The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Posted March 18, 2020 by Amber in Reviews / 0 Comments

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The Star-Touched Queen

The Star-Touched Queen

by Roshani Chokshi

Series: The Star-Touched Queen #1
Publisher: St. Martin's Press on April 26, 2016
Genre: Demons, Fantasy, Retellings, Romance
Target Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: ★★★★★

Check out this book on Goodreads

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.

 

Foolishly, I was unsure what to expect of The Star-Touched Queen.  I came to Roshani Chokshi a little late, once she was already well-established in the bookish world.  While I feel as though her books are spoken of well, I don’t really see them hyped as much as other authors.

Why in great big beautiful world are they not more hyped?

Roshani Chokshi has a beautiful writing style.  She balances all the incredible world building you see from Erin Morgenstern with the lyrical language from Laini Taylor, but she brews it together and lets it bubble down to something a little more straightforward and less flowery.  I find myself pausing to share a phrase of her writing with a friend because the way she described a ceiling in passing was beautiful, but it never slows down her books.  I’ve seen other reviewers call it purple prose, but honestly?  It works really well for me – I don’t find it too elaborate or distracting.  There are abstract turns of phrase that fill my heart with warmth and admiration.  I suppose it’s all a matter of taste, but really enjoy Rosh’s writing style.

If you were to compare The Star-Touched Queen with The Gilded Wolves, you can see how she’s developed her craft in so far as character development goes.  I liked Maya well enough, but she didn’t have the layers that her later characters do, and her rapid evolution could make it difficult to get a grasp of her.  Still, I enjoyed this aspect because I felt that it fit well with the character’s situation.  And whatever aspects we lost in Maya’s muddled memories and the struggles with Amar and Nritti, we got back in spades with Kamala.  Kamala is a delight and frankly?  She makes my list of favorite sidekicks and minor characters.

Again, the plot can feel a bit fuzzy because time slips rapidly and Maya is uncertain of herself and her identity for most of the book – I feel as though the presentation, again, worked with the situation in the story.  I grew more interested the deeper into the book I read (possibly also because Kamala entered and I loved her), but I feel from a typical YA fantasy POV, the beginning of the book fit more into the way we’re used to seeing things.  The Star-Touched Queen sets itself up as a retelling and a romance, but turns into something more abstract in the later chapters.  Once again, this delighted me rather than bothered me, and I still think it worked well – other readers will certainly disagree.

As for the world.  The world.  It’s rich in layers, with magic and mayhem woven in effortlessly.  Not only has Rosh created a fantasy that feels solidly middle-eastern (yes thank you), but she’s woven in our own mythology to give it some spice.  I can’t speak for all the stories and fables, but I read this around the time of Holi and when the author did a mini-tutorial on the holiday on her Instagram feed, I noticed the story-within-a-story at once.  There are moments of gilded beauty, but there is also darkness, which is something I enjoy about her writing style in general – things are astonishing, but they are also tarnished and corrupt and broken.  We have magical moments, like in the Night Bazaar (I am here for magical fey marketplaces always) and we have chilling reveals.  The rules of the world are not over explained, but everything felt right together.  That’s how I like my fantasy – effortlessly woven and alive.

Overall The Star-Touched Queen may not be a book for everyone, but it’s a beautiful book nonetheless and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I’m coming to it having already read her later works – The Gilded Wolves in particular – and I didn’t find it too amateurish (I know that going back and reading debuts sometimes can be heart-wrenchingly disappointing).  If you like some flowery prose and don’t mind a dreamy, abstract plot line… I think you’ll like this, too!

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★★
Plot: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★ 1/2
Writing: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★★★

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For me, this was an easy five star book.  I really, really liked it.  I enjoyed coming home each night and reading more.

Therefore, I can easily see The Star-Touched Queen being a novel I will revisit in the future, particularly when I want to slip easily into another world.  Not a better world, but a parallel one with some darkness and magic that will make me forget.  This was a really good book to have picked up now in particular, because of how easily it swallowed me up – the world is in a state of hysteria with COVID-19 and this book pulled me away from the media and Twitter’s variety of chaos and let me feel, for a moment, that everything would be manageable.

So this is definitely a book I want on my shelf, and one I will read again.

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How do you feel about “purple prose”?  Somehow, this is the first time I’ve come across the phrase and it’s clicked in my head… but I really don’t mind it?  I appreciate the words in a story often as much as the story itself, but I do agree that sometimes that can be distracting.  Let me know your thoughts on The Star-Touched Queen and purple prose in the comments!

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