Author: Roshani Chokshi
Genre: Young Adult | Mythology | Romance
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
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 (GoodReads).
One of my most-anticipated reads of 2016 had fascinating mythology, gripping prose, but a lackluster romance.
Plot: The Star-Touched Queen had my attention from the very beginning because Chokshi's writing is absolutely gorgeous. On her GoodReads page, she says that she is influenced by Laini Taylor and it is evident from her prose. Chokshi doesn't waste any time getting to the action, but it's not disorienting. The Star-Touched Queen is told from two parts; the first part focuses on Amar and Maya's romance while the second explores Maya's strength and self-discovery. I definitely preferred the second part of the novel over the first. The first half reminded me A Court of Thorns and Roses. Amar has an instant interest in Maya without much explanation, much like Tamlin in A Court of Thorns and Roses. I was frustrated by the "instalove" on Amar's half without much backstory. I think it's important to note that The Star-Touched Queen relies heavily on its romance. Think A Court of Thorns and Roses or Cruel Beauty.
Characters: I fell in love with Maya immediately. She was the loner in her father's palace - sent to isolation because of what her horoscope foretold. She's both fierce and vulnerable and I loved seeing her grow and become more confident in her abilities. A lot of secondary characters don't get much "screen time," but I still got a complete understanding of their personality and motivations.
And then there is Amar. Who doesn't love a troubled demon boy? I was especially impressed by how Chokshi wrote his character. She could have easily made him stony and unfeeling, but he is more than an archetype.
Worldbuilding: If anything, read The Star-Touched Queen for its mythology and setting. Chokshi beautifully blends fantasy in her realm of ancient India, so we get old stories from the elder generations and mystical creatures that would never exist in our realm. My google translate got a lot of love while reading this book because there was no dictionary in the e-ARC version, and there are a lot of terms from ancient Sanskrit littered throughout.
Short N Sweet: The world of The Star-Touched Queen is unlike anything you've read before; however, the romance did not meet my expectations.