Author: Roshani Chokshi.
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. (Goodreads summary)
While normally romance isn’t my thing, The Star-Touched Queen felt more like a book length fairy-tale than a romance. I don’t know exactly what it was about the plot – maybe just that many fairy-tales have the same kind of set up: one lover exiled from the other, forced to complete their quest and find their way back to reunite. But, of course, there was also the lovely mythological setting, the gorgeous vivid prose, the timeless feel (oh, there’s another fae element: the unnoticed passage of years instead of days.)
I’ve always enjoyed the book-length fairy tale style, and I did this time too. There’s not as much character development as there could have been, but that’s only in style for a tale. And by now you may know I have a soft spot for rich prose – well, Ghokshi seems to be just as much in love with the poetic style.
Sexual Content: “I’d rather spread ideas than legs,” I hissed. “But I doubt you would agree-“. / “I should hope there are more frightening things then sharing a bed with me.” : Newly weds – bc the girl’s uncomfortable they only sleep in the same bed, nothing more. / Some kissing. Courting, in the form of compliments and exchanged gifts. /
Violence: Girl locked in her room beats on the door until she bloodies her knuckles. King gives a character a vial of poison – he’s asking her to kill herself (it’s complicated. She’s royal-blooded and marriageable but difficult) for ‘the good of the country’. Surprise attack by soldiers – character flees. Man cuts his hand for a blood-oath. Character is forced to make a decision about the fate of other characters/her country – (literally pulling a thread from a tapestry of fate) which leads to war. Character sees ghosts of the dead walking through the halls of her palace. Misled character begins destroying a magical memory-tree (sets fire to it, later stabs it), in the process hurting another character psychically bound to it. Girl ends up traveling with a demon-horse-thing that wants to eat her, and makes comments like “Would you like me to eat him?” and “Just one bite of her?”. Character sees spirit-thing draining the youth from a girl to feed herself. Girl stabs an immortal(ish) character through the heart – knocks him out/wounds him (doesn’t kill). Two characters fight with magic. Monsters fight amongst themselves with tooth and claw.