Cursed with a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, sixteen-year-old Maya has only earned the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her world is upheaved when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. But when her wedding takes a fatal turn, Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Yet neither roles are what she expected. As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds friendship and warmth.
But Akaran has its own secrets - thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Beneath Akaran's magic, Maya begins to suspect her life is in danger. When she ignores Amar's plea for patience, her discoveries put more than new love at risk - it threatens the balance of all realms, human and Otherworldly.
Now, Maya must confront a secret that spans reincarnated lives and fight her way through the dangerous underbelly of the Otherworld if she wants to protect the people she loves.
The Star-Touched Queen is a lush, beautifully written and vividly imagined fantasy inspired by Indian mythology.
I received this ARC from the publisher via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.
Roshani Chokshi brings us a story that's rich in mythology! The Star-Touched Queen is based on Indian mythology, but yet you can see other threads of mythology in it as well. I felt like I was seeing Greek mythology with the Persephone myth as well as a thread of two of the Psyche and Eros myth, which also brings about Beauty and the Beast, just saying! And at times I also felt like I was seeing bits of Bluebeard, which is so not mythology but just a fairy tale like read, but it was just in little ways. Like a moment or two that made me think, Bluebeard.
Needless to say, The Star-Touched Queen is rich in mythology, but yet, there were times I was struggling to follow along. Perhaps its because I wasn't at all familiar with the Indian myth that this is based on. If I had been exposed to it or at least read this particular myth maybe I would've had a better understanding of it as well. But then there was also the use of a LOT of Indian vocabulary that I wasn't familiar with. And the worst part? No glossary! Occasionally, there was a definition of sorts after the word was used, but not often enough. So the characters are throwing out words and I have no idea what they are saying!
The writing as well got a little too flowery or metaphoric like. There would be comparisons going on to a situation and then they really get heaped on you. And again, they just came off too "flowery". I'm all for using metaphors and such, but at times, I felt like they were really overused.
The story is of Maya, who has a cursed horoscope that will basically mean her doom eventually. Her father wishes to marry her off to one of their "enemies" since the kingdom is at war with several other countries and then he even goes on to imply that she should commit suicide to make things better and that war can happen! It was a bit convoluted at times, but it's not long before she is whisked away by a strange man who offers her freedom, marriage, and power. Seeing not other better options she accepts.
The Persephone myth really comes into play at this point. As her new husband, Amar takes her to his kingdom which is just filled with mystery and secrets and this is where I saw the threads of Bluebeard. It's the secrets that really started to weigh on me! There was so much we didn't know and Amar was keeping secrets from Maya. It was a mess!
The latter half of the journey is Maya realizing she made a huge mistake and is trying to correct it and save the man she loves. And along the way, she learns quite a few things.
While this was a read I thought I could totally get into, I felt more confused than anything. Perhaps knowing what Indian myth this is based off of could've led me to find it and read it in order to get more knowledge about the story happening, but I wasn't really sure what myth it could be since I never learned about Indian mythology in school.
In the end, the read was only so-so for me. And it's basically because I had no clue what was going on. Had I any knowledge on Indian mythology, maybe it would've been more enjoyable. But with that lack of knowledge and a lack of glossary, which I felt could've made a world of difference to the story, just made this read too hard to get into. I felt like many times I should stop and start doing heavy research to understand what was going on, but I honestly don't like to do that during a read because I really just want to read the book.
But if you like mythology in general, and perhaps have a stronger knowledge of all the different kinds, then this read might be for you! For me, it was just more confusing and I felt like if I had more background information on this particular myth, I might have enjoyed it more.
Overall Rating 2/5 stars--and do remember 2 stars means it was just an okay read under my rating system!
The Star-Touched Queen releases April 26, 2016