Title: A Crown of Wishes
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Series: The Star-Touched Queen, #2
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: March 28th 2017
Gauri, the princess of Bharata, has been taken as a prisoner of war by her kingdom’s enemies. Faced with a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. Hope unexpectedly comes in the form of Vikram, the cunning prince of a neighbouring land and her sworn enemy kingdom. Unsatisfied with becoming a mere puppet king, Vikram offers Gauri a chance to win back her kingdom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together, they’ll have to set aside their differences and team up to win the Tournament of Wishes—a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor.
Reaching the tournament is just the beginning. Once they arrive, danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans and mischievous story birds, a feast of fears and twisted fairy revels.
Every which way they turn new trials will test their wit and strength. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
I received an eARC of this book free from St. Martin’s Griffin. It in no way affects my views on A Crown of Wishes.
This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.
My Thoughts On…
Despite being a prince Vikram has no real power, if he must take the throne from his father he will not be a puppet king but a real ruler, so when he is given an invitation to compete in the Tournament of Wishes it’s never a question of whether he will attend or not. Vikram sees it as an opportunity to finally gain the respect and recognition he craves. However the invitation is for two and if Vikram wishes to compete he needs to find a partner.
Gauri has been betrayed by the people she thought she could trust and now she waits in a foreign prison for her execution. However when she finally comes face to face with the Ujijain prince she finds herself faced with a different offer; take part in the Tournament of Wishes as Vikram’s partner, and win her freedom and a wish. For Gauri, desperate to claim her country and her throne, she knows that escaping from one person on the run is easier than escaping prison and so she agrees.
However Vikram is not an easy man to fool, and before they know it the two have crossed the barrier into the Otherworld but as prisoners. Reaching Alaka before the start of the Tournament is only one part of the puzzle, requiring Vikram and Gauri to work together to survive. When they reach the Kingdom of Desire it’s a world unlike either of them has ever seen, and as the Tournament begins Gauri and Vikram come face to face with their secrets and fears, and are forced to discover what it is they really desire and what they’re willing to sacrifice for it.
The Star-Touched Queen was one of my favourite reads of last year so I was thrilled to see there was a companion novel being released. A Crown of Wishes is even better than the first book in my opinion. The plot didn’t seem to sneak up on you at the end, instead it was obvious from the start what Gauri and Vikram were moving towards. The characters were just as well developed but their relationship was built on something more than the idea of soulmates and reincarnation, and all the magic I loved from the first book was in the second.
Gauri tried to stand against her brother and take the throne of Bharata but he defeated her and threw her to his enemies. Now all Gauri wants is to return home, free her friend and save her people from Skanda’s rule. To go toe to toe with her brother Gauri was forced to do terrible things which weigh on her shoulders despite her knowing they were the best option she had at the time. Gauri has been forced to become a warrior and she has little in common with the girl Maya shared stories with; after losing her sister to the Otherworld Gauri no longer believes in magic.
Despite being away from Bharata the country and the people she left behind haunt Gauri. She agonises over what happened when her rebellion failed and what could be happening to the country under Skanda’s rule. Gauri uses Bharata to push her forwards, believing the wish from the Tournament can fix the mistakes she made when she faced her brother and played her hand too early.
Vikram is not a strong character in terms of physical strength, instead his power comes from his intelligence. He outwits Gauri and at every obstacle they face he tries to find the logical solution rather than relying on brute force to push his way past. However despite his intelligence and wit Vikram is not seen as a real prince by the Ujijain council. They have made him into a puppet and Vikram despises that. He sees the Tournament as a way to reclaim his power, sees the magic as his destiny and sees the adventure as the path he is meant to be on.
The relationship between Gauri and Vikram is one that took it’s time to develop. At the beginning they are simply two people forced together, unhappily in Gauri’s case, by forces beyond their control. However somewhere along the way they become uneasy allies, the only people they know they can trust in a world where magic is real and they aren’t sure of anyone’s real intentions, and eventually something more. The relationship between them was slow to build but it had a solid foundation as it started to grow.
When I discovered the companion novel to The Star-Touched Queen was focusing on Gauri I will admit I was a little nervous. One of the things that made The Star-Touched Queen stand out for me was the world it was set in and the magic which seemed to seep from every page. I was worried that Gauri’s story would solely be set in Bharata and there would only be small hints of magic, if any at all. Turns out I shouldn’t have worried. Everything I loved about the world-building in The Star-Touched Queen I discovered again in A Crown of Wishes. This time instead of exploring Akaran we get to see the Alaka, the Kingdom of Desire and a place where anything is possible. Just as Gauri and Vikram explored the lands while taking part in the Tournament I enjoyed discovering every secret this new world had to offer.
A Crown of Wishes was one of my most highly anticipated releases for this year, and after reading it I can say it more than lived up to my expectations. As much as I loved The Star-Touched Queen this one was even better. The world was just as magical but the plot was more engaging and the characters much better developed, both individually and together.
What did you think of A Crown of Wishes? 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.