Welcome to Wittkop Reads. I am an Iowa teacher librarian in a shared middle school & high school library, and have recently begun my journey as a book reviewer. This blog will share my thoughts and updates on the Middle Grade and Young Adult books I am reading. Follow me here to keep up on what I am reading and recommending. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope that you find something interesting to add to your "To be Read" list. Happy reading!

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

Recommended for: Teen and Young Adult Readers

Thank you Netgalley, St. Martin's Press, and Roshani Chokshi for asking me to review a digital ARC of this book.  Because this is an Advanced Reader Copy provided for review, quotes and cover images pulled from the ARC may be subject to change.

"The key to immortality is in creating a story that will outlive you.  Each take is its own key, hiding in plain sight beneath all the things we want and all the things that eat away at us."  
--A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

I was asked to review an ARC of this book since I read and reviewed Roshani's other book, The Star-Touched Queen.  I was actually surprised I was asked to review this because my review of her other book was not very favorable.  I almost declined because I really didn't connect to, or frankly understand, her last book.  I had taken a bit of a break from reviewing and wasn't sure this was the book to jump back in with.  I am so happy I took a chance because I truly enjoyed A Crown of Wishes.

First off, you do not need to have read her previous book The Star-Touched Queen.  A Crown of Wishes can stand alone, and does so very well.  It does take place in the same worlds, and we bump into a character or two from her previous book, but it is not necessary, and in my opinion not worth it.

A Crown of Wishes takes place in a couple different fantastical worlds and follows Gauri the Jewel Princess of Bharata and Vikram the Fox Prince of Ujijain.  The unlikely pair becomes partners in a game that could change both of their lives for better or worse.  The prize, one wish.  For each, this wish seems to be the only answer to their individual struggles.

Gauri is thrown out of her kingdom by her wicked older brother who is the Raja of Bharata.  Gauri seeks to free her people from his tyrannical reign and reunite the kingdom, and save her best friend.  She is caught in an attempt to overthrow her brother Skanda, so he sends her to Ujijain with the request that they kill her or risk angering his kingdom.

Vikram is the secretly adopted son of the king of Ujijain.  Unfortunately that secret hasn't been well kept from the other nobles and council members.  Because of his lack of royal blood, the leaders see Vikram as a puppet that they can control and blackmail.  They plan to push him aside to run the kingdom themselves.  Vikram's first task as the new ruler is to sentence the prisoner (Guari) to death in order to build goodwill with their neighboring kingdom.

Vikram has recently returned home from training, but he brings a secret with him.  He has been given an invitation to participate in the Tournament of Wishes, a magical tournament in a mythical land ruled by Kubera the Lord of Wealth.  Unfortunately he can't enter this tournament alone.  He is required to have a partner, a very specific partner.

When he meets Gauri with the plan to sentence her to death,  he knows instantly that she is that partner.  He offers her freedom in return for her partnership in the tournament.  Gauri wants nothing to do with Vikram or the tournament but sees this as her way out.  She accepts reluctantly and without the best of intentions.

From here the two begin a journey to find this mythical tournament, survive the magical trials and distractions along the way, and hope to win that coveted wish.  They meet an interesting cast of mythical enemies and even a few allies, and they discover more about themselves, their true wishes, and each other.

Overall, A Crown of Wishes was an engaging and enjoyable read.  The writing was descriptive and helped me connect to the vivid worlds that are beyond imagination. Gauri is a very strong and independent protagonist, but I loved the relationship that is formed between her and Vikram.  It was realistic, mature, and fit their characters and personalities perfectly.  Vikram was also fun to read through.  His struggles and desires were so genuine that I instantly connected to his plight.  After feeling lost, confused and overwhelmed with her previous book, A Crown of Wishes has redeemed Chokshi in my eyes, and I will definitely give her upcoming books a read.