of The Star-Touched Queen. I freaking LOVED the things Roshani drew out of Indian culture for the different kingdoms. There is beauty infused on EVERY. SINGLE. PAGE. of this book. I swear, if you love words, you are going to love her writing style. I felt like their wasn’t a single wasted word, and I was constantly hungry for more – more dappled prose, more tension-filled dialogue, more mysterious and mythological backstory, more poetry in motion. This is a true literary triumph that’ll leave you hungry for whatever Roshani writes next. I’ve heard it’ll be a book set in the same world, and all I can say to that is, “HECK YES! I need more of this universe! More more MORE!” Sorry… I can’t help myself. This book has left my greedy…
The Persephone-Hades Beauty-Beast Styled Romance
If only I could continue drinking in the romance here – I think I fell in love with Amar about two words into the first scene he appears in, and I’m still swooning over here. What I liked about Maya and Amar most of all though was how real they felt. I mean, the feelings between them were honest and heartfelt, but you could still feel the undercurrent of the past running through all of their present interactions. Feeling like you don’t understand something is hard for people to live with, and Amar’s secrets in the beginning take a toll on Maya practically from the first second they meet. I liked that Maya didn’t get so caught up in her passionate feelings for Amar that she just blindly followed him without a second thought. I mean, it did cause me a lot of angsty book-shutting pain later on, but still – I like a protagonist (especially a female one) who can make her own choices (good or bad) and think for herself.
Before I even touch on this (and I promise I’ll be brief), I just want to confess that I’ve never found a book I liked that featured reincarnation as a central plot point. Star-Touched has officially become the exception. Not only does Roshani handle it beautifully (I’m beginning to wonder if there is anything she couldn’t make beautiful), it really is well-explained and well-played throughout the book. I never felt like it was being used to “cheat” the story along – I never felt slighted or like it was a cop-out answer to unsolvable problems. Instead, it was woven in gently with the storyline, and when it came up as a main-player I barely raised an eyebrow before accepting it wholeheartedly and continuing my nose-dive into the books luscious pages.
I have to stop now, lest I start spewing spoilers and giving everything away, but let me just end with this – there is a very sarcastic talking-horse that is sure to win you over if you pick up this book. She’s hilarious and dangerous, and such a fun sidekick that I can’t imagine anyone disliking her (also, the function of a talking horse comes straight out of true native mythology, so her addition felt like the author paying homage to her heritage, at least to me). Anyway, trust me, the horse is worth the price of the book by herself. She’s that much of a character. Of course, there’s also the daring and transcendent love story, the cursed horoscope, and the nefarious evil sorceress to draw you in as well. Honestly, why are you still reading this? Just go order your copy… stat!
Rating: 5/5 stars
Are you planning to read The Star-Touched Queen? Why are you excited to read it? Have you already read it? What’d you think? Give me the page number of your favorite scene!