Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Date of Publication: April 26th, 2016
Dates Read: August 16 – 21, 2016
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.
My Rating: ★★★★★
Actual rating: 4.75
I was worried that this book wouldn’t live up to the hype for me. Let me tell you, it is absolutely wonderful.
Now, I would like to preface this review: this book definitely isn’t for everyone. You’re not given very many clues about the reality of Mayavati’s situation (until the very end in a large info dump), and sometimes the poetic prose could be a little confusing. I can imagine many people getting frustrated with this book, and I will admit that I may have felt a little bit of that frustration once or twice.
But, in the end, this book totally won me over. I don’t think my words will do justice how much I absolutely loved it, but I’ll try.
Like I said, the writing was beautiful. I loved exploring the worlds and all their customs and cultures. Sometimes I felt like I was there alongside Maya, tasting the fruit and holding everything in my own hands, feeling the power and touching the tapestry. Chokshi’s writing is just so vibrant, like it jumps off the page and makes you part of the story, too. Of course, I loved the mythology, and the use of the terminology that really transported you there (hooray for the glossary at the back!).
I loved Maya and Amar and Gupta all so much, all for very different reasons. I love that Maya makes mistakes, but ultimately learns from them and becomes stronger because of them. She has such a fire in her heart, and she’s got so much love to give. Amar is swoon-worthy and so loving, Gupta is adorable and loyal. And KAMALA! Kamala may be my favourite character of this book.
The story was so much more than it seemed, with so many secrets to be discovered and so much more magic than I expected. I never truly knew what the heck was going on, so I kept reading and reading to find out, to get the explanation I was very much craving. And in the end I was surprised by – yet very happy with – the story behind the story, the reason why this all was. It was pretty clever, when I think about it, all coming back to Maya the way it did. (Sorry, have to be vague so I don’t spoil it. If you want to know what I mean, send me a message!)
The Star-Touched Queen pulled at my heart in so many different ways; at the love between Amar and Maya, at Maya’s love for Gauri, and at all the heartbreak in between. This is truly a book from the heart, meant for the heart.
Overall: A romantic, beautiful, magical, heart-tugging story.