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.
Now, I realize that when I first read The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi that I never actually wrote a review for it! So, upon my receipt of an Advanced Reading Copy of the companion novel, Crown of Wishes, I decided to re-read TSTQ in order to prepare myself for more the feels that are going to come along with revisiting Guari and Bharata.
Finally, here is my review of TSTQ!
One of my favorite parts of Chokshi’s novel is the noted difference between the treatment of women in the kingdom of Bharata and how Amar promised to treat her within Akaran while she ruled alongside him. It was interesting to see through the eyes of a daughter kept within the harem inside her kingdom, and while that wasn’t the focus of the novel, it was so great to see this kind of diversity in a young adult book. I was a little bothered by the slut-shaming comment upon my re-read, when Maya throws “spreading legs” at one of the meaner harem wives. But it wasn’t something that was a deal-breaker in this story for me.
Maya has a ton of fire in her personality and I love that she has that spunk and the urge to be as much as an individual as her society allows, and I love that. She’s quick witted and stronger than she appears. Now, with these traits, comes negative things: Maya is impulsive and more gullible than I remember from my first read. I love that Chokshi has created a whole character full of strengths and flaws. If there’s anything I can’t stand in young adult literature is when a main character is not well rounded and Maya is so well written as a frustrating and lovely character. Such a great character creation by Chokshi.
The world that Chokshi has created in The Star-Touched Queen is complex and wonderful. The different worlds that the reader discovers alongside Maya, specifically the Night Bazaar (to quote Liz Lemon, “I want to go to there.”), has been beautifully created through flowery and expressive language. I normally don’t like excessively descriptive narrative (a la Charles Dickens), but Chokshi’s writing is so enthralling that I found myself growing to love it.
As for the love story, I’m looking forward to Amar and Maya’s relationship in the novella Death and Night, because for me The Star-Touched Queen was so much more about Maya’s journey to remembering her past lives and becoming the strong woman she needed to be to restore balance to her world.
Also, is anyone else super interested in their horoscopes after reading this?
Overall, I’m so glad I went to re-read and spent more time with Maya and it makes me look forward to Crown of Wishes so much more! If you haven’t had a chance to read this beautiful book, then order a copy as soon as you can.