ARC Review: The Star-Touched Queen

The Star-Touched Queen


Title: The Star-Touched Queen

Author: Roshani Chokshi

Series: N/A

Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin

Release Date: April 26th 2016

Rating:

Five Stars

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 secretsβ€”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.

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.

– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“I wanted a love thick with time, as inscrutable as if a lathe had carved it from night and as familiar as the marrow in my bones. I wanted the impossible, which made it that much easier to push out of my mind.”

Maya has been haunted her whole life by her horoscope, which foretells a marriage of Death and Destruction, because of it she is seen as cursed by the harem wives and her half-brothers and sisters, and she is avoided and feared by her father’s people. She uses her curse to make her tutors flee and hides in the rafters to listen to her father’s council meetings. It is there that she overhears his plans to marry her off to control the brewing rebellion which is taking the lives of the soldiers the Raja sends to fight.

Also assuming her horoscope would keep her from being married off Maya soon finds herself with no other choice but to pick one of the rebellious Raja’s to marry. However when the day dawns an attack by the rebel leaders has been planned and Maya, faced with either death or the man who claims he can save her, picks Amar. She chooses him and marries him and he whisks her from the fight, from her father’s castle, to his kingdom, Akaran.

“That night, I dreamed of locked doors and baying hounds, rooms that were night-dark and a beast-king that smiled and laughed around a mouthful of broken stars to sing one phrase over and over: I know the monster in your bed.”

Akaran is a place of magic, a place Maya believed only existed in the stories she told her younger sister. Now she is it’s queen she spends her days wondering the halls, discovering everything her new home has to offer hidden behind the doors of all shapes and sizes which line the halls. She walks through a garden made of glass and uncovers rooms full of stars, snowdrifts floating upside down, and eggs painted with all kinds of exotic birds. However there are still things she doesn’t know about her new kingdom, things her husband is keeping from her until the new moon where he will reveal everything.

Maya isn’t content to wait, not when she hears someone whispering to her in the middle of the night, not when she sees secret doors which disappear as soon as she turns towards them, not when she overhears of a mysterious ‘she’ whom Amar whispers about. Soon Maya is faced with a choice between a husband who hides secrets from her and an old friend who seems to only have her best interests at heart, and the wrong choice could spell the Destruction foretold in her horoscope.

…The Characters

“Whatever magic had unearthed meaning in stars, my celestial forecast was shadowed and torn, and the wives never let me forget. It made me hate the stars and curse the night sky.”

Maya has learnt to live with the curse her horoscope shadows her with, she holds her head high and uses people’s perceptions of her against them. She doesn’t want to marry, but she has no choice and believes choosing a Raja will help end the war that plagues her people. Maya is an incredibly strong and brave character. She makes hard choices even before she chooses Amar but she doesn’t make them recklessly. She knows what she wants and she goes through with it to protect not only the people she loves but the people she feels responsible for as a princess and later a queen.

In Akaran Maya doesn’t trust her husband straight away, without knowing him and his kingdom she cannot trust him but she respects his wishes to wait until the new moon to tell her the truth about everything. Until she grows weary of the secrets. There are voices whispering to her, telling her something different about her husband. Maya can’t help but wonder what the truth really is and what kingdom she has been brought to. Once again Maya is forced to make some hard choices but she doesn’t make them lightly.

“My star-touched queen,” he said softly, as if he was remembering something long ago. “I would break the world to give you what you want.”

Amar is a enigmatic character, without telling Maya the truth about who he is and about his kingdom it is hard to truly know him. However he gives Maya everything he can. He shows her all his world can offer; the Night Bazaar, all the rooms in his home which offer such wondrous things. Amar is a kind man but more than that he is a perfect fit for Maya. He is a strong ruler and pushes Maya to become the same. He sees the potential she keeps hidden and tries to help her embrace it instead of hiding behind it.

“What do you want from me?”
He stopped, the smile was gone from his lips.
“I want your perspective and honesty,” he said, before adding in a softer voice, “I want to be humbled by you. My kingdom needs a queen. It needs someone with fury in her heart and shadows in her smile. It needs someone restless and clever. It needs you.”

There are so many things Amar keeps from Maya, things he can’t reveal until the new moon, which seems to weaken their relationship slightly. Amar needs Maya to trust him but she can’t fully until she knows the secrets he keeps from her. However Maya feelings for him still grow in spite of not truly knowing him. Amar treats her as a true queen and not like one of the women her father kept in his harem, he gives her the stars to wear in her hair. The relationship between them is an incredibly strong one; Amar wants everything from Maya, her love, her trust. He wants her to rule besides him forever and he pushes her to trust in her own judgments, her own strength, her own power. In her father’s court Maya is a princess, one of many, but in Amar’s home she starts to become a queen, the only one capable of ruling besides Amar.

