The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi (Review)

Title: The Star-Touched Queen
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: April 26, 2016
Pages: 342
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Rating: ★★★☆☆

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.

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All book reviews I write are spoiler-free!


Rating: 3/5 stars

The Star-Touched Queen is a book that’s been recently buzzing in the book community. The majority of ARC reviews were glowing, and the synopsis has such unique concepts. Once the release day approached, I couldn’t get my hands on it fast enough.

I started reading this as soon as I could. I really enjoyed the writing style and exposure to Indian mythology, but unfortunately other parts of the book fell flat for me. Some parts of the book that didn’t appeal to me as much were the prevalence of tropes, confusing explanations, and an eye-rolling romance.

 

The Writing Sucked Me In

This book is filled with lyrical writing that has vivid imagery with deep meanings. There’s a storytelling feel throughout that’s immersive and comforting. You know how some books have intentionally vague descriptions so that readers can create their own scenery themselves? Well, this book instead gives detailed illustrations that appeals to all of your senses.

Both being vague and being detailed are great in their own rights, but I think this type of story is better detailed because of the unfamiliarity most readers would have with some concepts. Right from the beginning of the book, I felt like I was in a new world, and what a beautifully described world that was. That being said, the depth of descriptions was sometimes too much – there were times when descriptions would either have too much flourish to fully grasp, or even contradict previous sentences.

There are unique and interesting concepts in the premise, some of which that aren’t found in the typical young adult novel. The book is based on Indian culture and mythology. The Indian culture aspects of the book include harems, arranged marriages, and women being greatly inferior to men. Of course, the protagonist, Maya, tries to fight the last of those. Indian mythology aspects include horoscopes, riddles, and talking animals. I learned so much Indian folklore by reading this book, and I really loved that.

Another reason I became immersed in the story was because I grew to become very fond of a few of the minor characters. I really enjoyed reading about the non-romantic relationships throughout the book because they were built very well and tied together seamlessly. I’d love to see where the secondary characters’ individual stories go after this book.

 

One Trope Here, Another Trope There…

Although the overall concept of the book is unique, I didn’t find many other aspects of the book particularly refreshing. Maya is what is known in the young adult fiction community as a “special snowflake”. She has this horoscope that ostracizes her and makes people scared of her, although she acts like any other typical teenage girl would in her situation. I found some of Maya’s decisions to be too rash and not thought out well. However, she did have good character development over the course of the book, which I appreciated. I found myself liking her more at the end of the book, but I still couldn’t completely click with her.

In addition to the protagonists, I just didn’t get the romance. Initially, I couldn’t see why the male protagonist pursued Maya for any other reason than her being “special”. While it was explained later in the book, I didn’t feel a bond with the main characters to really care what was happening to them much. Even with later explanations for why the main male character pursued Maya, there were definitely still marks of insta-love. I suppose when I encounter anything resembling love at first sight, my tolerance dissipates – I therefore didn’t enjoy the romance, which was a large portion of the book.

That being said, I know that a lot of people would enjoy the romance. There were cute scenes that I know I would’ve been absolutely fangirling over if I liked the couple. The love in this book was the kind that I would daydream about when I was younger. However, now that I prefer romance that’s more slow building and realistic, I didn’t find the romance in this book appealing.

 

I Wish I Enjoyed It More

I wanted to love this book so badly, and I was very excited to read it. I even pre-ordered it, and I very rarely pre-order books. I loved the beginning of the book, but then my enjoyment passed after a certain point. When the book started going downhill on me, I wanted to skim it, but I did my best to go through it slowly to appreciate the writing and to convince myself to enjoy it. However, I couldn’t find myself giving it more than three stars after I finished it. In addition to the tropes that I mentioned, I was also left with a sense of confusion of how some fantasy portions of the book work. Perhaps I wasn’t fully paying attention at a few points, but I’m fairly certain that descriptions on some fantasy technicalities were scattered and not explained properly.

This book was written as a standalone, so the story ties together and there’s no cliffhanger. The author is in the process of writing a companion novel, so readers who enjoy this book will be able to stay immersed in this world. I’ll definitely be more wary of the next book – however, I love Chokshi’s writing style, so I’m crossing my fingers that the next book will appeal to me more. I’ll probably pick it up, especially since it’s going to focus on a minor character in this book that I actually really bonded with.

