Thursday, April 21, 2016

Title: The Star-Touched Queen
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Narrator(s): Priya Ayyar
Series: stand-alone
Length: 9 hrs 22 mins
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Source: received from publisher via Netgalley, won audio from author
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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

The Star-Touched Queen is a story of many things: love, loss, redemption, revenge, learning and knowing oneself...and then some. The heart of the story finds its origin in the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone, but I also found myself captivated by reminders of other favorite tales, like that of Bluebeard and Beauty and the Beast and even The Neverending Story. Basically, this novel combines so many aspects from my favorite stories and yet somehow manages to remain unique and compelling.

And it's a stand-alone!! That, like, never happens anymore: a fantasy novel that comprises the pages of a single book and yet manages to convey the magic of three. The magic was all over the pages of this story, and what a lovely story it was. I'm actually kind of impressed with myself that I was able to savor it, rather than devouring it in one sitting. The first time I read it, anyway. ;-) I won a copy of the audiobook from the author and that I did devour immediately upon receiving. And if possible, the story is even more majestic, nay hypnotic, on audio.

The narrative is simply gorgeous and poetic, no matter which way you experience it. I could lose myself for days in a story of this caliber. It felt like a story of before and after, and yet it spans so much more than that: a love that will not be denied, a betrayal that unbalanced the worlds, and a need for vengeance so deep that it threatened to destroy the worlds completely. I cannot fathom how Chokshi could fit so much into such a tiny book and have it turn out so lovely. She must have a bit of Otherworldly magic of her own.

She so seamlessly weaves the Indian culture and the mythology in this story. It's a true work of art. And gorgeous to behold, from the descriptions of life in the palace of Bharata to the incandescent beauty of Akaran. (I'm actually super glad I listened to the audiobook because I was saying practically every proper noun incorrectly. And it sounds so much lovelier in Priya Ayyar's velvety voice.)

The characters were all so full and bursting with vitality. Yet, I never imagined that a flesh-eating demon horse would become one of my favorite characters, maybe of ever. But somehow, Kamala wormed her vicious way into my heart. Honestly, this was the aspect of the story that reminded me most of The Neverending Story because I felt like Kamala was akin to Falkor, joking about eating the main character and becoming a source of companionship and encouragement throughout the story. I've always wanted my own luck dragon, but now I kind of want a demon horse, too.

Which is probably the best testament to how amazing and compelling this novel is. You're living and breathing the story right with the characters, and then you're wishing you were part of the story, too. Funny how that happens. I've read this book twice now and I still can't get enough of it...

GIF it to me straight:
First Falkor, now Kamala. 
I'm going to need a zoo for all of my favorite imaginary friends.

About the author:

Roshani Chokshi’s work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Shimmer and Book Smugglers Publishing. She was a finalist in the 2014 Daphne du Maurier contest hosted by Romance Writers of America, and a 2014 Katha fictions contest finalist hosted by India Currents and Khabar Magazine. Her writing draws on her Filipino and Indian heritage.

The Star-Touched Queen is her first novel.

Find Roshani:

WebsiteTwitter | Goodreads | Pinterest


  1. Congratulations on winning! I'm so jealous! I'm new to the fantasy genre since I'm more of a contemporary fan, so I love how this is a standalone. I really, really have to get my hands on a copy of this because of all the amazing reviews and ratings that I have been seeing around!

    Kim @ Divergent Gryffindor: BLOG || VLOG

    1. I actually think I may have seen something that indicated this WASN'T a stand-alone, but it definitely reads like one, so at least there's that. :)


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