Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?
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.
The Star-Touched Queen is a book that has a lot of mixed reviews, but it’s been on my TBR since I saw the cover…and I do occasionally have to read books solely based on the love affair I have with it’s cover. Seriously, this thing is gorgeous beyond belief and even though I only gave this book three stars I still kind of want a physical copy just to stare at it.
This book centers around Maya, who was born under a constellation that foretells her rather dark future. As a result she’s ostracized and pretty much treated like a disease ridden rat by everyone she knows, until stuff happens and she finds herself as the wife of a mysterious Raja named Amar. Maya is…a bit of a ‘meh’ character for me. She has some really awesome moments and I love her affinity for ridden and darker tales, but she’s sort of forgettable. The one thing I’ll probably remember about her in six months is her innate desire to do things that are not good ideas. I mean if you have to wait a month for something, don’t wait until the day before to decide you can’t wait anymore. I think I broke something in my eye from the amount of eye rolling I did on that one. Amar was much more likable but he’s also sort of bland. He’s very much a poetic outcast with a ton of secrets, but he does balance out Maya’s rashness quite well. I also liked that he wasn’t one of those charmers who tell girls how they radiate like the sun and blah, blah blah….he calls this girl “edges and thunderstorms” and even despite not really caring about him I immediately gave him points. My favorite character is one that doesn’t appear until later in the book, her name is Kamala and she is quite different. She’s funny in a blunt rather scary way, but she has some really awesome advice for Maya and I just wish she had shown up sooner. Maya really needed that…
The strength of this novel lies with it’s world building, or rather it’s rather beautiful use of Hindu mythology. The story itself is written sort of like an epic from mythology, that centers around a person as they try to navigate their fate and defy it and that in itself is a really cool idea. I loved getting more familier with some of the stories that inspired the book like the Ramanaya and Savitri & Satyavan, and I really would love to see even more YA use Hindu and Indian as inspiration. There were some places described in this that I thought were truly gorgeous pieces of imagery like the Night Market and the glass garden with the wishes.
I’m not sure if I’ll read the second book when it comes out. This is technically a stand alone and the second book with follow different characters (though she does appear in TSCQ), so it’s not necessary but with the way that character turned out towards the end of this one I think it could be pretty interesting.