Show Me A Dream Unrealised // Review: The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen #1) by Roshani Chokshi

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

The Star-Touched QueenGenre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Date Published: April 26th 2016
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Pages: 342
Buy: Amazon // Book Depository // St. Martin’s Griffin
Follow Roshani Choksi on Twitter

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.

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I received this book for free via a Giveaway. This in no way affects my opinion. 

Okay, before we get into anything can we just stop for a minute and appreciate the pure beauty of this cover. Just look at it. The colours, the font, the design. It’s so visually stunning. I am so happy that it is on my shelf.

Brace yourselves for some more lowkey, small unpopular opinions. When did I become so controversial ~~~ 🙊? This is nowhere near as negative as my ACOTAR review, but I just wanted to put it out there! Anyway, this entire review is spoiler free. Except for a couple of hidden lines.

Told in two parts, The Star Touched-Queen is a retelling of Savitri and Satyavan and Hades and Persephone that brings in elements of Indian mythology/folklore and Greek mythology. Maya lives in a world where horoscopes are everything.Unfortunately, she was born under a cursed sign and is said to be “partnered with death” and that her marriage will cause “death and destruction”. Her father, the Raja, decides the best thing for his Kingdom is to marry Maya off in hopes of holding off an upcoming war. Maya realises there is more to this wedding than her father implies and she rebels against what he wants and decides to marry a man who claims to be the Raja of Akaran. She has to learn who she can or can’t trust (including herself) as she discovers that Akaran and Amar are hiding many secrets.

I only discovered The Star-Touched Queen just before I started blogging. I saw it on Netgalley and didn’t bother requesting it because I didn’t know if anything was going to come of my intent to get back into reading. However, as I started getting back into the loop of the book world and I learnt that it was written by a WoC and featured PoC characters and a mixture of different mythology – not just Greek – I was extremely interested. Unfortunately, by the time I got around to sending a request there were no copies available. Then to make things worse I found out there was no Australian ebook release and the only option was a $27AUD hardback edition on Book Depository, which was out of my price range so I just accepted I wouldn’t be reading it anytime soon. Funnily enough, fate decide to help me out and I won it in a giveaway. I was so excited to read this because the book community was raving about it, but I’m really sad to say that whilst I did enjoy this – I didn’t absolutely love it until the last 50 or so pages.

Roshani Chokshi’s writing style is absolutely beautiful. No lie, this is honestly some of the most beautiful writing I have ever read. I can not believe that this is a debut novel. The writing was lyrical, whimsical, utterly captivating and I found myself completely lost in it. I wanted to drown in the words and live in the pages. I will say now that if you don’t like writing that’s over-descriptive and full of poetic metaphors then you’ll probably want to hit your head against the wall reading this. That style happens to be my absolute favourite. I found it breathtakingly gorgeous. The only thing is sometimes I found myself too lost in the writing. I was confused for a far chunk of this book. Admittedly, I still don’t know what happened in some parts. That could just be me though.

“Staring at the sky in Bharata was like exchanging a secret. It felt private, like I had peered through the veil of a hundred worlds. When I looked up, I could imagine – for a moment – what the sky hid from everyone else. I could see where the winds yawned with silver lips and curled themselves to sleep. I could glimpse the moon folding herself into crescents and half-smiles. When I looked up, I could imagine an existence as vast as the sky. Just as infinite. Just as unknown.” 

The writing style really helped the world that was created come alive. We aren’t given much backstory on it, but in a way I like that. It almost added an element of magical realism to the story. The vivid descriptions were honestly more than enough for me to be able to picture this world. When I was reading this book it felt like I was actually there. The Otherworld pulled me in and I never wanted to leave. The Night Bazaar was so eerily beautiful.

I loved the way Indian and Greek mythology was woven together. It felt so magical. I loved the whole idea of the tapestry and fates. It was so interesting and I learnt so much from reading this book. Mythology can be an overwhelming topic if you’re new to it and I now feel like I have a gateway and starting point to research more.

I was really enjoying the start of the book. Maya is extremely determined and not willing to let everyone’s hatred or fear towards her break her. She holds her head up high and stands up to the other women in the Harem who treat her awfully. She takes advantage of no one wanting to be around her to spy on the Raja’s meetings. Maya wants the impossible and it was really inspiring. I was so excited to see this story of female empowerment unfold, but that’s kind of where it ended until the last part of the book.

“Why did they always start with history? Show me a dream unrealised. Don’t show me unchangeable paths.”