…The Setting

“The weeks before, I had lost myself in the folktales of Bharata. Stories of elephants who spun clouds, shaking tremors loose from ancient trunks gnarled with the rime of lost cyclones, whirlwinds and thunderstorms. Myths of frank-eyed naga women, twisting serpentine, flashing smiles full of uncut gemstones. Legends of a world beneath, above, beside the one I knew―where trees bore edible gems and no one would think twice about a girl with dark skin and a darker horoscope.”

The main thing which drew me to this book first of all was the setting; described as ‘a lush and vivid story that is steeped in Indian folklore and mythology’ The Star-Touched Queen sounded like the kind of book I’d love. Luckily while reading it I discovered the world-building was even better than I could have hoped. Maya’s life in her father’s court is filled with her stories of worlds and places far far away, but when she flees with Amar through the Night Bazaar to Akaran she finally sees all the things she’s only ever read about. The Night Bazaar is a place filled with magic and wonder, colour and life, a place where you can buy dreams, nightmares and love charms. Once in Akaran there is a world behind every door, a portal behind every mirror.

There was something about the setting for The Star-Touched Queen that reminded me of The Night Circus. The two stories are not similar in any other way but while reading The Night Circus I couldn’t wait to see what wonders were hidden inside each of the circus tents. It was the same in The Star-Touched Queen, as Maya explored her kingdom and encountered so many magical wonders behind each door I couldn’t wait to see what she discovered next.


The Star-Touched Queen was one of my most anticipated releases for this year, reading it this book was so much better than I ever thought it could be. The writing and world-building was beautifully done and the whole story had such a magical and lyrical feel to it that honestly I never wanted this book to end, but at the same time I couldn’t put it down.

What did you think of The Star-Touched Queen? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

All quotes have been taken from an ARC and may differ in the final publication.

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20 thoughts on “ARC Review: The Star-Touched Queen

    1. It’s definitely in the running for my favourite book of 2016 πŸ˜€ Honestly it more than lives up to all the hype so I think you’ll love it as well! But it’s not that much longer until it’s released so hopefully you’ll be able to get it and start it soon! ❀️

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Jenna. I’m glad you liked my review so much. This book is definitely worth the wait, I thought it was amazing, so much better than I ever thought it would be ❀️
      I’ve definitely put this author on my auto-buy list now thanks to this book!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I keep seeing this book everywhere and it’s fueling my NEED to buy it when it’s released! Especially if it reminded you of The Night Circus in any small way, because that’s one of my favourite books ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. God yes this book is amazing. I’ve already pre-ordered it in hardcover it was that good!
      It was parts of the world in The Star-Touched Queen that reminded me of The Night Circus, even though the stories aren’t similar they both have that sense of magic that made me wish they were real places!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahhh, now I am certain that I’m going to love this book πŸ˜€ I’ve been dying to read it ever since I heard about it because the concept just sounds so incredibly fascinating. It’s so great to hear that you enjoyed it! I’m sad I missed out on the ARC, haha. Oh well! At least I don’t have much longer to wait now πŸ˜€ I can’t wait! Fantastic review like always, Beth!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely loved it, it completely smashed my expectations!
      I was the same actually, when I read the blurb this became one of my most anticipated releases for April because it sounded amazing! The story, the characters, the world-building and history were all excellent.
      I really hope you love this book as much as I did, and thanks πŸ™‚ I’m glad you liked my review!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I keep hearing about this book lately, and I’m so, so happy that you liked it this much. I feel like it’s one of those great, different books with such an interesting and intriguing world-building, and I am so curious about the writing of the story. Thank you for this great review πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It definitely being hyped up a lot but from what I read it is more than worth the hype surrounding it. It’s currently in the running for my top read of the year πŸ˜€
      It’s a brilliant fantasy book, the concept is so unique but it’s more than got the world/building to back it up, while reading some parts the setting was my favourite part of the story.
      That’s all right. I’m glad you liked my review πŸ™‚ do you think you’ll pick this book up once it’s been released?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What a great review, and I’m STOKED to see that you enjoyed it so much! Maya sounds like a wonderfully likeable protagonist, and Amar the perfect partner to her stubbornness. I’m super curious about how the horoscopes work and the world-building as well and I’m glad to hear that you found it to be better than you expected. Nothing quite like a book that blows your expectations out of the water, after all. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing and I’m reaaaal excited to read this one. ❀️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Reg! Yes I literally had no complaints about this one. It’s definitely in the running for my favourite book of the year πŸ˜€
      All the characters were amazing, they were all so well developed but even beyond that everything else about this book was well developed too; the myths, the setting, the customs and rules of the world Maya lives in.
      This book completely blew my expectations out of the water, and they were high already because this was a book I was majorly excited for! I really really hope you enjoy it as much as I did πŸ™‚

      Like

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