Author: Roshani Chokshi
Genre: Young adult; fantasy
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.
The Star-Touched Queen is the story of Mayavati, whose grim horoscope has condemned her to a life as an outcast in the palace where she lives with her father’s other children and many wives and concubines. On the day she is to married off, her story takes an unexpected twist and Maya is given a second chance at life, love, and home.
World. The world was so richly imagined and it’s a breath of fresh air to read a fantasy set outside the western ‘norm’ which saturates so much of the fantasy market. While it had a distinctly Indian flavour, the influences from the Greek Persephone myth were also clear to readers familiar with that mythology.
Prose. Without a doubt, Chokshi has a beautiful, melodic writing style which perfectly lends itself to mythic retellings.
Kamala. Sassy demon horse. If you’ve read The Star-Touched Queen, you’ll understand how awesome she is. If you haven’t, get on it. Seriously.
Maya and her sister. I loved the relationship and the way it changed as the novel progressed. Exactly how is a bit of a spoiler but I loved how each sister shaped the actions and destiny of the other. For me, this was the factor that truly connected me to the story.
Sparse plot. There was little in the way of sub-plots and the main plot felt stretched beyond its capacity for truly powerful storytelling.
Brooding love interest. I liked him at first, I really did. But then he made himself captain of the I-can’t-tell-you-the-immensely- important-thing-for-your-own-good club and sulked whenever Maya – understandably – asked him anything.
I enjoyed the experience of reading the Star-Touched Queen. It’s the type of story I could see retold to sleepy children. But overall, at the end of it, I just felt kind of meh. The story moved quite quickly and at despite the intimacy between Maya and Amar (whose identity I guessed long before it was revealed), the complexity of the story seems targeted for younger YA audiences.
Should you read it? Yes. It is a a lyrical retelling perfect for bedtime reading.