The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

the star touched queen

Author: Roshani Chokshi

Genre: Fantasy, Fairytale Retellings, Young Adult

Links: Goodreads | Amazon

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.

overall feelings copy

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)

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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: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

 

An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir: Book Review

“There are two kinds of guilt. The kind that’s a burden and the kind that gives you purpose. Let your guilt be your fuel. Let it remind you of who you want to be. Draw a line in your mind. Never cross it again. You have a soul. It’s damaged but it’s there. Don’t let them take it from you.”

☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆ Goodreads Synopsis: Laia is a slave.

Elias is a soldier.

Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

Commentary: An Ember In The Ashes had a lot of hype earlier this year. I was hesitant to read it just because it would not live up to the hype like Red Queen or A Court Of Thorns And Roses. After reading the book, it was certainly entertaining, but still did not live up to the hype for me. It’s not my favorite book of this year, but  I do love how the book is set in ancient times. The book was really boring in the beginning, I considered dropping it. Once the trials were announced, that’s when everything got exciting. All those trials were extremely harsh. If I had to pick a favorite one, it would be the one where the aspirants were fighting magical creatures. ⤴︎ ε=ε=(ง ˃̶͈̀ᗨ˂̶͈́)۶ ⤴︎

I actually enjoy the love square in this book. I really liked Elias and Laia together, but I hope their relationship develops more in the sequel. My favorite part had to be during the Moon festival, such a cute moment between those two. But, that’s not my favorite couple, I actually like Laia with Keenan more because it felt that they had more chemistry with each other. I loved the love-hate relationship they had. Though I have a feeling  my pairing might not be endgame. I also liked the Helene and Elias relationship, though it was super complex. I feel Helene balances out Elias more than Laia. I feel pity for Helene because Elias is her unrequited love, and its must be really tough for her to witness Elias falling for Laia. Helene tried to look after Elias, but Elias kept misunderstanding her actions and it was a bit frustrating. I still feel he has romantic feelings for Helene, still hoping that Elias-Helene are end game. (╥╯θ╰╥)

Helene was amazing. She was a badass with a magical singing ability that can heal people. My goodness, she was great. My favorite character from this book, I liked her more than the two protagonists. As much as I like Helene, I did feel she was too naive. She kept putting her trust in the Empire and the Augurs, instead of her own judgement. Helene’s mission during the trials was to ensure Elias wins. She was willing to be used as a pawn in order for Elias to prevent his death. As noble as Helene is, she is also too ignorant and not compassionate towards Scholars. Because of this, Elias and Helene’s friendship becomes complex than it was before. Another character that I felt was a bit similar to Helene, had to be Laia  because Laia put her trust in the Resistance movement to save her brother without any hesitation, even though Mazen was super shady. Laia took on the mission of becoming a spy in the most dangerous location in that world, Commandant’s house. Laia was used by Mazen, he was never going to free her brother, despite her mother being the Lioness, ex-leader of resistance movement. I really liked how by the end of the novel, Laia was able to become stronger. My second favorite character had to be Izzy. She was the friend that Laia needed, and I was glad that Laia was able to secure Izzy’s freedom from slavery. I hope to see more of Izzy in the sequel. Also, I wish there were more parts with Keenan. ლ(ಠ益ಠლ

I just knew that Mazen was a traitor. ༼ つ ͠° ͟ ͟ʖ ͡° ༽つ From the moment he was introduced, there was something about him that I did not trust. My intuition was right about him. Even when Laia learned that her own brother did not trust the Resistance, that confirmed my suspicions. I find the Commandant really interesting, and I want to know why she became heartless. I want to know her backstory. I really liked her as the villain. I really did not like her, and there was only one moment in the book where I did feel slight pity for her. After finishing the book, I was amazed by how much she knew. She ends up victorious because she uses the Resistance and she has an new Emperor who she can manipulate, this really makes me excited for A Torch Against The Night. ヽ( ★ω★)ノ

There are so many unanswered questions!  ( ؕؔʘ̥̥̥̥ ه ؔؕʘ̥̥̥̥ ) First of all, who is Elia’s father? Was the commandant raped by him or did he betray her? Then, there’s also the matter of Cook. Did she end up being the traitor in the resistance that sold out Laia’s parents? What did Laia’s mother do to her to make resent her so much? I have the feeling that Laia’s parents did not die, but are in hiding. Lastly, who is that female augur that was helpful to Laia? I just hope some of these questions will be answered in the next installment. I really hope there are more point of views in the sequel. Hopefully Helene has her own pov since she is now the current Blood Shrike. Would I recommend this series? Yes, even though it was boring in the beginning. Trust me, it gets better as you keep reading.

Book Trailer

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3.7) ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