Book Review: A Crown of Wishes (The Star-Touched Queen #2) by Roshani Chokshi (2017)

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

This story left me heartbroken, but for all the wrong reasons…

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for rape.)

“Find the one who glows, with blood on the lips and fangs in the heart.”

DNF at 60%.

When we first revisit Gauri, the Princess of Bharata – and the scrappy, story-hungry younger sister of Maya, the Star-Touched Queen of the series’ title – it’s from behind the bars of a dark, dank dungeon. Jealous of the devotion Gauri inspires in their people (and no doubt smarting from an assassination plot), her older brother Skanda arranged for her execution at enemy hands. Lucky for her (or is it really? Gauri is no distressed damsel), the Fox Prince needs Gauri alive.

The adopted only son of the the Emperor Pururavas, Vikram’s pending power is in name only: The Council of Ujijain refuses to let an orphan of common blood rule their land. Announcing Gauri’s execution is to be his first official act. But to kill the Jewel of Bharata is to turn his back on his one chance at true power. Vikram’s invitation to compete in the mythical Tournament Of Wishes is for two: himself and a partner who glows. And when he first sets his eyes on Gauri, she is positively luminescent.

With a little persuading – after what happened to Maya, Gauri wants nothing to do with magic – the two set off for the Otherworld, in pursuit of victory … and their most treasured wishes.

(More below the fold…)

Book Review: The Star-Touched Queen, Roshani Chokshi (2016)

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

Oh my stars!

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley.)

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.

“I want your perspective and honesty,” he said, before adding in a softer voice, “I want to be humbled by you.”

Heat flared in my cheeks. I paused, the stick in my hand falling a fraction. Perspective and honesty? Humbled by me? Rajas never asked for anything other than sons from their consorts.

“My kingdom needs a queen,” he said. “It needs someone with fury in her heart and shadows in her smile. It needs someone restless and clever. It needs you.”

“You know nothing about me.”

“I know your soul. Everything else is an ornament.”

In the kingdom of Bharata, seventeen-year-old Mayavati is known as “the one with the horoscope” – cursed by cold, distant stars that promise a marriage of Death and Destruction. Maya is something of an outcast; though her father the Raj doesn’t place any credence in such superstitions, the Raj’s harem and the larger realm believe that one’s horoscope speaks the truth, if only we mortals deign to listen. And so Maya is scorned, treated like an outcast and a pariah, and blamed for the realm’s misfortunes, large and small.

Yet her morbid horoscope also promises Maya a life of (relative) freedom: unlike her many half-sisters, Maya is not expected to marry. Instead, she delves into academia, burying her nose in the kingdom’s dusty archives and delighting in chasing away a series of stuffy old tutors. She looks forward to becoming a “scholarly old maid” – better than being sold into a marriage of political convenience, just one of many wives left to beg scraps of attention from a near-stranger, no?

(More below the fold…)