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The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen, #1)
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message 1: by Amy (new)

Amy | 36 comments Mod
This month, Amy of Amy’s Book Club is on vacation, so I am PLEASED to be filling in for her. This month’s selection is The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Choksi, a lyrical story that incorporates Hindu myth into a romantic, lush read.

Mayavati—Maya—has a terrible horoscope, such that she is blamed by the other women of the harem for her mother’s death. Death stalks her too; her father chooses her as the sacrificial bride in a political maneuver meant to force a fight on his terms. That’s only the beginning, because Maya’s husband knows something about death, and Maya finds herself a resident of places beyond life.

I don’t want to spoil you for this book, but I will give you one enticement. I hate, hate, hate talking animals 99% of the time. I LOVED the flesh-hungry horse in this book, and I want to thank that hungry hungry horse for saying what we’re all thinking: can we just bite somebody already?

Maya’s story comes in two distinct parts, and to me—insert here a big disclaimer about my familiarity with the underlying stories, as well as (an admittedly uneducated) appreciation—it seems like she begins in death, and finds her way to life, as opposed to the journey that the rest of us follow; that is, we head toward our dying days. I’ll give you another riddle to ponder: death, here, is life. Consider, then, reincarnation as a complicating factor…

Amar, Maya’s love, seems at first to be far more mature than Maya, and it’s not immediately clear what he finds so attractive in her, especially as he’s a riddle himself, and unable to tell his whole story. As the tale progresses, we find that Maya not only has strengths she has never known she possessed—both mystical and practical—but that her story with Amar is threaded through time. Again, there is the nudge of awakening, and Maya has to fumble through the darkness (literally and figuratively) to rescue her one true love.

I particularly liked that Maya screwed up sometimes, and screwed up a lot, but with legitimate, logical reasons for doing so. No breaking character here, no failure to understand for story purposes; Maya simply has her reasons to make choices, and then she has to work through her failures and mistakes. It’s a refreshing change from some recent reading with characters who fail to question the world around themselves, even in the direst circumstances. (Am I right, or am I right?)

I found that the story sinks into beautiful prose after a few chapters, but doesn’t necessarily linger, if that’s not right for the moment. This is a book to drink in sips, but it’s nice to gulp as well.

Have you read The Star-Touched Queen? What did you think? What other books with aching, star-crossed love or poetic prose would you recommend?


message 2: by Julia (new)

Julia Ember (jules_chronicle) | 1 comments I read this a few months ago and absolutely loved it. Roshani's writing is so gorgeous ... just word-perfect.

I am eagerly waiting for the sequel!

message 3: by Nivair (last edited Jul 16, 2016 07:50AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nivair | 2 comments Yes, agree! I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this at ALA Midwinter and I gulped down almost all of it before my grad school children's lit classes kicked in ... then months later when I finally got a break, I finished the last sip. ;)

You are not kidding about the poetic prose! Every other sentence I was filled with envy for Chokshi (who of course is as lovely a person as her book is beautiful). I too found it refreshing for being character-driven (and I might even say image-driven?), and I love the points Hallie made about Maya's character.

Julia (and anyone else), in case you haven't seen it yet, here's a preview of the sequel! Another thing I loved about the book was the sisterly love between Maya and Gauri, so the focus on Gauri in the sequel is SUPER EXCITING!

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