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The Star-Touched Queen Hardcover – April 26, 2016
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Born with a horoscope that predicts a marriage of death and destruction, Maya is an outcast in her father's kingdom, Bharata. When Amar's political machinations go horribly wrong, Maya finds herself married to him and queen of Akaran-a mysterious place filled with secrets and magic. Amar offers Maya the chance to rule at his side and become more than Bharata ever would have allowed. All he asks in return is her patience and trust, which soon prove more than she can give. Her search for answers will lead her across worlds and through her own fragmented memories to discover surprising truths about her husband's kingdom and herself. Maya is refreshingly unapologetic about her ambitions and her desire for independence. Although her distrust and doubts lead to the main conflict of the story, she is quick to own those mistakes and works to correct them even when it might be to her detriment. Chokshi's debut fantasy is filled with vivid and unexpected imagery as Maya discovers the wonders and dangers found in her new home in the Otherworld. Well-researched figures from Hindu folklore and mythology, astonishing creatures, and expressive characters further complement the story. A setting drawn from ancient India, romance with feminist sensibilities, and a unique magic system reminiscent of Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Little, Brown, 2011) make this a novel sure to appeal to fans of Renée Ahdieh's The Wrath and the Dawn (Putnam, 2015). VERDICT A stunning debut filled with lush writing, smart characters, and a mysterious plot that provides as many twists as it does swoons.-Emma Carbone, Brooklyn Public Libraryα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Praise for The Star-Touched Queen:
New York Times Bestseller
#9 on the Summer 2016 Kids' Indie Next List
An Amazon Best Book of the Month
A Goodreads Best Book of the Month
“Chokshi's prose is captivating, and the pages come alive …. Maya is a strong heroine, and while there is romance, an emphasis on familial love adds another level of richness to a folkloric fantasy about sacrifice, self-discovery, and making your own destiny.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Richly imagined, deeply mythic, filled with lovely language… this is an author to watch” ― Kirkus Reviews
"Magic is woven into every word of the STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN. Vibrantly imaginative and gracefully written, I was spellbound from the first line. A dazzling, sensuous feast of world-building, romance, and mythology." ―Sarah J. Maas, New York Times Bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series.
"Roshani Chokshi has crafted a bewitching tale with a setting so vivid and unique, I wished I could step right through the pages." ―Amy Ewing, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Jewel
"Chokshi's storytelling glimmers like magic on every page-a novel meant to be savored." ―Cindy Pon, author of Serpentine and Silver Phoenix
"A luscious, bloodthirsty fairy tale with all the romance, magic, and gorgeous mythology I could ask for ―Tessa Gratton, author of Blood Magic and The United States of Asgard series
"Gorgeously poetic writing gives vibrant, sensuous life to the worlds of THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN." ―Kate Elliott, of Court of Fives
Top customer reviews
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Rating: 3/5 stars
The Star-Touched Queen is a book that’s been recently buzzing in the book community. The majority of ARC reviews were glowing, and the synopsis has such unique concepts. Once the release day approached, I couldn’t get my hands on it fast enough.
I started reading this as soon as I could. I really enjoyed the writing style and exposure to Indian mythology, but unfortunately other parts of the book fell flat for me. Some parts of the book that didn’t appeal to me as much were the prevalence of tropes, confusing explanations, and an eye-rolling romance.
This book is filled with lyrical writing that has vivid imagery with deep meanings. There’s a storytelling feel throughout that’s immersive and comforting. You know how some books have intentionally vague descriptions so that readers can create their own scenery themselves? Well, this book instead gives detailed illustrations that appeals to all of your senses.
Both being vague and being detailed are great in their own rights, but I think this type of story is better detailed because of the unfamiliarity most readers would have with some concepts. Right from the beginning of the book, I felt like I was in a new world, and what a beautifully described world that was. That being said, the depth of descriptions was sometimes too much – there were times when descriptions would either have too much flourish to fully grasp, or even contradict previous sentences.
There are unique and interesting concepts in the premise, some of which that aren’t found in the typical young adult novel. The book is based on Indian culture and mythology. The Indian culture aspects of the book include harems, arranged marriages, and women being greatly inferior to men. Of course, the protagonist, Maya, tries to fight the last of those. Indian mythology aspects include horoscopes, riddles, and talking animals. I learned so much Indian folklore by reading this book, and I really loved that.
Another reason I became immersed in the story was because I grew to become very fond of a few of the minor characters. I really enjoyed reading about the non-romantic relationships throughout the book because they were built very well and tied together seamlessly. I’d love to see where the secondary characters’ individual stories go after this book.
Although the overall concept of the book is unique, I didn’t find many other aspects of the book particularly refreshing. Maya is what is known in the young adult fiction community as a “special snowflake”. She has this horoscope that ostracizes her and makes people scared of her, although she acts like any other typical teenage girl would in her situation. I found some of Maya’s decisions to be too rash and not thought out well. However, she did have good character development over the course of the book, which I appreciated. I found myself liking her more at the end of the book, but I still couldn’t completely click with her.
