The title and synopsis drew me to Roshani Chokshi's debut
novel, THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN. Unfortunately, they weren't
enough to sustain my interest throughout the whole story.
Maya is a 17-year-old girl, cursed with a "bad horoscope"
that promises death and destruction, so she is shunned by
everyone in her father's harem. Rather than let her pursue
her scholarly interests, her father opts to marry her to
quell a mounting rebellion.
Maya marries Aram, king of Akaran, a country she's never
heard of. There are a lot of questions and secrets
surrounding this kingdom. I don't want to give anything
away, but I will say Chokshi uses a lot of flowery
descriptions and while interesting; I'm not sure how much
they add. It feels as if at times, she's trying too hard to
give us pretty prose. She's a talented writer, but I'd
rather see her working toward fleshing out plots than
painting lavish pictures.
The story has some good concepts such as a shunned girl
finding her place elsewhere, gaining some power and maybe
even love, but there are a lot of disjointed parts and too
many unanswered questions even at the end. For example,
Aram had his face covered at first and I never understood
why. Also, rather than sticking to one pantheon for her
mythology, and maybe I'm just not familiar enough with
Indian mythology, it seemed that there was too much thrown
at us for enough of it to have meaning and odd characters
appeared almost for the sake of being odd. The talking
demon horse comes to mind.
I read a short story of hers after the novel which I
enjoyed much more, so I definitely think she has talent. My
last quibble is that Chokshi described Maya as a strong
character, but she seemed weak to me, believing whatever
she was told without proof or any evidence to the contrary.
Not much redemption in realizing you made bad decisions. I
might try another novel of hers to see if she's grown as a
writer, but for me this story fell flat. That said, there
are many who loved THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN (including praise
quotes from writers
I adore such as Sarah J. Maas), so I'm afraid you'll have
to decide for yourselves on this one.
Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to
be the queen of a kingdom when you're only
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...
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
A lush and vivid story that is steeped in
Indian folklore and mythology. The Star-touched Queen is a
novel that no reader will soon forget.