Book: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Published April 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin|352 pages
Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library
Series: The Star-Touched Queen #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Cursed with a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, sixteen-year-old Maya has only earned the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her world is upheaved when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. But when her wedding takes a fatal turn, Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Yet neither roles are what she expected. As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds friendship and warmth.
But Akaran has its own secrets – thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Beneath Akaran’s magic, Maya begins to suspect her life is in danger. When she ignores Amar’s plea for patience, her discoveries put more than new love at risk – it threatens the balance of all realms, human and Otherworldly.
Now, Maya must confront a secret that spans reincarnated lives and fight her way through the dangerous underbelly of the Otherworld if she wants to protect the people she loves.
THE STAR TOUCHED QUEEN is a lush, beautifully written and vividly imagined fantasy inspired by Indian mythology.
I liked The Star-Touched Queen! As much as I wanted to love it, I didn’t, but I did love that it’s inspired by Indian mythology. I feel like, with all of the mythology re-tellings that seem to be cropping up lately, that there’s less of a focus on Greek mythology, and more focus on other mythologies. Like the Indian mythology we see in this book.
I have no knowledge whatsoever of Indian mythology, so I can’t say how much it matches up with Indian mythology. I did find this Q & A on goodreads helpful, since the author explains what myths she drew from/was inspired by. And it makes it easier to actually look up the myths on my own.
I did get a Hades/Persephone vibe from the book, which is odd, considering the book seems to draw on Indian mythology. That came through very strongly for me- much more than the Indian mythology the book is inspired by, but maybe that’s my own lack of familiarity with Indian mythology. And possibly because it seems like every culture has their own take on that story.
What I thought was most interesting about The Star-Touched Queen was how much I was reminded of things that were not India. I mentioned the Hades/Persephone myth, and I felt like this book was an interesting mix of India and the Middle East. Which isn’t that surprising, and some things did seem like they were Indian…but I also felt like there was something distinctly Middle Eastern about the book too.
Something about the mysterious castle and the locked doorways reminded me a lot of Cruel Beauty. If you like Cruel Beauty, this might be a book worth checking out. Cruel Beauty and A Star-Touched Queen are very different stories, though, and there was something very vivid about this story. I could picture things really well, and Chokshi paints a very vivid picture of this world.
I think part of why I didn’t like the book as much as I thought I would is because there were times were I had no clue what was going on. That’s partially my fault, because there were times where I wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have. And there were times where I think my lack of familiarity with the mythology worked against me, because I felt like I was missing something important. And when you add in the fact that I felt like things were sort of explained but not really, and the fact that it sort of meanders and is slow paced and takes a while to get to the point where things happen (which seemed to be several times).
Honestly, though, Maya didn’t stand out that much to me…and sadly, the same goes for the other characters. I am having a hard time remembering the characters…man, I really should have paid more attention when I was reading it, because I have the feeling I would have liked it a lot more if I had. Maybe I’ll do that…after reading up on Indian mythology, which also might help.
3 stars. I did like the world Chokshi created, and she paints a very vivid picture of this world. And even though I liked it, I didn’t love it, even though I wanted to! It’s definitely worth checking out, though.