The romance in this book is so nauseatingly instalove-y. The moment Maya meets Amar there’s a “charged moment”. I do realise there’s the whole reincarnation and past lives thing, but I would have liked to have seen more build up. It was a serious case of told but not seen. I didn’t even feel any chemistry between Maya and Amar whatsoever. I know a lot of people’s favourite part of this book was the romance, but I did not care for it one little bit. Yeah, Amar said some really poetic and “swoon worthy” words to Maya, but I didn’t feel it or believe it. I don’t know, maybe I just don’t have a heart. To me it seemed like Maya stopped doing everything for herself and did it for Amar instead. I know he kept saying she was his equal ect. but I just didn’t like the sudden shift. The only redeeming quality of this romance is that Amar was actually a pretty decent guy. I would have liked to see Maya actually be a queen instead of just having the title.

The end of the first part was so incredibly slow. I felt like absolutely nothing had happened until a possible twist was brought into play. For the first time I felt like Maya was herself again, not the subdued character she’d been reduced to since she married Amar. I was genuinely excited and then much to my utter dismay it went in an extremely predictable direction and I was left feeling disappointed. <spoiler>Honestly this book would have received a billion stars from me if Amar really was trying to kill Maya and she fought back with help from Nritti and reclaimed her fate. The princess destroying the king? With help from her best female friend from her past life? Sign me the heck up.</spoiler>

Everything definitely picked up in the second half. Even though I would have preferred events to be different I really like that Maya acknowledges her mistakes. She felt like a much stronger character even if Amar was her main priority. The second half was a lot more fast paced, but this also resulted in an information overload. I understand and appreciate that this is a standalone (to a degree anyway, there’s going to be a companion novel, but more on that later) so it’s not like things could be built over several books. It was just A LOT to take in.

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi 1
“I don’t need a reason to set the world on fire and burn a little bit brighter now”

One thing I absolutely cherished about this book, despite its flaws, was Maya’s relationship with her sister Gauri. It was so wonderful and refreshing. It’s rare that we see sibling relationships in books never alone such positive ones. I really wish there was more scenes with the two of them because one in particular made me tear up. I loved how much they cared about each and wanted to keep the other safe, but with that were never willing to hold the other one back. Gauri was actually so interesting and I almost wished I could follow her journey instead. I’m hoping the companion that Roshani has planned centers around her. Another brilliant aspect in this book was the bond that Maya develops with a horse named Kamala who becomes her companion in her journey to save Amar. I won’t say too much about it because there’s some really hilarious lines of dialogue and it was interesting learning what exactly Kamala is. For a good solid portion of the book Kamala was actually my favourite character. <spoiler>I just wish she was able to eat Maya and Amar’s instalove.</spoiler>

I can’t talk too much about the villain of the story without spoiling everything, but I did find her really interesting. I’m just sad that Maya didn’t have more positive female friendships beside Gauri. And Kamala, I guess.

Like I mentioned about the ending of this book is when my “slightly enjoyable” feelings turned into “loved”. Maya became someone who was willing to fight for herself again and she took her destiny into her own hands and reclaimed her fate. She accepted all parts of herself, her flaws and weakness, whilst also acknowledging that she was brave and a forced to be reckoned with.

“I am a frightened girl, a roaring river and night incarnate.”

I was debating for hours what to rate this. I felt like the writing style was way too superior for 3 stars, but only truly loving the last 50 pages wasn’t really worthy of 4 stars. If I used half ratings this would be a 3.5, but since I don’t I eventually decided on 4 because of the writing style, Maya’s relationship with Gauri, the mythology and Kamala. If one of those elements didn’t exist I definitely would have only given this 3 stars.

I had my issues with this book, but overall I’d still reccomend you read it. I didn’t have a negative experience reading this, I just didn’t love it as much as I wanted to. It’s not entirely Roshani’s fault. I guess I was just expecting something a little different. The writing is beautiful, the mythology is magical and if you’re a fan of star-crossed romances (and don’t mind some Instalove) then you will absolutely love this!

MY RATING: ★★★★


Have you read The Star-Touched Queen? Are you planning to? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

I hope you’re all having a magical day! xx

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58 thoughts on “Show Me A Dream Unrealised // Review: The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen #1) by Roshani Chokshi

  1. Ahhh I’m really curious about this book and I loved your review! That quote that you chose at the beginning has definitely made up my mind as to whether I’ll buy it or not – I love whimsical writing so this sounds perfect! It’s a shame about the romance, but I’m glad it didn’t ruin the book for you! I kind of felt the same way about the romance between Kamil and Shazi in TWATD, so we can have unpopular opinions together aha! 😂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It was written so, so beautifully!

      Yeah, I think I would have enjoyed the romance if it was more built up and not so sudden like the moment they met sudden.

