The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

BLOG“Ruling Akaran is a strange task.  In many ways, it is like balancing an illusion.  You must separate the illusion of what you see and the reality of its consequences,” he said.  “Tell me my queen, are you ready to play with fate?”

Maya is an outcast in her father’s kingdom. Cursed by a horoscope that predicts a marriage of death and destruction, she is feared and shunned my most, leaving her with an isolated existence. Things change drastically when her father, the Raja, decides to offer her hand in marriage to a suitor of her choice from one of the other kingdoms in an effort to subdue the rising rebellions.  Maya finds herself whisked away to the unknown kingdom of Akaran where she is to be queen and wife to the mysterious and secretive Amar.  But Amar is not the only one with secrets.  Akaran itself is a strange place whose mysteries Maya is determined to uncover, if only to unearth what kind of dangers lie within.

I was very much intrigued by the premise of The Star-Touched Queen, the idea of horoscopes promising your future and the use of folklore and mythology.  There are some great aspects to this novel.  For one, the writing and descriptive language used by the author is quite lovely and there are some great passages.  I also liked the sister connection in the story and the sometimes playful nature of the interactions between Maya and her love interest, Amar.  By far my favourite part of the book was the character of Gupta, Amar’s right-hand man, who is so incredibly endearing.

There were a few things that did not work for me, the main issue being that the world is not as developed as I would have liked.  I wanted to know more and explore more, but in many sections throughout, particularly the first half of the novel, there was a lot said and described that felt repetitive and did not contribute to the development of the world or the progression of the story. The romance itself was not believable to me and I did not feel a connection between the two characters.  I was also disappointed with Maya’s character as I felt that she fell into the typical naive and stubborn female protagonist role found in many young adult fantasy books.  Ultimately, for me,  The Star-Touched Queen fell short of the intrigue presented by its premise.  I do appreciate the overall quality of the writing and will definitely look for future releases by the author.

*Digital copy provided by NetGalley for review.

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