Recommended for: Young Adult Readers
Thank you Netgalley, St. Martin's Press, and Roshani Chokshi for selecting me to read and review a digital ARC copy of this book.
"Fate and order are entirely different. And one cannot rely on the stars for order."
The Star-Touched Queen is the story of Maya, one of many children to the king of Bharata. Maya is cursed with a horoscope that her marriage will cause death and destruction. Because of this horoscope she has grown up with everyone around her seeing her as cursed and treating her like a leper. The other women in the harem tolerate her but aren't kind.
Maya has no intention of marrying, she is strong, smart and spends her time studying or eavesdropping on the king's many meetings and learning about ruling a kingdom. After one meeting her father meets with her to let her know she will be married off to better his kingdom, but that she must also kill herself to stop a war. She is furious and feels there is no way out of it. At the last moment salvation comes through a strange man who wishes to take her away.
Along her journey Maya encounters "The Otherworld", the Raja of the Underworld, a demon horse, her past, a giant elephant being, and many other fantastical things that help bring the story to it's eventual close.
This story is very difficult for me to review. I wanted desperately for it to be awesome, but it just wasn't for me. I honestly struggled to finish it. It isn't that I didn't like it, it just didn't pull me in and beg to be read. It took me a lot longer to finish it than my recent books. I kept telling myself it was because I was busy, but that really isn't true, I just wasn't motivated to read it.
The beginning of the story was appealing but it begins to jump all over the place from world to world, present to past, and I struggled to keep up and buy in. I felt like there was a lack of time taken to build connections and understanding of what was really happening. Maya is told over and over to wait for the full moon to get answers to all of her questions. I feel like I am waiting for the full moon still. I have so many questions and feel like I was just dragged by a demon horse through the story.
I also struggled with lack of background knowledge on the many Indian fable/myth/legend words. I had a hard time visualizing and connecting to these beings when I was given the Indian name for them and not much else. Some sort of glossary might have been helpful, and since I was reading an advanced unpublished version, maybe there is one in the final story.
Many have connected this book with Cruel Beauty, Court of Thorns and Roses and even The Wrath and the Dawn. I have only read The Wrath and the Dawn and it is probably one of my favorite books, so I strongly disagree that the two are similar.
Based on other reviews this book seems to be polarizing. You either love it or don't. I lean towards the don't side. It was just underwhelming for me.