As THE GILDED WOLVES comes out tomorrow, I decided to write a review of THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN, the first in Roshani Chokshi’s duology. This post CONTAINS SPOILERS.
If you would like to read the spoiler free post click here. To begin, here is the summary and a quick review before the extended review:
Summary: 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.
Why I was interested: I purchased TSTQ shortly after it was published. It contained an intriguing description (I love a good twist on the Hades and Persephone tale), a lush cover, and a setting I wanted to live in. I later found out that at the time I was reading it, Roshani had been a law student at my alma mater, the University of Georgia, when I was an undergrad student and it really made me want to read it even more.
Side note: After I read TSTQ and as a senior in college who knew she wanted to become an author in the future (and still do), I had reached out to Chokshi via email and sent her a couple questions for advice. I still really appreciate her responses and answers, and this past fall I was able to meet her at YALLFEST in Charleston.
Judge a book by it’s cover: I’m kind of obsessed with this cover! It’s so dreamy and colorful.
What to expect: This book is filled with lush, poetic writing and a romance that you will fall head over heels for. The structure of the books is pretty amazing (more on that later), and the characters are unforgettable.
Why you should pick this book up: If you do read THE GILDED WOLVES and have yet to read THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN, I highly suggest for you to do so. If you enjoy any king of Hades and Persephone-like retellings, I highly suggest you to pick this up. If you love mythology and Indian folklore — I think you get my point.
Want more?: This is the first in the duology. Without giving any spoilers away, the second book in the series, A CROWN OF WISHES, follows a different main character, one that is mentioned in TSTQ. There is also a collection of short stories/novellas, STAR-TOUCHED STORIES, that is available and just as lush as the other two books. And, if you have read THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN, continue reading the full review with spoilers here.
ATTENTION: IF YOU HAVE YET TO READ THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN do not continue reading. The following contains spoilers for the book.
Media Gal Reads’ Review:
Roshani Chokshi’s THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN is a star in its own right. Filled with magical mythology and a heady romance, there is not much more to want in this story. Chokshi’s lyrical pose is captivating and enchanting and the thought behind the story is a deeper level that is appreciated.
But how the story progresses and evolves — that is where this story truly comes alive.
The structure of TSTQ is unlike anything I’ve read before — granted, you may take that with a grain of salt. It is very honest that the story is influenced by Indian mythology and the idea of reincarnation is introduced as early as page 5, but it is truly brilliant how the idea of reincarnation is used not only within the plot but also within the story’s structure making this romance dreamy beyond compare.
In the beginning, we meet Maya, a daughter of the Raja whose horoscope promises death and destruction. Soon Maya is promised to be a bride but it is shadowed by knowing she will be killed in the act. However when Amar, the Raja of Akaran, convinces her to leave with him, she does so without hesitation.
Their romance blossoms in Akaran and the mystical Night Bazaar but mystery does so as well. She wonders who exactly her new husband is and what information is being held from her. She wonders about the door and room only she can see. Questions fill her mind and they won’t stop even as she tries to trust Amar.
But soon she realizes he is Death incarnate and when betrayal shows itself, Maya soon remembers her own past — that she was Night incarnate in another life before the one she currently possesses and one we follow.
Here the structure gets fascinating.
We read and learn about her previous life as she remembers, but Maya is also sent away from her current life as soon as she does so.
Maya is exiled by both Bharata, her home as Maya, and Naraka, her home with Amar. She is at once both and neither Maya and who she was before.
She travels and even goes through Bharata where we learn she is not forgotten by Guari, the sister she loved, as time has drastically passed, before reentering the Night Bazaar. (Note: As I write this, I am once again on the verge of tears as I search this story. It’s that beautiful.)
Thread, the thread of life and the magic tapestry, pulls everything together and Maya and Amar’s full story comes to the readers (and I promise, you will probably cry). Every thread is righted and their love becomes one as Maya/Yamuna/Yamini defeats Nritti.
TSTQ is a beautiful book. It contains clever dialogue and descriptions as the story is imaginative. The structure blew me away between the different levels of time and space and story. It’s so tight and imaginative. If you have yet to read this, I highly suggest for you to pick it up immediately. (And then A CROWN OF WISHES and STAR-TOUCHED STORIES.) I personally cannot wait to read THE GILDED WOLVES, but I can see myself rereading TSTQ very, very soon.
What did you think of Roshani Chokshi’s THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN? I’d love to hear your comments below!
Thanks for stopping by!
MG, Media Gal Reads