by Roshani Chokshi
Reviewed by SA
Sometimes we all need a little magic in our lives, a captivating myth that reminds us of just how much a story can mean. The Star-touched queen is one of those stories: a novel unlike any I’ve ever read before, much more like a story passed on from generation to generation, of a powerful woman fighting for her place in the universe. It is a novel touched with magic!
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.
Maya is a princess who lives in a Harem with her father’s other wives and daughters. A smart, headstrong girl, she does not want the life expected of her: she’s much rather study than marry. When her father shares with her his plans for her marriage, which involve a sacrifice on her part, she is ready to do her duty – that is until Amar shows up, and whisks her away as his wife to the mysterious land of Akaran.
Amar is insanely in love with her, and proud to call Maya his wife. He wants to win her love over gently, and so those who like romance in their novels will be all over this swoon-worthy king. However, in an unusual twist, it is Maya who has to save her husband, and not the other way around, leading her on an epic quest across realms and worlds, with a snarky demonic horse by her side (can’t leave home without one!).
The book says it is inspired by indian mythology, which is a great way of saying that it feels like an indian myth but never claims to be one. In that way, it manages to grab you into the fiction: the kind of tale that takes place in a mythical, far away land, with heroes and deities. Almost like a western myth in an Indian setting.
So imagine if you will that you’re sitting with your friends and one is telling you the most engrossing story. That’s how this novel feels. Any flaw you find, whether you find one character unrealistic, or a plot point too predictable, will be shushed away: we’re trying to enjoy the story here! And it makes it impossible to find anything to dislike in it. You are transported somewhere else entirely.
The world building in this novel is AMAZING. The depth of it! There are realms and other worlds, people and deities, an elephant that knits clouds for the sky!I was completely captivated, completely taken away.
Honestly, I could go on and on and on about this amazing novel. You NEED to read it as soon as you can! Thankfully there’s not too long to wait – it comes out April 26th 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin.