Princess Mayavati is the daughter of a Raja, cursed with a horoscope that brings death and destruction to all those she holds dear. Shunned by others for her dangerous curse, Maya only trusts her innocent younger sister Gauri, and wishes to pursue a career of knowledge rather than marriage or prosperity. When her father makes a sudden announcement that she is to be wed, to form political alliances and resolve disputes, Maya choses to wed the intriguing Prince Amar on a whim— but that is not all. Being the Queen of Akaran, Maya must find out secrets and disguised truths, reincarnation, betrayal, and a character from her past.
The Star-Touched Queen loosely follows the story of Hades and Persephone from Greek mythology, set in a fantasy India with different kingdoms: Bharata (Maya’s father’s kingdom), Akaran, Karusha, Gandhara, and Odra, among others. Princess Mayavati is the daughter of the Raja of Bharata, a strong woman with feminist values who occasionally makes rash, foolhardy decisions. Her father cares more about his kingdom than his family, urging Maya to forfeit her life as a part of his grand scheme to take over enemy kingdoms. Maya’s sister is Gauri, a sweet, innocent young girl, and eventually on her journey, she encounters a sharp-tongued horse named Kamala.
The Star-Touched Queen is rich in folklore and has a unique setting. The novel is incredibly descriptive, and it is easy to vividly imagine scenes (the Night Bazaar, the Otherworld, etc.) Minor characters and their intentions, such as Mother Dhina, had unique personalities and attitudes that changed later in the book. However, I felt the main characters were not fleshed out well. Maya’s past is weakly described and there is definitely room for character development. The pacing of the book was slightly off as well— while the first half was fast-paced, the second half was confusing with the reincarnations and alternate endings. Maya and Amar’s love felt forced, fake, and instant.
Nonetheless, The Star-Touched Queen was a book worth reading for its fantastic descriptions and strong beginning. This novel is unique in all aspects and while there could be some improvemenst, I’d recommend it and would definitely be eager to read another book by the author.
☆ ☆ ☆ // 3 STARS