Author: Roshani Chokshi
Book: The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen #1)
Published: April 2016
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Maya’s horoscope promises a marriage of death and destruction. This earns her scorn and fear in her father’s kingdom. With marriage seeming an unlikely prospect, Maya opts for more scholarly pursuits. Then, her father offers her hand for a wedding of political convenience to quell a rebellion. However, she is the bait in a trap. To spring it, she must kill herself. However, a man steals into her bedchamber to claim her. Amar makes her the queen of Akaran. Saved from the political necessity of suicide, she finds her voice and power.
But, Akaran has its own secrets. There are many locked doors, and her life is soon in danger. She begins to wonder if her husband can be trusted. The human and otherworld are in peril. She must sort through ancient mysteries and past reincarnation to save those she loves.
The Star-Touched Queen is a fantasy based on ancient Indian mythology. It has a slow start but becomes interesting as Maya begins to unravel the mysteries surrounding her. Amar could be called the king of the dead. I would say his realm is the crossroads between life, death, and reincarnation. Maya is being tutored in the use of her powers. Unfortunately, circumstances compel Amar to keep secrets from her. This, in turn, causes her to doubt him. This is especially true when voices through the halls of Akaran tell her not to trust him. Who can she believe?
The book involves a political intrigue and betrayal. Maya must recover from an error in judgment and misplaced trust. The element of reincarnation adds a bit of confusion, similar to various time travel novels. This sets up the ending to an extent, making it seem a little less deus ex machina. The resolution seems a bit rushed, but it is still an engaging novel.