The Star Touched Queen (Roshani Chokshi)

This book is really hard to rate.

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Roshani has a way with words. Her sentences are poetic and beautiful. Others might say deem it as purple prose but I don’t think so. She uses her language to build a majestic world. And god I love her world. I want to live there. Well, I kind of don’t. But I do.

But damn did I not like the story.

SPOILERS ALERT

SYNOPSIS: 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.

The book doesn’t do a lot of things the blurb says it will do.

‘As Akaran’s queen she finds her voice and power’ … she finds how small her voice is and how powerless she is until the turn of the moon (that’s when Amar can share the secrets of Akaran).

Her distrust towards Amar annoys me actually. She wasn’t supposed to marry him. He came uninvited and gave her… a choice? She decided to go with him. Just like that, not many questions asked. This I am still alright with because the situation was such that she was choosing between a rock and a hard place, and choosing Amar didn’t seem so bad. But marrying him doesn’t change the fact that trust is earned. Even Maya says it many times. But… She does want to trust him. And I cannot stand that. Why does she want to trust him? She’s sneaked into her dad’s (a king’s) secret meetings. She grew up in a palace with, I’m assuming, treacheries, backstabbing, bad mouthing yet she is so eager to trust a king she barely knew? A person that seems to be nothing but sweet? Shouldn’t that send alarm bells ringing? (Not that Amar is a douchebag, but Maya has no reason to believe he isn’t.) But here’s the thing, she doesn’t trust him either. I mean why go searching for answers if you trust him, right? But I mean, suppose she wants to find out the truth but wants Amar to think she trusts him, that would have been a good subplot. Because she’s cunning and interesting. But no.. she’s not the cunning type. She seemed to come off as really confused by her own actions too. Like she didn’t know what she was doing. She wanted to trust him, but didn’t, she wanted to love him, but didn’t, I don’t know.

And it annoys me. Make up your mind.

And I would think, it would be more true to the character if she didn’t trust him or anyone else in the Akaran kingdom (two other people).

Because despite having no reason to hate on Amar, she’s a little mehhh to trust him but despite having no reason to trust this other person who says Amar is a piece of shit, she instantly trusts them. Why does she trust this person called Nritti? The story says it’s because she senses a familiarity with Nritti. But why doesn’t she sense that with Amar when Nritti and Amar were both close to Maya in her previous life?

Anyway, Nritti easily convinces Maya to backstab Amar.

Then it comes to the pinnacle moment where Amar, Nritti and Maya are all there. Nritti encourages Maya to stab the tree of memories. Amar tells her not to. And this standoff is the most retarded standoff ever because there is no standoff. Like hello Amar? If you don’t want someone to do something shouldn’t you be giving a better argument than ‘don’t do it’? And don’t give me that shit about it’s dangerous to say shit before the turn of the moon. What’s the danger? It wasn’t stated. And anyway seeing how shitty things got after the tree was stabbed, I really don’t see how revealing the truth about the past life of Maya would have made things worse. I don’t. And then there’s Maya. She doesn’t even question Amar. Like bitch, you like him right? You’re upset that he’s turned out to be a piece of shit (based on her belief). Shouldn’t you be more angry? Shouldn’t you question his actions? His plans? His motives?

No.

She just stabs the bloody tree no questions asked.

Something I can live with actually.

But the next scene is the one which I cannot. This is where I draw the line.

The very next instant, she regrets stabbing the tree.

ARE

YOU

SERIOUS?

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I mean, at least have her feeling like she made the right choice. I actually can’t remember what she was expecting would happen after she stabbed the tree. That’s not a good thing. I mean why stab the tree if you aren’t sure of the pros and cons of stabbing the tree? But anyway I digress. As I was saying, I’d rather her live it up a little and slowly realise the treachery that Nritti had manipulated when she finds out the world’s in a mess because of what she did. Then I would really feel sorry for Maya. Because right now, I can’t. After she stabs the tree, she feels like shit and she goes on a quest to find Amar, and I just can’t take it.

You dumb piece of nugget.

And anyway I couldn’t understand the story after she stabbed the tree. I didn’t understand what she was or where she was. But I continued reading on anyway. And I mean, I was wondering what on earth happened to Amar after the stabbing of the tree, but nothing seemed to have happened. Like I was expecting world changing shit when she stabbed the tree. But when she went back to her human kingdom.. it was still relatively normal.. Akaran wasn’t making headlines anywhere. There was no realm-shaking-havoc.

But anyway she finds her way back to Akaran. And guess what.. the world changing thing.. just turned out to be Amar forgetting his memories of Maya.

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I guess I’m the dumb one. She did stab ‘the tree of memories’.

And Nritti is betrothed to Amar. Which is ridic.

So anyway, Maya manages to find out what happened in her past life. She and Amar were in love and Nritti was in love with someone else and Maya had kinda ended the life of Nritti’s love? Something like that.

I actually don’t understand why Nritti wanted to marry Amar. I don’t understand why she was sucking youth from children. Why? What’s the deal? Did she wanna ruin Akaran? How? She was making it a shittier place sure… But it’s Akaran. It’s supposed to be a shitty place? (Spoiler – Akaran or Naraka is Hell, so Amar is King of Hell)

Anyway.. Maya makes Amar remember her and vanquishes Nritti. As queen of Hell she’s got magical powers. And annoyingly enough, these powers are never explicitly mentioned in the book. There were no practice sessions (that I remember of) for her to master her magical powers. Unless you’re saying when she got back her past life memories she got back memories of how to conjure up magic… but even then.. it wasn’t conveyed properly and so rushed and I just can’t.

I was very sad. This story could have gone places.

At the end, it was just trying to be a romance novel. Not that I’ve got something against romance novels, but it was advertised as saving lives and bringing the balance to the different worlds… and then it ends up being just your basic romantic love between two lovers.

I would give this 2.5/5 if I really have to. And despite me talking trash about this book for most of this rant, I actually bought Crown of Wishes too. Hehehe. I mean seriously though, the prose is really beautiful. And the world. I can’t get enough of that world. I have to give it that. I really like her prose. I’m obsessed with her writing style. It’s so smooth. I could learn a lot from the way she wrote. I especially like the amount of detail she gave to the texture of things. It’s just remarkable. It made the settings come alive. That’s her strength and my core weakness.

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