by Roshani Chokshi
Series: The Star-Touched Queen #1
Published on April 26, 2016 by St. Martin's Griffin
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
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.
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I was really hesitant about writing this review because I know how loved this book is but not every book is for every reader and I struggled with The Star-Touched Queen.
Pretty sure I can hear the gasps of surprise from here.
Yes, I wasn’t fawning over this book from page 1 and it’s not for lack of trying. This book has been on my TBR for a bit too long but I couldn’t wait to start it. So when I went in with those somewhat high expectations I thought that maybe I was the reason I didn’t enjoy this one as much.
When it comes down to it, Chokshi has gorgeous writing. I mean, truly, it’s beautiful and artistic and it sweeps across the page as paint on a canvas, detailing a multi-faceted world steeped in a culture that I’ve never really experienced before (this is a good thing, mind you). But in all that detail, I felt a bit lost.
For the first half of the book, I never felt that hook, that draw, that need to read and read without stopping. The pacing is slow and the descriptions run rampant. And when the story did pick up, I wasn’t invested in the characters enough to care so much what happened with them.
But this world…this world has SO MUCH going on in it that I never really knew what was supposed to be happening. There was a plot in there somewhere but, for the life of me, I couldn’t tell you what it was other than a re-imagined Hades & Persephone re-telling (which I was so excited for because that’s one of my favorite myths). It’s one of those books that is so heavy on the world and building those pictures in a reader’s mind that the story gets lost in the process. Half the time I had no idea what was happening and the other half I was questioning the rules of the world itself. What’s allowed? What isn’t? I couldn’t find any consistency.
I think there was supposed to be some epic romance at the center of this story and it was there in pieces, but ruined by a case of insta-love. I liked Maya. I liked Amar. Despite their fate, I’m not sure I really liked them together.
Part of the reason is that I really didn’t feel anything toward Maya. She was the blank mind on the page, fulfilling her role but not really contributing like I wanted her to as the protagonist. This book gives off serious mythos vibes which is awesome if that’s what you’re looking to read (and don’t get me wrong, I love reading myths from different cultures and backgrounds) but even this was a bit much.
I know this is a popular one but I just couldn’t really love it. I’m looking forward to the sequel as I saw it’s from another character’s point-of-view so that may help balance out the world-building. Unfortunately for The Star-Touched Queen, it just wasn’t for me. Too much confusion, and it just didn’t keep my attention through any of it.