Blog Tour: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi




Rating: 4 stars
Pub Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: young adult fantasy
Format/Source: ARC, from the publisher
Status: STANDALONE (!!!)

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour, which was organized & hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. The full tour schedule can be found HERE. Please go give my fellow tour hosts some love!


Summary:
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.


Review:
Wow. I am seriously impressed. The Star-Touched Queen contains some of the loveliest prose I have ever read. Every paragraph reads like a poem or a song. Roshani's descriptions are lyrical and elegant, and Maya's world(s) absolutely suck you in. It's definitely reminiscent of Laini Taylor's gorgeous writing in Daughter of Smoke and Bone both in tone and in content. I love a fantasy book that effortlessly weaves together an enchanting yet relatively normal world with a fantastic one. The effect is that reading The Star-Touched Queen is like eating a meal that consists of only the richest and best foods; it is meant to be savored and enjoyed thoroughly, not rushed through.

Equal to the beauty of the language is the imagery it conveys. Similar to Renee Ahdieh's The Wrath and the Dawn, The Star-Touched Queen is an intense reading experience full of language that will enthrall and delight readers' senses. I love when I can see, hear, taste, smell, and feel a story simply thtough the magic of an author's words. Maya is a masterful storyteller, spinning words into truth for her darling sister, and I think Roshani has something in common with her protagonist. On one hand, I want to be in Nakara and experience the world for myself, but it feels like I already have by reading the book. That's a powerful thing.

One aspect of The Star-Touched Queen that I greatly appreciate and I have a feeling will be overshadowed in every review and discussion is Kamala. This book is lovely, but it is often filled with darkness and sorrow. Death is a major theme, and no matter how beautifully written, it's still a heavy subject. So that's why silly, more-than-a-little-crazy, ridiculous Kamala was such a surprise and a welcome addition in the second part. It's no secret that I love me some comic relief, and Kamala provides that in spades, even as she is offering to perform acts of great violence. I'm sure there are plenty of reviews out there that will describe Maya's courage, her path of self-discovery, Amar's swooniness, etc, and I don't disagree. Just know that when things get really heavy, and things look bleak for our fair heroine, Roshani provides fantastic balance with an oddly loyal and just plain odd hilarious sidekick.

I'm also very impressed with the fact that The Star-Touched Queen is actually a standalone, something I didn't know until I was about 2/3 through the book. I adore series, but there's something to be said for exploring a world in one installment and feeling satisfied to say goodbye. To go back to my earlier comparison of a rich meal, sometimes I think consumers glut themselves on their favorites past what's enjoyable, like when you eat turkey for a week after Thanksgiving, but it only really tastes good the first two days. No, Hollywood, I don't need a Mummy reboot featuring Tom Cruise (give me Brendan Fraser and Rachael Weiss or give me NOTHING). No, DC/20th Century Fox/Marvel, we do not need more Batman/X-Men/Spider-Man origin movies (except Deadpool; he can stay). I worry about this with beloved series as well so I am so thrilled that Roshani wrote this lush single story that holds its own on its own. Well done! See edit below!

Overall, The Star-Touched Queen is a vividly drawn story that reads like a painting. Its exciting, potent, and dazzling language is reminiscent of all the best fantasies and lyrical novels YA has to offer, and both the story and vivacious and unique world will keep readers enthralled from start to finish. I'm already looking forward to more of Roshani's words and worlds because this one was spectacular!

Edited to add: There will be a sequel to The Star-Touched Queen... sort of. Roshani is writing a companion novel A Crown of Wishes which will focus on Maya's younger sister Gauri. I stand by my original words. I'm still glad Roshani is allowing Maya and Amar's story to remain where it did in The Star-Touched Queen and not giving them a full sequel, but I am excited to explore more in the world. Gauri is an incredibly courageous character, and I can't wait to get her story as well!

Book Buy Links:
   

Tour Schedule:
Week One:
4/25: Dark Faerie Tales: Guest Post
4/26: Fiction Fare: Review
4/27: Once Upon a Twilight: Interview
4/28: Pandora's Books: Review
4/29: Two Chicks on Books: Interview

Week Two:
5/2: BookHounds YA: Review
5/3: The Eater of Books!: Guest Post
5/5: Brittany's Book Rambles: Interview
5/6: Storybook Slayers: Review

About the Author:
Roshani Chokshi comes from a small town in Georgia where she collected a Southern accent, but does not use it unless under duress. She grew up in a blue house with a perpetually napping bear-dog. At Emory University, she dabbled with journalism, attended some classes in pajamas, forgot to buy winter boots and majored in 14th century British literature. She spent a year after graduation working and traveling and writing. After that, she started law school at the University of Georgia where she’s learning a new kind of storytelling.
Author Links:
   

Giveaway: 
2 winners will receive a hardcover of The Star-Touched Queen. Open to the US only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


6 comments:

  1. I was so scared about this book, but I ended up falling in love with it. The writing is some of the best that I've ever come across in YA, and I just want more!

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    1. Roshani's writing is GORGEOUS. I'd like her to dig a bit deeper plot-wise, but the style is phenomenal.

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  2. Oh wow, so glad you liked this book! I know I'm a bit hesitant, because I've heard so many good things about it - but ahhh the fact that it's a standalone, with a great premise, and amazing writing...I REALLY WANT TO READ IT NOW!! :D
    Geraldine @ Corralling Books

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    1. Apparently there will be a companion, but yes, I think it's great that standalone fantasies exist.

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  3. I absolutely loved this book. Nice review!

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    1. Thank you! It was a fun one to write.

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