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.”
” ‘My star-touched queen,’ he said softly, as if her were remembering something from long ago. ‘I would break the world to give you what you want’ ” Page 160
First, I have to say that this is one of the most stunning covers I have seen all year. It is absolutely beautiful! As far as the story goes, it was equally beautiful. A combination of fairy-tales, mythology and Indian culture, The Star-Touched Queen is a lovely, heart-wrenching story about love, fate and redemption.
Mayavati, Maya for short, is a princess of Bharata and she is cursed. Her horoscope only predicts darkness and death and all of the wives in the harem shun her because of it. Maya isn’t sure if she believes in her horoscope. Strange things have happened around her, but was she truly meant to cause death around her? When her father, the Raja, decides a marriage is the best decision for peace between other kingdoms Maya consider running away. She doesn’t want to be trapped. When an unexpected turn of events brings Maya to Amar, the Raja of Akaran, she travels with him to his kingdom with the promise of indescribably power. Amar wants Maya to be his equal, not just his wife. The more Maya learns about Akaran, the more secrets she discovers. Where is this strange kingdom that she has never heard of? What secrets is Amar keeping from her?
This was such a magical story. I felt like I was reading a fairy-tale and the writing was descriptive and beautiful. I was trying to think of the right word to describe the writing and imagery, and the only thing that came to mind is colorful. From the Night Bazaar to the strange portals and distant lands, everything is so colorful. One of the aspects I enjoyed most from this story was just following Maya to different realms and kingdoms.
I loved getting a glimpse of Indian culture and the Hindu myths that inspired this story. Storytelling was a huge theme throughout the story. First, it is Maya telling her younger sister Gauri stories before going to sleep. Throughout the story Maya tells and listens to stories to learn about her past, present and future. Sorry, I know that sounds extremely vague but the entire book had this light, magical quality to it that made it such a beautiful read. On Goodreads, Roshai Chokshi names a few Hindu myths that inspired this story and now I want to read more about them! Maya deals with some interesting topics throughout the story including fate, reincarnation and redemption.
The romance was also lovely. Its one of those ‘love transcends all’ relationships and it was pretty amazing to read! I wish we got more time with Amar, I loved his scenes with Maya and I would really like to know more about his history. Maya is also such a strong, independent character. Growing up she was often lonely, but she never lets that bother her. She continued to search for ways to better herself. When offered the chance to rule a kingdom, Maya accepts. She wants to learn and be strong and I had a lot of respect for her throughout the story.
While I really enjoyed this story and definitely recommend it to other readers, I couldn’t give it five stars for a few reasons. I wish the villain was better developed. She was definitely one of the more twisted, creepy villains I’ve read about in a while so I wish I knew more about her backstory. Another reason is the writing. Above, I mentioned that it is beautiful, and it is, but sometimes it was too much. Its a lot of flowery prose and metaphors with long sentences, and this often took away from the action of the story.
“The hollow inside me shifted, humming a reply in melted song. I could have been verse made flesh or compressed moonlight. Anything other than who I was now.” Page 59
See what I mean? Beautiful but at the same time, what does that mean. This made the story confusing at times and as I got further in the story I found myself skimming passages like that rather than enjoying them. Finally, the last thing that bothered me was the action that inspired all of the events of the story. I won’t go into too much detail, but to me it seemed like a pretty foolish decision to create such a catastrophic event.
Okay, rant over! While I did have a few issues with the story, I really really enjoyed it and it absolutely deserves the four stars. If you like mythology, fairy-tale like fantasies, you will enjoy this story.