An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. A copy of the audiobook was also won from the author. ThAn advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. A copy of the audiobook was also won from the author. This review can also be found at The Starry-Eyed Revue.
The Star-Touched Queen is a story of many things: love, loss, redemption, revenge, learning and knowing oneself...and then some. The heart of the story finds its origin in the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone, but I also found myself captivated by reminders of other favorite tales, like that of Bluebeard and Beauty and the Beast and even The Neverending Story. Basically, this novel combines so many aspects from my favorite stories and yet somehow manages to remain unique and compelling.
And it's a stand-alone!! That, like, never happens anymore: a fantasy novel that comprises the pages of a single book and yet manages to convey the magic of three. The magic was all over the pages of this story, and what a lovely story it was. I'm actually kind of impressed with myself that I was able to savor it, rather than devouring it in one sitting. The first time I read it, anyway. ;-) I won a copy of the audiobook from the author and that I did devour immediately upon receiving. And if possible, the story is even more majestic, nay hypnotic, on audio.
The narrative is simply gorgeous and poetic, no matter which way you experience it. I could lose myself for days in a story of this caliber. It felt like a story of before and after, and yet it spans so much more than that: a love that will not be denied, a betrayal that unbalanced the worlds, and a need for vengeance so deep that it threatened to destroy the worlds completely. I cannot fathom how Chokshi could fit so much into such a tiny book and have it turn out so lovely. She must have a bit of Otherworldly magic of her own.
She so seamlessly weaves the Indian culture and the mythology in this story. It's a true work of art. And gorgeous to behold, from the descriptions of life in the palace of Bharata to the incandescent beauty of Akaran. (I'm actually super glad I listened to the audiobook because I was saying practically every proper noun incorrectly. And it sounds so much lovelier in Priya Ayyar's velvety voice.)
The characters were all so full and bursting with vitality. Yet, I never imagined that a flesh-eating demon horse would become one of my favorite characters, maybe of ever. But somehow, Kamala wormed her vicious way into my heart. Honestly, this was the aspect of the story that reminded me most of The Neverending Story because I felt like Kamala was akin to Falkor, joking about eating the main character and becoming a source of companionship and encouragement throughout the story. I've always wanted my own luck dragon, but now I kind of want a demon horse, too.
Which is probably the best testament to how amazing and compelling this novel is. You're living and breathing the story right with the characters, and then you're wishing you were part of the story, too. Funny how that happens. I've read this book twice now and I still can't get enough of it...
GIF it to me straight: First Falkor, now Kamala. I'm going to need a zoo for all of my favorite imaginary friends....more
I think I liked it more this time around maybe? Still not sure if it's enough to make me buy Bitterblue, thougRe-read via audio. Original review here.
I think I liked it more this time around maybe? Still not sure if it's enough to make me buy Bitterblue, though. On audio, I mean. (I have it on my shelf, where it's sat unread since it released. o_O)...more