Published by St. Martin's Griffin on April 26th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, General, Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
eARC provided by St. Martin's Griffin
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.
A lush and vivid story that is steeped in Indian folklore and mythology. The Star-touched Queen is a novel that no reader will soon forget.
I always try to sum a book up in my review, but I am unable to do it with this book. I can only tell you about the beginning. So here goes:
Maya is a princess. She is one of many children born to a wife in the harem of the Raja of Bharata. She is cursed with the darkest horoscope. Since everyone knows a horoscope predicts the future, everyone is afraid of her. She is very much alone and her only joy is her baby sister Gauri. Since everyone stays away from Maya, she gets to run around and spy on the council and becomes her father’s favorite. When her father deems the best way for Maya to be useful is to have her marry a prince to create an alliance for future wars, Maya does the only thing that she can for her father. Her wedding takes a complete wrong turn and Maya ends up being saved by the Raja of Akaran, Amar. He is madly in love with her and whisks her off to his kingdom…
Okay, that’s it. That all the synopsis I can give you. That is really just the start of this story. There is so much more happening in this book.
The not so good: The romance fell flat for me. I wanted Amar and Maya to be on the same page in at least one scene. Amar seemed a very one dimensional character who existed only to love Maya. We don’t get any of Amar’s back story. He just appeared out of nowhere and swept Maya off her feet. He keeps secrets about her past from her. It leaves her hating and distrusting him so much. I mean, really, he should have known her reaction to the set up from their past shared experiences.
The good: I LOVED Maya! Her introduction was priceless. She is feisty and very much alone at first. Then she is swept away and adored. Then she is cast out and must prove herself. I really enjoyed learning about her. In a place where women end up one of many wives and living in harems, Maya’s story really stands out. She will be remembered, even when she is forgotten (that makes a whole lot more sense if you have read the book). The best part is that her story is only one aspect to her, there is this whole destiny thing that makes her life with that bad horoscope seem like a bad dream.
I loved the blending of Indian culture with Greek mythology. This was so unique. Also, people subscribing to stars alignment when a child is born to predict that child’s future was so barbaric. I love how those horoscopes were EVERYTHING when Maya was young and then later people didn’t even care. That’s how the world really is and I think it says a lot that the author made the people crazy like that. People are really crazy when it comes to a belief. There is a scene later where Maya uses belief to her advantage.
Also, there is a demon horse in this story named Kamala. Kamala pretty much stole the show in the second half of this book. She plays on words with Maya. Maya needs Kamala, but then… Gah! I can’t say anymore.
This book spans years and still manages to tell a complete story. Also, I feel like the author answered a lot of questions in the writing. These myths and the rules brought up so many questions for me. How did that happen, why can’t person just do this, what made this person so angry….the author read my mind and then inserted reason/backstory/explanation right where I needed it.
This story totally blew my mind. The language goes beyond being descriptive and is almost poetry. I could not only see the world through this language, but I could smell taste and feel it. This writing is in a class by itself. Really.