Author: Roshani Chokshi
Genre: Fantasy, Fairytale Retellings, Young Adult
Goodreads Synopsis: 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.
I’ve been dying to read Star-Touched Queen since last year. It was on my never-ending tbr pile. Also, it was one of the debut novels that I was most excited to read. Alright, many bloggers either love it or hate it. Where do I fall in this category? I felt this was an okay book, I couldn’t completely love it nor hate it.
The Star-Touched Queen had a lot of potential. First, it is loosely based on Indian mythology. It’s one of the first YA books I’ve encountered that has Indian mythology. Also, it incorporates Greek mythology like the story of Hades and Persephone. Secondly, this story involves a curse. Who doesn’t like a good story about curses? Maya’s horoscope happens to be the most deadly. She has one of the worst horoscopes possible, and it doesn’t help that her family ostracizes her. And lastly, the synopsis makes this book sound amazing.
What went wrong? One of my biggest issues was the romance. I said it. Very insta-love. I would have preferred a slow built romance, or even better executed love-hate relationship. There are no love triangles if you’re wondering. Thank God. Maya is instantly drawn to Amar. Amar rescues Maya from her home. He’s introduced as the mysterious stranger coming from an unknown kingdom. Maya doesn’t really question his motives and marries Amar. She leaves behind her old home, and lives in a mysterious kingdom. Maya constantly gets frustrated because Amar can’t reveal everything to her. Even after finding out the backstory, I was still not a fan of their romance. Sure, they had many scenes together, but I didn’t feel their chemistry. If the romance were more developed, I could have rated the book higher.
I didn’t particularly like Maya. Maya is shunned from the harem of women. Everyone sees her as bad luck. There is only one family member that loves Maya and that is her half-sister Gauri. I really felt sorry for Maya. She is a princess, and is treated unkindly. She has no mother, and absolutely no one to defend her. Most of the harem women want her dead. Maya has herself to rely on. Even her father doesn’t pay much attention to her. The only time he acknowledges her presence is to force her into a political marriage. Maya has no freedom in her own home. I’ve noticed that Maya is very trusting of people. She doesn’t immediately question a person’s intentions, and because of her trust, it becomes her undoing. I did like her character development towards the second half of the book. Sadly, I would have liked a bigger redemption arc for me to like Maya. As for Amar, I liked him much more than Maya, but I did find him boring. He has the best quotes in this whole book:
“I love you,” he murmured into my hair. “You are my night and stars, the fate I would fix myself to in any life.”
I also liked how much he was shrouded in mystery. I didn’t know what to expect from Amar.
The plot didn’t really move forwards till the second half of the book. The first portion of the book did drag out a bit. This is a story about reincarnation. I felt that there wasn’t enough focus on the whole reincarnation aspect. It was glossed over. It would have been cool to know about Maya’s previous lives. Especially how she and a certain someone grew up together…but that doesn’t happen.
What I liked was the writing style. Absolutely beautiful.
“Then what do you want form me?”
“I want to lie beside you and know the weight of your dreams,” he said, brushing his lips against my knuckles. “I want to share whole worlds with you and write your name in the stars.” He moved closer and a chorus of songbirds twittered silver melodies. “I want to measure eternity with your laughter.” Now, he stood inches from me; his rough hands encircled my waist. “Be my queen and I promise you a life where you will never be bored. I promise you more power than a hundred kings. And I promise you that we will always be equals.”
The world building was just as great. And my favorite characters from this book were the horse and Gauri. Even though Gauri is hardly in the book, I like her relationship with Maya. I would have liked to have read more about their relationship.
I know this is random, but Star-Touched Queen reminded me a lot of A Court Of Thorns and Roses. Is it just me? Both books didn’t pick up till the second half. A redemption arc for both female protagonists. Tamlin and Amar were boring. There’s a curse. The villain has a tragic backstory. (Minus the whole faerie courts, and Rhysand)
Do I recommend this book? Not really. There are other books out there that are much better. I did like how unique it was. Also, there’s a companion novel to this book which is very unnecessary. Will I be reading it? Not sure. I felt the story ended on a good note.
Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️