I would recommend this book to people who are okay with reading about a special snowflake and insta-love for the benefits of beautiful writing and a vivid world. Overall, I would say this book was reminiscent of a more complex Disney fairy tale. I know that this book would appeal to a lot of people – it just happened to have tropes that I have low tolerance for. If I went back a few years to my high school self who didn’t mind things like insta-love, then this book would easily be one of my favorites of the year.

 

If you’ve read this book, let me know your thoughts! If you haven’t picked this up yet, feel free to ask any questions you might have about it!

52 thoughts on “The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi (Review)

  1. Trisha @ Vive Les Books

    Oh insta-love thou art a pain. I’m torn now… because I do love myself a good romance, but like you Jorelene I’m starting to prefer the growth of a relationship (I think it’s more romantic). It doesn’t help that you didn’t insta-love the protagonist! 🙁 I like the horoscope aspect of it but for now it will remain on my TBR.

    Great review as always <3

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      Yeah, I was so disappointed when I realized the romance was taking an insta-love turn. The beginning of the book was so good, but then the romance was introduced, and I was like welp…

      I look forward to hearing what you think of it when you eventually pick it up! Thank you so much, Trisha! 🙂

  2. Reg @ She Latitude

    Aww, I’m sorry a lot of elements didn’t work for you. I agree that the writing was really great and that the idea was amazing, but I also think that the romance was where it failed for me. It definitely REEKS of insta-love, and Amar was very… cheesy, in my opinion.

    And I agree that the fantasy parts of the books were never really explained, but I think that’s just part of the whole genre. Some books never bother explaining why this happens and the logic/limitations of the magic, and TSTQ just happens to be one of those books. It’s quite unfortunate. :/

    Anyway, like I said on Twitter, I’m definitely a lot more tolerant of tropes and ‘mistakes’ in fantasy books than contemporary books though, which I think made me a big softie with this one, haha. I was supposed to publish my review yesterday but kind of forgot, so I’ll be doing it tonight or tomorrow. 😛

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      Oh yes, Amar was incredibly cheesy. I don’t think a lot of the things that he said would’ve going over well in real life.

      I really wish fantasy elements of this book were explained more in-depth! I’m not familiar with Indian mythology at all, so there were aspects that I would’ve liked more explanations on, particularly on the threads and portals.

      I’m looking forward to your review on this, Reg! 🙂

      1. Reg @ She Latitude

        NO WAY his stuff would fly in real life, haha. In fact I think it’d just be corny and even creepy, tbh. Even in this setting I found it a bit too corny. 😛

        I’m not familiar with Indian mythology at all and honestly stopped wondering which part of the book was inspired by it and which part was straight out of the author’s imagination. I barely know enough to even tell if it’s authentic or not, haha. 😛

        THE THREADS though sound so interesting – I wish that was explored a bit further too. Admittedly I had to reread those parts a couple of times to even picture it in my mind.

        1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

          Yeah, I definitely cringed at times because of how corny some lines could be.

          That’s a great point! I assumed everything was part of Indian mythology because I know nothing about it, but it’s totally plausible that Chokshi made some parts of – haha, it makes me wonder.

          I’m in the same boat with the threads! I think I have a visual of it, but I’m completely unsure if my idea of it is accurate. I hope Chokshi describes them more in the next book so that I can grasp a visual more easily.

  3. veeshee

    I’ve been waiting to read this novel so it was great to read your review and get a sense of what this book is all about. I’m sorry to hear that there were quite a few elements that you didn’t like about the novel; hopefully, I can share my own insights once I read it!
    If you liked the Indian mythology in this novel, then you should definitely check out The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. It’s a retelling of an Indian epic called Mahabharata – but from a female protagonist perspective. You don’t need to know the full story of the Mahabharata to understand it (although it helps) and the detail and plot is intriguing! I wrote a review about it here so if it piques your interest, please do check it out: https://veereading.wordpress.com/2015/08/02/the-palace-of-illusions-by-chitra-banerjee-divakaruni

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      I’d love to hear your insights on this book once you read it! Maybe you could give me a different perspective on the elements that I didn’t like. 🙂

      Thank you for that recommendation! I’ll be sure to look up a summary of the Mahabharata before I pick up The Palace of Illusions – I just added it to my TBR!