In addition to the protagonists, I just didn’t get the romance. Initially, I couldn’t see why the male protagonist pursued Maya for any other reason than her being “special”. While it was explained later in the book, I didn’t feel a bond with the main characters to really care what was happening to them much. Even with later explanations for why the main male character pursued Maya, there were definitely still marks of insta-love. I suppose when I encounter anything resembling love at first sight, my tolerance dissipates – I therefore didn’t enjoy the romance, which was a large portion of the book.
That being said, I know that a lot of people would enjoy the romance. There were cute scenes that I know I would’ve been absolutely fangirling over if I liked the couple. The love in this book was the kind that I would daydream about when I was younger. However, now that I prefer romance that’s more slow building and realistic, I didn’t find the romance in this book appealing.
I wanted to love this book so badly, and I was very excited to read it. I even pre-ordered it, and I very rarely pre-order books. I loved the beginning of the book, but then my enjoyment passed after a certain point. When the book started going downhill on me, I wanted to skim it, but I did my best to go through it slowly to appreciate the writing and to convince myself to enjoy it. However, I couldn’t find myself giving it more than three stars after I finished it. In addition to the tropes that I mentioned, I was also left with a sense of confusion of how some fantasy portions of the book work. Perhaps I wasn’t fully paying attention at a few points, but I’m fairly certain that descriptions on some fantasy technicalities were scattered and not explained properly.
This book was written as a standalone, so the story ties together and there’s no cliffhanger. The author is in the process of writing a companion novel, so readers who enjoy this book will be able to stay immersed in this world. I’ll definitely be more wary of the next book – however, I love Chokshi’s writing style, so I’m crossing my fingers that the next book will appeal to me more. I’ll probably pick it up, especially since it’s going to focus on a minor character in this book that I actually really bonded with.
I would recommend this book to people who are okay with reading about a special snowflake and insta-love for the benefits of beautiful writing and a vivid world. Overall, I would say this book was reminiscent of a more complex Disney fairy tale. I know that this book would appeal to a lot of people – it just happened to have tropes that I have low tolerance for. If I went back a few years to my high school self who didn’t mind things like insta-love, then this book would easily be one of my favorites of the year.
While I really liked Maya’s character arc, it became a guessing game for a large portion of the novel, as I tried to figure out what its main conflict was. Bharata was on the brink of war when Maya left for Akaran and her disappearance becomes a catalyst, but as time plays tricks in this mysterious kingdom, we as readers are left in the dark, waiting for something significant to happen with the overall plot of the story. It isn’t until we are nearing the end of the novel that we learn of Bharata’s fate. While not a long novel, it did feel like I had to wait an awfully long time for the story to actually take off. I also had a hard time feeling invested in Amar’s character. Though Maya is spellbound by him and their relationship is meant to feel like destiny, there are certain elements at play that kept me from truly understanding his character and looking back, I still don’t feel like I got to know him as much as I did Maya. If more time had been devoted to his own character development, I think I would have liked reading about the evolution of their relationship more.
The kingdom of Akaran itself is a rich and enchanting setting. There are mysteries behind every door, entities lurking about that aren’t quite what they seem, and magic that is at once awe-inspiring as well as frightening. The Star-Touched Queen plays with the idea of fate versus free-will: are our choices ours or have they already been determined? Chokshi’s writing is otherworldly and at times I had to pause just so I could admire the way she uses language to paint such a lovely and vivid picture of this world. There’s such potential in her writing, I’m fairly confident the next book will be an improvement upon this one. There’s a specific minor character in this novel that I felt more drawn to than the protagonist. Her story seemed really interesting and compelling, despite knowing very little of her journey. If you’ve read the synopsis to the follow-up novel, A Crown of Wishes, you’ll know who I’m referring to. I wasn’t sure about this novel getting a sequel, but knowing who it will be focused on makes me pretty excited about it.
Maya's character intrigued me and I was able to relate to her through her loving protection of Gauri, her half-sister and her incredibly witty friendship with Kamala. However, she still lacked some quirks (this has become a real pet peeve of mine). She was incredibly plot driven, but I don't know her favorite color, or those little details that happen when you really know someone.
I disliked Amar, all Amar and Amar love. Amar doesn't really have a personality, except he is powerful and loves Maya. Additionally, they don't talk about anything. Maybe he knows everything, but they do not have any conversations of shared interests, or even real communication. There are no conversations where they unravel each other's histories or even look at their flaws.
With the wonderful writing and characters that I actually did enjoy, there were always moments where it snagged. HOWEVER, I am still left with an overall enjoyable experience and look forward to the sequel A LOT. Especially since I know who is the MC.