Title: The Star-Touched Queen
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Published: By St. Martin’s Griffin on April 26th, 2016
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
(adapted from Goodreads)
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. 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. 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.
I took a long while to read this book for a couple of reasons. One, the writing demanded that I pay attention to every word. The prose was beautiful and flowery and not at all what I’d expect. The second reason was that the first half of the book is not nearly as engaging as the second. The characters were problematic for me. I couldn’t relate to a single one, although I enjoyed Kamala and Gauri’s cameos. The romance was not as well-developed as I’d have liked; it was rather confusing throughout a major chunk of the book and I didn’t care for it. The writing style, while being impressive, also threw me off at crucial places. What I loved about this book was the Indian setting. The author has done a fantastic job of highlighting Indian culture and has retold several myths in unique ways.
I would recommend the book to those who want to read some diverse fantasy based on Indian myths and those who like prose that reads like poetry. For the food, of course you have to pair it with Indian food! The book mentions naan and curry, so you can’t go wrong with that. For dessert lovers, I’d suggest some lip-smacking hot jilebis. I was not listening to any music while I read this because I had to focus on the words that much, but you can pair it with some lilting sitar or flute music.
Have you read the book? How would you rate it? Is it on your TBR? Do you have any other Indian-inspired fantasy recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments section below.