Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Hi, everyone! Today I'm pleased as punch to be taking part in the blog tour for Roshani Chokshi's hotly anticipated teen debut, The Star-Touched Queen.

Since her birth, Maya's fate has been maligned by the stars. Her other siblings and the other mothers in her father's harem snubbed her or outright cursed her, telling her they would all be better if she died because of what they say was written in her horoscope. And Maya hates the stars because of it. 

Convinced she will never marry, and happy for it, Maya is surprised to find that her father has decided to use her as a bargaining chip to prevent war. But on the day of her she is to choose her husband, nothing goes according to plan and Maya finds herself wed to a man from a kingdom she's never heard of. He says he wants her to be queen, he wants her for her ideas and her mind, he wants her for her power. But secrets shroud their marriage and the new land she calls home. And as whispers and cries reach out to her from behind locked doors, Maya begins to understand the fate the stars have written for her. 

This book. THIS BOOK! Y'all everyone is raving about this book, so much so that I was actually worried when I started reading - worried that maybe it had been overhyped and that I wouldn't love it as much as everyone else.

That simply was not the case!

The Star-Touched Queen is steeped in Indian folklore and blended with the Hades/Persephone myth. (I was hesitant to include that particular tidbit in my review because I'd gone into the book without reading any real specifics about the plot at all and found myself both pleased and surprised by that element. But it's pretty much all over the internet including the original deal listing for the book so I figured I'd tell you.) I love folklore and will probably never tire of folk/mythology/fairy tale retellings. But coming across one that's unique and includes lore I'm fairly unfamiliar with is refreshing, to say the least.

But that's only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what makes this book so fabulous! In addition to the lore that makes up the bones of the story, Chokshi has built a world that is lush and vibrant and absolutely filled with gorgeous and creepy imagery! It's a world that I wanted to eat, sleep, and breathe well after finishing the book.

Having said all of that (I know, I'm raving - it can't be helped), even the most beautifully built world and wonderfully built narrative are nothing without characters that are equal to their setting. Lest you think that Chokshi may have faltered here, let me set you straight. Maya does live up to the standard. She's stubborn and clever, a rule breaker even from the start. She defies her tutors, turns a mostly deaf ear to the overly loud insults in the harem, and sneaks into places women aren't even supposed to be in order to glean information and learn leadership from her father, the Raja. It all comes in handy as she begins her journey, too. And as her character and will are tested time and time again as the story plays out, her strength never falters.

The Star-Touched Queen is an absolutely phenomenal read, the first of what I hope will be many phenomenal reads from Chokshi!

Rating: 5/5

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