The Star Touched Queen: ARC Review

Publication Date: April 26th, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Series: None
Format: e-ARC
Source: Netgalley

Cursed with a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, sixteen-year-old Maya has only earned the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her world is upheaved when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. But when her wedding takes a fatal turn, Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Yet neither roles are what she expected. As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds friendship and warmth.

But Akaran has its own secrets - thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Beneath Akaran's magic, Maya begins to suspect her life is in danger. When she ignores Amar's plea for patience, her discoveries put more than new love at risk - it threatens the balance of all realms, human and Otherworldly. Now, Maya must confront a secret that spans reincarnated lives and fight her way through the dangerous underbelly of the Otherworld if she wants to protect the people she loves the most…including herself.

The Star-Touched Queenis a lush, beautifully written and vividly imagined fantasy inspired by Indian mythology.

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Griffin for granting me access to this title in exchange for an honest review. 

Where should I start with this one? The pairing of Greek and Indian mythology was too good to resist, so of course I had to read this stunning book. Even though Roshani is a debut author, this book reads like she has been publishing books for years! I could not believe that this was her first published work. 

The book starts off a little slow as we are getting to know Maya and her role in her father's court. Even as a favored daughter, she is still expendable as a woman. As she formulates a plan to escape her gilded cage, her father destroys her hope of freedom by decreeing that she will marry. In a twist of fate, she is allowed to choose her husband, who happens to be Amar of Akaran, a place she has never heard of. He offers her something nobody ever has-to be his equal as a ruler. Maya cannot pass that up since it is what she has wanted for many years. But Akaran is not like other courts…..

I really loved Maya's characterization. She was not your typical princess in any sense. She loved reading and learning, and would rather stay away from the courts and their fake smiles. Maya knew that she did not want to live in a gilded cage so she decided that escaping her lush life at court would be a better option. I also loved how she mentioned in her head that she did not need some prince to spout off false declarations of love. No, she wanted more. 

Although I had never envisioned marriage, I had thought of love. Not the furtive love I heard muffled in the corners or rooms of some of the harem wives. What I wanted was a connection, a shared heartbeat that kept rhythm across oceans and worlds. I didn't want the prince from the folktales or some milk-skinned, honey-eyed youth who said his greetings and proclaimed his love in the same breath. I wanted a love thick with time, as inscrutable as if a lathe had carved it from night and as familiar as the marrow in my bones. I wanted the impossible.

Ugh, how romantic, right? It gets better. Her relationship with Amar is a very slow burn. There is no insta-love. Attraction, yes, but not love at first sight. Maya does not fully trust him, which means she cannot fully open up her heart to him, even though she quickly begins to fall for the handsome leader.

Unfortunately, Maya's distrust of Amar leads her to do something reckless which leaves her world and The Otherworld in peril unless she can fix it. This is where things get rocky. At this point the book goes from good paced to super fast paced and it gets slightly confusing. One minute Maya has no idea how to fix everything and in the next breath she has it all figured out. The flashbacks added to the confusion because they were not done in a way that made the reader understand what was going on.

Amar's character was hard to empathize with because we do not learn much about him except when Maya is with him. We learn who he is, but not much else. I would have liked for his character to have been more fleshed out.

Roshani's writing is beautiful and vivd. I saw the bright colors of each saree that Maya would wear, the smells of the delicious food she would eat, and the many different creatures of the human world and The Otherworld. Kamala was also a wonderful addition to this story.

This wonderful story woven with Indian and Greek mythology will leave you wanting more of this lush world that Roshani has created. I now want to learn more about Indian myths.

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