  4. Av8tor1988

    I’ve seen so many reviews on Booktube really praising this book. I probably won’t end up purchasing this book, as I can’t stand insta-love in books, it’s the reason why I don’t read a lot of contemporary or romance novels. I really loved your review and how in depth it was. I also really love how you formatted your review.

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      Aww, thank you so much! I also saw a lot of reviews raving about this book, which may have lead to pretty high expectations. I think those expectations actually made me try harder to like it, so I think I gave the book a fair shot!

  5. amyriadofbooks

    I’m reading this right now. About halfway done with it and really enjoying it. I like that Maya and Amar’s romance starts out as friendship and admiration for each other instead of a full blown “insta-love.” I’m curious to see how the rest of it will play out. I have a feeling Amar is not all he says he is…

  6. Michelle @ Addictively Turning Pages

    Great review! Extremely informative. But I have such mixed feelings now because this book was next on my TBR list. Reading your review is making me anticipate the worst because I HATE insta-love with a deep passion and underdeveloped protagonists. I’ve grown to like realistic novels with a progressive romance and it seems that this book doesn’t have it!! This book had so much much hype, I’m so crushed! Definitely gonna start reading it soon though, I’m rather curious about the storytelling you mentioned.

    Was the beginning really hard to get into? How far in did you lose interest?

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      Thank you so much! Yeah, this book definitely had tons of hype – I know a lot of people actually did enjoy it though. I really look forward to hearing what you think of it! I hope you enjoy it, even though there is some insta-love. The writing is incredible – it’s what prevented me from giving this book any lower than 3 stars, even though I didn’t particularly enjoy the romance.

      The beginning was very, very easy to get into! I was absolutely loving it, up until the romantic portions of the book. Not only was I getting insta-love vibes, but I also felt like a lot of things said were very cheesy, and therefore kind of cringey. However, that’s probably because I didn’t like the romance that much – I probably would’ve found a lot of lines adorable and sweet otherwise. My interest while reading was like an inverted bell curve – I found the beginning of the book to be very interesting, my interest slowly declined once the romance started, but then my interest slowly went back up after around the mid-point of the book.

  7. Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews

    I am dying to read this book. Sorry it was a bit hit and miss for you! It’s great to hear that the writing style is amazing, it’s a shame about all the tropes though :/ Especially the instalove. I hate instalove so much. I’m really interested to see how I’ll feel about this book once I get to it! Fantastic review, like always, Jorelene!

  8. Eve Messenger

    The instant-love didnt bother me, but the uneven plot did. TSTQ was one of those stories that almost redeemed itself with beautiful imagery and prose (though that was a little much at times.) Like you, I pre-ordered and was really looking forward to reading this. Parts of it were brilliant. I thought the horse demon thingie was funny/weirdly interesting but at that point was where I felt the plot really floundered.

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      I agree that the plot seemed to be scattered at times and hard to keep track of – I initially chalked that up to my skimming some paragraphs, but I guess it might have just been uneven, as you said. I definitely think the beautiful writing redeemed a lot of the plot aspects! Although I didn’t fully enjoy this book, I would love to read another book by Roshani Chokshi because of her writing.

  9. Ali (@thebandarblog)

    I’m about 1/3 of the way through the book right now and absolutely am loving the lyrical writing. I will see where the romance goes. Right now there isn’t much of one. What weird ‘insta-love’ moments they’ve had so far I’ve just chalked up to the girl growing up in a culture where people get married to a person they met the same day! I’ll see how I like the story as it concludes, but for now I’m enjoying the Indian fantasy (:

  10. Madeline @ The SFF Bookshelf

    I haven’t read this book, but hopefully I can look past the tropes you mentioned and actually enjoy the writing style itself. I love books with such beautiful, detailed writing. So, when I pick this one up, hopefully I can look past the insta-love. Nice review as always! 🙂

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      Awww, thank you so much, Katherine! Yeah, those are the reasons why I gave the book 3/5 stars – I just kept getting frustrated by unrelatable romance. You should still try it out though if you think you’d enjoy learning some Indian mythology and reading Chokshi’s writing – they’re both amazing!

  11. booksblurbsandbeyond

    I love that your reviews are spoiler free. The specks of insta love sound off putting. I feel conflicted now. I was going to request it because my bookstore doesn’t have it but now I don’t think I will. I still want to give it a chance, maybe in a few months.

