“The Star-Touched Queen” by Roshani Chokshi (2016)
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Mythology
Page Length: 342 pages (hardcover edition)
Synopsis: 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. (description from Goodreads)
The Star-Touched Queen is a wonderfully written fantasy tale about a girl who goes on an enchanting journey. The main protagonist, Maya, grows up spurned by most of the people who reside in her father’s palace due to her deadly curse that surrounds her unfortunate horoscope. She has a fierce spirit, is kind, outspoken, and wishes for a life different from where she is currently living and also a place where she can finally feel accepted.
One day Maya becomes the queen of Akaran, an otherworldly place that seems like something she has only described in her made-up stories. While the palace and its surroundings are alluring at first glance, Maya soon realizes that there is more that what meets the eye and that Akaran may be a dangerous place. Maya becomes torn between the newfound power of her kingdom and her mysterious husband Amar who is full of secrets. What will she do?
This novel has all of the components of an exciting fantasy novel: mystical worlds, a heroine, smooth world building, and supernatural creatures! From page one Chokshi had me absolutely hooked into the story! The reader is introduced to Maya’s plight and then are thrown into the action of the plot. It’s fast paced with sharp twists, and I liked how romance was a big part of the story, but it also managed to not absorb all of the other things that were happening within the plot. Though Maya and Amar are attracted to each other first start, Maya is hesitant to jump headfirst into their new relationship as husband and wife. Then after certain instances occur, the novel really becomes a journey of self-discovery for Maya as she has to jump through various obstacles.
I love books that are built off of mythology and folktales, which is what drew me to this book besides it’s amazing gorgeous cover art. Mythology not makes an entertaining story, but I enjoy that it introduces me to other cultures to which I might not be familiar with. Being that this is an #ownvoices novel, I love that Chokshi enriches this tale with her cultural background and Indian mythology, along with the fantasy aspects. All elements are woven perfectly together, and with the author’s poetic writing style, The Star-Touched Queen is easily one of my favorite reads of the year.