The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi, Review by Corinne Donnelly
Roshani Chokshi weaves a brilliant tapestry filled with powerful imagery, fascinating characters, and enduring love in her new novel The Star-Touched Queen.
Seventeen-year old Maya and her large family of half-siblings and step-mothers reside in a busy harem in her royal father’s palace. Born with a cursed horoscope, Maya has lived her entire life as a pariah. Instead of wallowing in sorrow, she relishes in her freedom by exploring the court and observing her father’s rule. When a foreign entity plots to overthrow the kingdom, Maya must marry a stranger who ends up being far more fascinating than she could have ever imagined.
The narrative concentrates heavily on Indian folklore and mythology, particularly on how the gods from the Otherworld interact with the mortal world. The reader experiences their power and influence from Maya’s perspective, which can be quite fascinating, as she has an exceptionally curious soul. Maya is also a strong narrator, especially for her youth. Her journey is a challenging one, but she learns quickly and moves decisively.
A refreshingly wide range of relationships appear throughout the novel. Chokshi’s writing particularly shines in this aspect, as she possesses a strong grasp on inner dialogue. The variety of characters (humans, gods, a bloodthirsty horse demon…) inspires outbursts of wonder and admiration. I mean, who wouldn’t want to read about a horse that eats humans? Furthermore, no character is one-sided, and each one holds their own in an already larger than life cast.
The stark contrast between the mortal world and the world of the gods also adds perspective to Maya’s journey. Chokski’s writing style has a vivid and lyrical quality to it, and her images jump off the page in a seemingly effortless manner. Unlike what can often be the case in novels heavy on description, you’ll never find yourself uninterested in the world-building. Chokshi smoothly interlaces description and dialogue quite well. In fact, she does this so well that I often felt as if I were watching a movie in my head.
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi is a fabulous novel in the Young Adult genre that I would recommend to everyone interested in fantastical worlds, mythology, and coming-of-age tales. Check it out when it is released by St. Martin’s Griffin on April 26, 2016.
Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.