      I have a feeling I’m not going to like the romance in TW&TD either. 😅

      Like

  2. I hate when I can’t decide between two ratings..I can literally ponder it for hours on end, haha! I’ve heard a lot about this book and it’s peaked my interest. I have to say the idea that there is instalove in this scares me. There are very few books with instalove in which I actually become invested in the couple. On the other hand I feel like the mythology and (what sounds like) beautiful writing are sucking me in. That said, I’ll probably end up giving it a shot. Great review! 🙂

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    1. Same! I always second guess myself too, haha. The writing was really beautiful and the combinations of different cultures and mythology was wonderful. It’s a shame the romance was so instalove-y. I really hate that trope with a fiery passion, but I still had a good time reading this. If you decide to read it I hope you enjoy it!

      Like

  3. Wonderful review, Lauren! It doesn’t read like a mean unpopular opinion, it’s just honest 🙂 The second I sniffed instalove in this book, I was out. I’m not sure though. I think I’d be willing to read it for the poetic sentences and mythological elements, but I know to expect instalove now.

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    1. Thank you, Fatima 😊! It’s such a shame that the romance was disgustingly instalove-y. I couldn’t even believe the concept of a past life because there was just no build up. The writing and diverse mythology was almost enough to make up for it though. If you decide to read it I’d love to hear your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a wonderful review Lauren! And I’m glad you liked this book too though it’s a shame the insta-love angle ruined it slightly for you. Reading your review I completely agree, I would have loved it if Amar was actually trying to kill Maya and she reclaimed her destiny with Nritti, I would definitely read any book that had that as a general plot! 😀
    I also loved the writing and the setting and the world-building, honestly I feel like it was my favourite part of the whole book and I am looking forwads to whatever Roshani comes out with next, I am so so excited for the companion novel to come out!
    Great review! 😀

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    1. Thanks, Beth! I definitely think I would have loved it a lot more if the romance had a bit more of a slow build, but I can see why it had to happen quicker. I just couldn’t get into it all.

      Haha, right!! It would have been such a great twist and I kept holding out hope. Oh well, maybe next time 😆

      Yes, same! The writing was so whimsical and beautiful. I’m definitely going to be reading the companion and whatever else she publishes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think when dealing with standalones everything has to happen a little quicker because there aren’t multiple books to spread the story and the development over, it’s why generally I prefer series to standalones.
        It certainly would have been unexpected, I think I would have been in awe at that twist if that’s where the story had gone.
        Oh I’m the same, anything she releases will go to the top of my to-read list. I thought this book was so beautifully written and I loved the story too, I’m excited to see what she comes out with next! 😀

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        1. Yes, definitely! I love standalones because it’s less commitment 😂 but I love series because it allows for development and build up which I love.

          Ahh, same! Oh well, it was still a really beautiful book especially for a debut!! I definitely can’t wait to see what she brings out next!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. There are probably loads of standalones that are really great but I haven’t come across many. And yeah I always hate waiting for the next book in a series but I love how the development can be built up over more than one books.
            I was surprised this was a debut, it’s one of the best I’ve read in a while. And yeah, really excited for the companion novel!

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            1. Some of my favourite books are surprisingly standalones, haha, but they are all contemporary thrillers which I think is a lot more easier to pull off than fantasies because they don’t need to have all the intricate world building. I definitely agree that in the fantasy/sci-fi genre series are normally always better than standalones.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I do have a few favourite standalone books that are favourites but most of my favourites are series, and I can’t think of any fantasy books that are standalones that are favourites of mine because, yeah, the world building is too much to fully develop in one book I think.

                Liked by 1 person

  5. This is such a great and in-depth review, Lauren! I completely agree with everything you said.

    I really disliked the insta-love in this book, and I don’t think the reincarnation explanation did much to absolve that. There was insta-love even in the scene of where they first met. It definitely would’ve been a more unique and interesting plot if things went the way you described in your spoiler. I would’ve loved to read that.

    I also think the companion novel will focus on Gauri, so I’m super excited for that! Once again, fantastic review! 🙂 ❤

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    1. Thank you, Jorelene! That means a lot 😊

      The instalove was AWFUL, right? I couldn’t even get behind the past lives thing because it seemed so faked and forced. There was no build up at all. I know it was like a “spiritual” connection, but I couldn’t believe it :/

      Haha, I’m glad you think so too! I was holding out so much hope, but sigh.

      Me too! She was such an interesting character. Hopefully the romance will be handled better in that one haha.

