The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

 The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

The Star-Touched Queen
by Roshani Chokshi
On Sale Date: April 26, 2016
Juvenile Fiction \ Fantasy & Magic
St. Martin's Griffin, 352 pages
Source: Publisher
My Rating: 5 Stars
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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 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.

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.

Rich with Indian mythology, The Star-Touched Queen vividly weaves a lushly written tale inspired by the love story between Hades & Persephone

THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN is a captivating retelling that takes inspiration from the stories of Hades and Persephone and Cupid and Psyche. What makes it so refreshing and unique is how author Roshani Chokshi creates something new by taking Indian mythology and infusing The Star-Touched Queen with gorgeous elements not seen often in young adult literature. It is a world filled magic, wonder, and danger - one that enchants with its newly reimaging of the Greek mythic tale of Hades and Persephone. At its heart, it is a love story, a romance between two strong, vibrant characters whose strengths and flaws make them as alluring as the world Roshani Chokshi creates in The Star-Touched Queen.

The Lost Princess - A Cursed Horoscope and A Celestial Destiny which Promises a Marriage to Death and Destruction

Sixteen-year-old Maya is cursed by the very stars as they reveal a horoscope prophesizing a marriage of Death and Destruction. It does not matter that she is a princess in her father's kingdom, she is scorned and ridiculed, feared ... left alone. Time which she uses to explore her father's archives. 

"The archives were cut like honeycombs and golden light clung to them, dousing every tome, painting, treatise and poem the soft gold of ghee freshly skimmed from boiling butter. I was only allowed to visit once a week— to meet with my weekly tutor before I inevitably scared him away. Every time I left the archival room, my arms brimmed with parchment paper. I loved the feeling of discovery, of not knowing how much I wanted something until I had discovered its absence."
Roshani Chokshi, The Star-Touched Queen

Of course, as a book lover, I loved the fact that our heroine is smart and has a thirst for knowledge. She is a collector of tales, and it is her lyrical voice spinning tales to readers and her beloved sister, that we are transported to realms where Indian myths collides beautifully with fairy tale motifs.  

"The week 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."
― Roshani Chokshi

Maya's world is about to change though as rumors of unrest threaten the kingdom. Her father, the Raja of Bharata, decides to arrange the swayamvara, welcoming rebel leaders as guest and suitors for Maya's hand in marriage - those with little knowledge of her doomed horoscope, in hopes of forming an alliance quailing outside threats. 

"I was no bride. I was bait."
― Roshani ChokshiThe Star-Touched Queen

Only, the wedding plans did not go accordingly, in fact, Death and Destruction followed, and this is where Maya meets Amar, **cue swoon** becoming his wife and the queen of Akaran. From here, magic ensues of my favorite kind, the kind myths, and fairy tales inspire.

Incredible Otherworldly Realms - Akaran and The Night Bazaar

The settings in The Star-Touched Queen are in a wonderful, otherworldly place where the atmosphere is unforgettable. The Night Bazaar and Akaran both are filled with magic and creatures. Here, Amar rules and as his new bride, Maya is introduced to the dark beauty it holds and its many secrets. Tapestries whose threads are the very fabric of human lives, thousands of locked doors and keys that open them, gardens made of glass and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. It is here that Maya and Amar begin to build a friendship with the beginnings of romance, but a darker force is at work and threatens Maya's life. 

The Forgotten Queen - A Heroines Journey

“My kingdom needs a queen,” he said. “It needs someone with fury in her heart and shadows in her smile. It needs someone restless and clever. It needs you.”
“You know nothing about me.”
“I know your soul. Everything else is an ornament.”
― Roshani ChokshiThe Star-Touched Queen

If you are familiar with Hades and Persephone and Cupid and Psyche, then you know there is a heroine's journey. There's magical tasks involved and helpers from the otherworldly realms. The Star-Touched Queen will not give readers any easy indication as to whether or not Amar and Maya can have their HEA. Fiery and smoldering their romance begins to bloom, but ... Roshani Chokshi does not make it that easy. Misunderstandings, secret plots, and dark magic all make an appearance and our heroine will set out on a quest where we can't help but wonder if all is lost. Along the way, she meets some very unique and surprising helpers. A journey of remembrance and transformation.

In the End

THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN, filled with lush writing, rich mythology, fantastic world-building, and an unforgettable hero and heroine, a must read for lovers of retellings and culturally diverse stories. A young adult fantasy that shines among the rest.