Series: The Star-Touched Queen #1
on April 26th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Mythology, Fantasy, Fairy Tales & Folklore
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Barnes & Noble
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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 sumptuous, luxurious setting based around Indian folklore and the Hades/Persephone story, The Star-Touched Queen was both magical and enchanting. Similar to The Wrath and the Dawn, Maya is taken by the mysterious Amar into his own world, where she’s made a Queen. However, the mysteries stack up when he disappears each night, leading to Maya uncovering her own mysteries.
I was caught up in the mystery, as Amar seems to be in insta-love with Maya and he says she has abilities beyond what she’s ever wished for. It’s intriguing how Maya tries to unravel the mystery behind Akaran, from it’s gorgeous Night Bazaar, to the glass garden, tree of memories and a bed wrapped in stars and the ocean. Despite what Amar says, there’s beasts and shadows lying in it’s midst, and it was fascinating seeing the story unfold. The second half of the book takes a different turn, as Maya escapes from her circumstances and tries to pave her own way and save her own kingdom. The setting was absolutely beautiful and breath-taking, written in a stunning, poetic manner.
“I see no secrets in your gaze,” I said. I see only night and smoke, dreams and glass, embers and wings. And I would not have you any other way.
I’m comfortable with the notion of reincarnation, and having someone’s destiny play out based on different pathways. It was great to see this concept explored with such a heavy basis in The Star-Touched Queen. While the story is beautifully written, giving us an evocative view of the beautiful, magical setting of Akaran, there were a few times when it left me confused. It’s basis on heavy mythology concepts, but the significance behind the tree of memories and Amar’s sacrifice was lost to me. There were definitely a few parts, especially towards the end, when the events occurring were a little too meta and intangible. I had no idea what was happening and a bit more explanation would have been welcome into the significance of events/characters.
I also wasn’t a fan of the insta-love, where Amar is absolutely taken with Maya from the very beginning. I tend to mistrust male protagonists who have a hidden agenda behind their words, which is definitely what it felt like here. Seeing the story unfold, I can definitely see how it’s necessary, but it doesn’t help me as a reader. This detachment from Amar and the romance lead to my ambivalence around his character.
This was no heaven, but it was the hell that I knew, and I preferred it, far more than whatever beast of a country awaited me.
What I was definitely a fan of however, was Kamala the flesh-eating horse who becomes Maya’s companion later in the book. He was hilarious and added some comedic relief to Maya’s journey. After being mostly alone for the whole story, his companionship for Maya was definitely welcome, and I loved the role he played in the story. There’s also a cloud weaving hippo who was a lot of fun (also CLOUD WEAVING).
While I had a few issues with The Star-Touched Queen being confusing af, I thought it was an incredibly unique, diverse setting that was written in a really beautiful way. I loved how it was based on Indian mythology and folklore, with a great diverse setting, although I wish there was more explanation at times.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Thanks to Harlequin Teen Australia for sending me a review copy!