A lush and vivid story steeped in Indian folklore and mythology, Roshani Chokshi's The Star-touched Queen is a novel that no reader will soon forget. An instant New York Times bestseller!
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.
A princess's destiny may lie among the stars in Chokshi's exquisite debut novel. Princess Mayavati of Bharata is only one among her father's many children, and her horoscope says that death is her constant shadow. Her kingdom is on the brink of war, and when her father announces that she soon must choose her husband, it comes with a horrible catch. When a mysterious stranger, Amar, breaks into Maya's room and offers her the keys to his kingdom, she only hesitates for a moment before being whisked away to Akaran, a haunted place where mirrors offer glimpses of strange lands, and an enchanted tapestry holds the fate of millions in its threads. Chokshi's prose is captivating, and the pages come alive through lush descriptions of Night Bazaar teeming with Otherworldly delights, gardens made of glass, and realms where the lines between life and death are blurred. Maya is a strong heroine, and while there is romance, an emphasis on familial love adds another level of richness to a folkloric fantasy about sacrifice, self-discovery, and making your own destiny. Ages 13 up.
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Creation of a new, modern myth
I would like to thank St. Martin's Press & NetGalley for a copy of this e-ARC to review. Though I received this ebook for free, that has no impact upon the honesty of my review.
Goodreads Teaser: "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."
This is a fantastic creation, pieces of several Indian mythologies woven together into something new and wholly its own. At once a story of self discovery, love, and ultimate power; this story spans lifetimes while only taking a few short years to occur. Thus is the magic of Akaran, Amar, and even Maya if she's willing to accept it.
I enjoyed Maya. She's feisty and smart, and stubborn to a dangerous fault. She's also loyal, caring, compassionate, and sometimes wise. But at the same time she's like most people, which means she doesn't like being kept in the dark. The longer the truth is kept from her the more inclined she is to trust in whispered secrets. Can she get past her desire for true freedom and trust Amar until all is to be revealed to her, or will her impulsiveness get her into trouble?
Amar is a harder character to get to know. He seems kind and certainly his love for Maya seems real. But since the story is told from Maya's point of view we don't get much more than her fleeting interactions with Amar to gauge his true intentions. But what we see of him makes him a likable character, even if he does seem to be keeping secrets.
The progression of the story is fairly smooth, and I like the way the story is frequently shown to us rather than simply being told. Although her background seems a tad long, its importance becomes clear deeper in the tale. Add in all the fantastic mythological beings, and parts of various myths, and you get a lovely, original story built on the bones of exceedingly beautiful, though sometimes frightening, Indian myths. This story stands up very well on its own; it also provides plenty of fodder, fueling my desire to learn more about the original Indian myths used to help craft such a powerful tale.
Such a good read!
This book is eye-opening, exciting, full of fantasy and adventure. The love dynamics are so honest and real, yet not the focus of the plot. It uses lots of Indian folklore throughout the story. It’s descriptive and engaging. I literally could not put this book down. I highly highly recommend more to read this!