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  6. Great review, Lauren! I agree completely with what you said about the writing style – it helped the story come alive, but I also found myself occasionally lost in it that I didn’t always know what was going on, except that whatever it was, it’s told in this very pretty (though not always understandable) way. 😛

    And yeah, 100% with you on the insta-love as well. I found Amar way, WAY too over-the-top and even with the reincarnation history it’s a bit much for me. They were just ~in love~ from pretty much day minus a hundred. And with what you had between that spoiler tags… I’d have loved that too. It’d be SO MUCH MORE interesting.

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    1. Thanks, Reg!! Right, it was so beautiful and one of my biggest weaknesses but I definitely found myself getting confused by it at some points too. Like I still only have a basic idea of how the Otherworld works 😅

      The instalove was soooo bad! The past lives thing didn’t even work because it was just so forced and instantaneous.

      Haha, riiight!! I was holding out so much hope that it was going to go that way, but sighh.

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      1. I definitely think the magic was left completely mysterious, like we never found out why or how the power works – it just does. It doesn’t bother me that much but I think I would LOVE to see that explored a little bit further!

        And yeees, absolutely. The past lives make it a bit more forgivable, I think, but it doesn’t completely salvage the situation for me.

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  7. I have The Star-Touched Queen on my TBR list. I’m glad you liked it! I think I might buy it over the weekend 🙂

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  8. Gorgeous review! This book really got a lot of mixed reviews and I’m always excited to know what people think about it. I personally don’t really like the character and the insta love. Ughhh. It’s weird that the moment Amar whirled into the room, all the atmosphere suddenly changed and Maya just knew it… right? But I have to agree, beautiful cover, beautiful writing style, and beautiful world!

    Like

    1. Thanks so much! I had only seen positive until I started looking up things to write mine, but then I saw that I fortunately wasn’t alone haha.

      Yeah! I hated that so much. I know the past lives would have affected her, but we were never really shown any of it so I couldn’t believe it ::

      Like

  9. Great review! I think that I would feel the same way about this book as you did, so I’m not sure if I want to pick it up. The mythology part sounds really interesting, so if I ever decide to read it, it would be for that.

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  10. This is such a gorgeous review, seriously, thank you for sharing this, and all of the little negative points about this book just as well. I’ve heard a lot of great things about that title, and I’m glad you underlined some not-so-great things in your review 🙂
    I have to say, right from reading these quotes, I kind of fell in love with the writing style and I’d love to read it just for that, and that sort of magical realism you underlined. I mean, I love this kind of book, and I definitely want to read more of these 🙂 I’m a bit annoyed about the insta-love part, but SIBLINGS? I need to read that. I love siblings relationships so, so much ❤

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    1. Thanks so much, Marie! I get nervous about posting reviews because I’m not the best writer so that really means a lot ❤️

      The writing style was absolutely stunning. The sibling relationship definitely kind of made up for the instalove. There’s isn’t as much interaction between Maya and Gauri as I would have liked to seen though. There’s only like five or six (I think) chapters throughout the book, but what we saw was really great!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Another book I’m not interested in reading whatsoever. I feel like the more recent hyped up books are just really not for me? My reading taste seems to be changing and it’s kinda scary.
    But great review!

    Like

    1. Change and I are not good friends, haha. Admittedly, I haven’t been too interested in a lot of the recent hyped books. My curiosity will be my undoing I swear, haha. You definitely shouldn’t be scared of wanting to read new things though! And thank you! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m glad you enjoyed this one! Like you, I’ve seen this floating around for ages, and I do really want to read it. That cover is so so beautiful! I’m not sure about the descriptive writing – sometimes it can work really well for me, but other times I find ti slow, and it can get a little boring. Have you read The Wrath and the Dawn? They sound very similar, and I enjoyed that, so do you recommend this to me? I don’t like the sound of the romance, but I think I would be able to put it aside for the feminism and the beautiful book ❤

    Denise | The Bibliolater

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    1. Thank you! Yeah, the writing I think is definitely hit or miss. It is one of my weaknesses but I also found it to get a little overbearing at times. I was so swept up in I lost track of what was happening.

      It’s a shame the romance wasn’t handled, but the diverse mythology and a few other elements definitely made up for it. haven’t read TW&TD, but I’ve heard a ton of people say they’re similar! So I think if you enjoyed that you’ll probably enjoy this too!

      Like

  13. I really enjoyed this book and I love the author’s writing style. Though some parts really confused me and quite overwhelming. Still, it’s good. Wonderful, honest review Lauren!

    Like

  14. I have been so interested in reading this book, but I keep seeing people talk about the “lyrical” writing and I just don’t know. I honestly cannot stand flowery prose so I’m wondering if I should just skip this book altogether. :/ I’m so glad you enjoyed this though, even if it wasn’t perfect!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

    Like

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