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      You should definitely still try it out, especially if you can get it for free from the library! The romance can probably be overlooked – I just didn’t try much to tolerate it because the insta-love disappointed me so much initially. I’m looking forward to hearing what you think of it once you get to it eventually! 🙂

  12. lynndellwatson

    Jorlene,

    I love reading your reviews because they are so insightful and thorough. Here is the review I posted on Amazon, Facebook, NetGalley and my personal blog: https://hugsandkissesforbooks.com/.

    Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Griffin for the arc of The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi! The book begans with an Arabian feel and the main character, Maya, has been shunned her whole life because of her horoscope readings. The Raja (Maya’s father and father of many other daughters) has given her the choice of who she will marry. Of course, there is a catch. Maya learns who she can and cannot trust in a complicated twist of reality and the underworld, “Otherworld”.

    The Star-Touched Queen is so much more than I thought it would be when I read the synopsis. The story is vast and covers many dimensions of the world’s mythology and time. Beautifully written! I recommend this book to anyone who loves mythology and fantasy, with a touch of romance.

  13. noteablepad

    I love everything about this review. 🙂 It’s perfectly structured and doesn’t give too much away. That being said, I don’t think I’d enjoy this book much. The writing style does sound appealing, but I’m not willing to overlook the instalove which I find to be intolerable. I just can’t stop rolling my eyes when I read about instalove. It’s not realistic at all, and it;s painful to read about someone ‘fall in love’ at first sight. How??
    The Indian mythology does sound pretty amazing though, and I’d probably read it to learn more about that 🙂

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      Aww, thank you so much, Fatima! A great point that someone else said was that the insta-love vibes could be simply due to the marriage culture in India, where people got married when they barely knew each other. So you could try going into the book with that mindset! I personally just couldn’t tolerate the romance much, especially because there were lines talking about how there was an “irresistible” pull between the characters. If you do end up reading this, I’d love to know what you think about it! 🙂

      1. noteablepad

        Haha that is SUCH a good point. I didn’t think of it like that at all .. but I still don’t think “irresistible” when you hardly know the person is the right way to describe it….I’ll be sure to let you know if I start 🙂

  14. Zoe

    I completely agree with you 100%. I loved the concept and the way Chokshi combined Greek and Indian mythology, but there was something about it that was just a little bit lacking. I’m glad you still enjoyed it despite that though for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3

  15. Ishita

    I don’t know which elements she has taken and which folklores… but I guess it is part-creative liberties and part-tropes rooted in well-known mythologies.
    I might just request TSTQ at my local library later and give it a try because of the Indian influences..
    First Truthwitch and now TSTQ, guess you aren’t exactly having a great time with all the hyped ARCs this year..

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      Requesting it from the library is a great idea! I would’ve done that if it were an option for me. I don’t completely mind having it on my bookshelf though because it does have a beautiful cover. Do let me know what you think of it once you finish reading it!

      Yeah, it’s really unfortunate. There are a few other hyped books that I have on my bookshelves that I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll enjoy more. 🙂

  16. keepareadin'

    Seriously, this is one of my most anticipated reads of 2016, though I haven’t picked it up yet. What was your absolute favourite part of the book? What’s drawing my eye is the cover and the enthralling blurb! Greek and Indian mythology mixed together sounds absolutely magical!

  17. Summer @ Xingsings

    You’re right, there are so many glowing reviews for this title. But I also noticed some readers mentioned the same things as you did (the writing was beautiful but the plot and themes aren’t unique). So when I do buy this book I’m going to go into it with low expectations. Anyway, fabulous review, Jorelene! I’m sorry you didn’t love this book as other people but I’m glad that some elements were satisfying. ^.^

  18. Read Diverse Books

    3 star review seem to be the most common for TSTQ. It’s a debut novel, so I do hope the author improves over time.
    You have faulted yourself a few times for skimming some parts or perhaps not understanding them correctly, but I don’t think that’s the case. I haven’t read the book yet, but perhaps the writing was unclear and confusing at times because it just was. You shouldn’t have to force yourself to love a book. It’s unfortunate that TSTQ didn’t live up to all the hype surrounding it, but sometimes this does happen.
    I do look forward to reading this book still. Thanks for the review. 🙂

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