by Roshani Chokshi
Series: The Star-Touched Queen #2
Published on March 28, 2017 by St. Martin's Griffin
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Gauri, the princess of Bharata, has been taken as a prisoner of war by her kingdom’s enemies. Faced with a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. Hope unexpectedly comes in the form of Vikram, the cunning prince of a neighboring land and her sworn enemy kingdom. Unsatisfied with becoming a mere puppet king, Vikram offers Gauri a chance to win back her kingdom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together, they’ll have to set aside their differences and team up to win the Tournament of Wishes—a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor.
Reaching the tournament is just the beginning. Once they arrive, danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans and mischievous story birds, a feast of fears and twisted fairy revels.
Every which way they turn new trials will test their wit and strength. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.
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This book changed my entire opinion on this author’s work.
If y’all missed my review of The Star-Touched Queen, I’ll just say that it really just wasn’t the book for me. Despite the beautiful writing and descriptive storytelling, I found the story far too slow to keep my attention. It’s safe to say that A Crown of Wishes was the complete opposite, drawing on the best aspects of TSTQ while increasing the pace and painting a story of love and desire and loss and wishes.
Part of my love for this book falls to Gauri. I never liked Maya’s character (and she makes a brief appearance in this book but isn’t much like herself in the previous installment). But Gauri is the complete opposite. She has a fire in her that gave her an edge. She’s snarky and independent and holds her own.
The other part is Vikram. He isn’t your typical prince, but more mischievous and clever. A perfect counterpart to Gauri, he rules by intelligence instead of force, trusting in faith and wishes because he sees the power in them.
And damn…these two had me laughing and swooning all at once. Their banter was hysterical, the kind between two people that you know are going to get together but are still sorting through their feelings. I mean, they had some serious chemistry and I think their romance was as big a part of the story as the adventure and tasks they had to complete to gain a wish.
Much like in the last book, the writing was also absolutely gorgeous. Very reminiscent to older fairy tales and stories told with a flourish… but in a good way. It made for a big of dragging at times but overall the plot kept everything moving at a good pace and the writing flowed along with it.
With all this praise, it’s hard to say much toward the negatives. I loved this book way more than The Star-Touched Queen. The pacing was better, the characters more enjoyable to read about, and honestly I think I liked the story the best of all. I’ve always been a fan of stories involving magical creatures and wishes. Many of my favorites come from 1,001 Arabian Nights for that reason. But I still had that disconnect where I wasn’t turning one page after the next eager to see what happens. I ship Gauri and Vikram like no other but I wasn’t so invested in the story that I couldn’t put ACOW down. In fact, I set it aside several times before finally finishing it.
If you’re someone like me and didn’t like The Star-Touched Queen, I recommend reading A Crown of Wishes instead. In fact, you can skip the first book and won’t miss out on too much by just reading this sequel/companion. Not something I would normally say but in this case, there’s such a huge gap in my love of TSTQ vs ACOW that I feel it’s worth mentioning.