Rating: 4 stars
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.
I just want to preface this review by saying I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. It was extremely hyped so I had high expectations and not all of those expectations were met.
However, I do think that The Star-Touched Queen is probably one of the most unique YA fantasies I’ve come across so far. The premise is brilliant and to me, the fact that it’s inspired by Indian mythology is also a bonus. Many of Maya’s stories reminded me of summer breaks spent in India reading myths and the like. The author’s writing style is also very beautiful and I absolutely loved the prose. This is the kind of book you want to read slowly so that you can taste every single word.
I want to lie beside you and know the weight of your dreams,” he said brushing his lips against my knuckles. “I want to share whole worlds with you and write your name in the stars.” He moved closer and a chorus of songbirds twittered silver melodies. “I want to measure eternity with your laughter.” Now, he stood inches before me; his rough hands encircled my waist. “Be my queen and I promise you a life where you will never be bored. I promise you more power than a hundred kings. And I promise you that we will always be equals.
But I did find the characters and plot a bit lacking. Maya was a very disappointing main character and not the strong badass queen I’d envisioned. While, I suppose this could be considered refreshing since most MCs consistently and constantly kick ass, it was also very frustrating to watch Maya flounder and basically #fail at life in general. She kept making bad decisions that were the source of most of the conflict and instead of seeking the truth, she merely listened to whoever she deemed to be “trustworthy” in that moment.
As for the love interest..I will admit that I had a teeny meeny crush on him but I barely got to know him. His character is very broody and mysterious and two years ago, that would have been enough but not today. I wanted more than the little tidbits from Maya’s POV. There was also a slightly problematic scene where Amar said: “Any farther…and I would not know how to stop.” I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to slap him because that is not romantic at all. If someone wants to stop, you have to fucking stop.
The plot was kind of nonexistent. I say this because it was there but not all the time. The story didn’t always move forward and more often than not, got bogged down by the descriptions. I know I said I loved the descriptions but I also thought there should have been more of a balance because they seemed to replace the action. Also, everything completely hinged on Maya (who barely knew anything and didn’t even bother confronting her husband) and hence, fucked things up massively.
“There is no romance in real grief. Only longing and fury.”
I am still not really sure if I would ship Maya and Amar because like I said, I barely knew them or the other characters. But I’m holding out hope that the next book will be even better.
WOULD I RECOMMEND IT? Yes but you should definitely go into it with “modified” expectations.