“I love you,” he murmured into my hair. “You are my night and stars, the fate I would fix myself to in any life.”
― Roshani Chokshi,
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.
This book! Omg this book. It has been a great summer for reading. It’s the first summer I’ve gotten to relax and I’m not doing a million and one things so I’ve really enjoyed knocking out a few books on my TBR. I’ve read 24 of 35 books for my Goodreads challenge so far. I’ve been trying to burn through them pretty quick since I know I won’t have a ton of time to read once the baby gets here in September and teaching makes it hard to read for pleasure in the first place.
I picked this book up in Baltimore when we were visiting my husbands family this summer. I’ve been following the author, Roshani Chokshi on Instagram and Twitter for awhile now. She and Sabaa Tahir crack me up but this is the first thing I’ve ever read that she’s written. I know she has a sequel to this book out now, A Crown of Wishes, but from what I’ve read about her she also has some published short stories. And she’s working on a middle grade mythology novel for Rick Riordan’s new mythology publishing line coming out. I’m super excited about it! I love his books and now I love hers!
I was blown away by this book straight away. Her writing style is very eloquent and whimsical and it reminded me a lot of Renee Ahdieh’s writing style. Which might partly be because they’re both writing about Indian mythology and folklore but I just really enjoyed it. The entire story and the world building was so beautiful! Enchanting would probably be the best word for it.
I also highly enjoyed the main character Maya. Yes she’s technically a Princess but she didn’t come off that way. She’s an ambitious character who knows what she wants and loves with everything she has. And I appreciated how Chokshi didn’t make her perfect. Most heroines in books are beautiful, talented, witty, etc. While Maya was quick-witted she was also a normal 17 year old girl. She was has normal teenage insecurities and suffers from mild acne and has nappy hair. Everything about her is great in the book. She’s very relatable and endearing and strong-willed. There’s nothing at all I would change about any of the characters in The Star-Touched Queen.
Then there’s the Dharma Raja, her Prince of Death (Amar) who always finds her. Hubba-hubba! He is Mr. Perfect! I love him! He is patient with Maya and keeps a tree of memories for her to always remind her of their past lives together. He is a deity so he’s had to bring her back multiple times and always finds her because she has a very specific horoscope when she’s born. A dark, and mysterious horoscope that most people fear.
There’s something so romantic about reincarnation and the idea of finding your soulmate in each life. Like in the N’SYNC song “This I Promise You” from back in the day when J.C. sings “I’ve loved you forever… in lifetimes before.” One of the best lyrics ever! I’ve always wanted to read, and even thought about writing a story about lovers who find each other in each life. This whole story was just really special!
And then Nfritti comes along, who used to be Maya’s best friend in a past life but who is heartbroken over losing her beau, and feels like Maya betrayed her and did not help save him since she’s the queen that rules over death takes revenge on her and Amar. Maya must sift through all of the truth and lies weaved from Nfritti and from the half-truths that Amar has told her since he cannot speak about who he is and what he does until the moon allows it. Putting her blind faith into people is hard to do when the entire world has always been cruel to her and treated her like a pariah because of her unfortunate horoscope.
When Maya doubts herself and makes a huge mistake she must go to great lengths to correct her errors. This is when the story gets really interesting. Maya befriends a crazy, demon horse, aids her old kingdom and little sister who is now grown, and travels far and wide to get back to Amar and defeat Nfritti before it’s too late.
I gave this book 5/5 stars. It’s one of the best romantic stories I have read in YA and just an overall magical ride throughout the book. I can’t wait to order the second book. Chokshi is such an amazingly talented writer!!!!