Wednesday, 20 April 2016

The Star-Touched Queen

The Star-Touched Queen

by Roshani Chokshi

5 out of 5

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.

Despite the palace and luxury, Maya's life is a hardship. She is just of of the Raja's many daughters, and is doomed to stand out because of her horoscope - a prediction that she will be partnered with death. Only the mysterious Amar can help her escape to something more.

I received a free copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
This is the first book I have read by Chokshi, and it was a solid 4.5 stars for me.

I confess, I know nothing about Indian folklore; but I didn't feel like that held me back at all. Chokshi's descriptions are so colourful and real that I never felt lost in this wonderful story.
As you enter the Night Bazaar and the land of Ankara, you get the feeling of following the white rabbit to Wonderland; anything and everything is possible.

The story starts off with Maya at the only home she knows, where her father's other wives treat her with fear and hatred, just because of a horoscope that she has no control over. The good news is, at least with her terrible horoscope, Maya will never attract a husband - she hates the idea of exchanging one prison for another; being one wife in a vast harem.
All that changes when her father wishes to use her to entice his enemies into a trap. When everything goes wrong, Amar shows up to whisk her away to Ankara to be his queen, with the enticing promise of being his equal.
There is a slow building of her new world, of the palace and its rules; of the secret of who Amar really is; why Maya is there and what she is capable of. It felt a little too slow and repetitive sometimes, but otherwise it was beautifully done. There are mysteries to unravel, and Maya has to work out what lies are being told, and if Amar really did save her.

The last third of the book kicks off in a different direction, and I loved it. Mostly because Maya starts to take control of her life; but also because of Kamala. A demonic talking-horse that likes to eat people. I absolutely loved her!

I would definitely recommend checking out this book, and I can't wait to read more of Chokshi's work!

Goodreads link

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