Hello and welcome to my blog tour stop for
THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN by Roshani Chokshi!
I have my review of the book plus a couple interview questions with the author!
But first let's learn about the book...
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Source: ARC via the Publisher
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
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.
A lush and vivid story that is steeped in Indian folklore and mythology. The Star-Touched Queen is a novel that no reader will soon forget.
"That is the whole purpose of a curse. To remind you that you are lacking, but never know what that hollow is."
This is magnificent and beautiful. Chokshi's writing is beautiful and flows nicely so that you get lost in her world while feeling like you being woven into the story. This is a story of learning who you are and of a love that transcends time. I highly recommend it.
I loved Maya. She was knowledgeable and fiesty and didn't want to sit around and wait for her life to happen. But she also acted too quickly without learning all the information. And that made her perfectly imperfect. It was a bit frustrating as the reader because she would overhear some of the story and make decisions based on that but it fit with her character. I liked that she realized she screwed up and tried to make amends for it.
I also really liked Amar. I liked his strength and determination to have Maya be his equal. I also really liked that he wasn't just saying she was his equal, but took steps to prove it was true. I would have liked to know more about him and his past but I am very satisfied with his story arc.
I think some of the secondary characters were well developed, her Father and Gauri especially. I felt like I knew them and could understand their wants and emotions. I liked seeing their lives through the eyes of Maya because while we got her perspective on things, it also shed some light as to how others saw her. I also really liked that the other characters had their own paths, or threads if you will, and that they just happened to cross with Maya's. And while Maya was something that brought them together, they were still able to continue on with their lives after she was gone. I like when secondary characters have their own agency.
I would have liked a bit more from the beginning. I thought the initial move to the Night Bazaar into Nakara was a little difficult to follow. Not overly difficult but enough that it gave me pause while I was reading. It was a little rushed and I would have liked just a bit more time spent on the wedding portion so I could understand a bit more. But once we got into the swing of things, this was easily one of the best YA Fantasy books I've read.
This is rich, lush, and filled with the intricacies of learning who you are while learning to love. If you haven't already, pre-order this one immediately. It is going to knock your socks off.
What/Who were your biggest inspirations for the characters in The Star-Touched Queen? Which character in The Star-Touched Queen did you personally relate to the most and why?
For Maya and Amar, they were inspired by the Hades/Persephone. But I imagined those two mythological characters a little more differently. In Maya’s case, I knew that ambition was her defining trait, but I wasn’t sure whether that would manifest as seeking emotional or material fulfillment. Turns out, it was a bit of both. Kamala was inspired by my love of fiendish side characters like Mogget from Garth Nix’s SABRIEL and is probably the character I relate to the most. Her sense of humor can be a little abrasive. But she’s fiercely loyal to her friends. Other people in TSTQ were inspired by a collection of people whom I met/knew/heard of growing up.
Have you always been drawn to Mythology and what are some of your favorite mythological tales? What myth specifically inspired Star-Touched?
Always! I was raised on mythology. It was one of the most important outlets for me to connect to my Filipino/Indian heritage. My favorite Indian myths are Shakuntula, Nala and Damayanti, and Savitri. My favorite Filipino story is the Igorot tale of the Sky Maiden. My favorite Western myth is Hades and Persephone. TSTQ was specifically inspired by Hades & Persephone.
Let's talk inspiration. What Indian folklore inspired The Star-Touched Queen and where could someone who might be interested in reading and learning more about it and other Indian stories (cough, me, cough) learn more?
The main Indian folktales/myths that inspired TSTQ or particular scenes were: Shakuntula (plays on the idea of memory and forgotten loves), Savitri & Satyavan (bargaining with Lord of Death, wily females!) and Narasimha (the fourth avatar of Lord Vishnu who defeated the demon king Hirayankashipu). Honestly, most of these were stories I heard growing up with my family. But my favorite thing to read when I was younger were the Amar Chitra Katha comics! They’re these illustrated tales from Indian mythology and I love them so so so much.
What scene in THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN was your favorite to write?
Definitely the scene where Amar and Maya are working together in the constellation room. I think it’s an important scene about interpretation, which, to me, is a major theme in TSTQ.
What is the one thing you want readers to walk away from STAR-TOUCHED with?
I hope readers see a little of how fairytales and folklore celebrate our shared experiences across cultural spectrums. And I hope their dreams are a little star-touched and that they close the book thinking they’ve tasted fairy fruit and walked through more than one life.
What is your next project? Is it in the same world as STAR-TOUCHED?
I just finished the companion novel to TSTQ! So, I’m hoping to get started on edits soon. I can’t wait for y’all to read it. I love it so much.
Which minor character from THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN do you hope everyone loves and why?
Kamala!!! She's so contradictory. Fiercely loyal. Completely insane. Like so many of our best friends.
ROSHANI CHOKSHI comes from a small town in Georgia where she collected a Southern accent, but does not use it unless under duress. She grew up in a blue house with a perpetually napping bear-dog. At Emory University, she dabbled with journalism, attended some classes in pajamas, forgot to buy winter boots and majored in 14th century British literature. She spent a year after graduation working and traveling and writing. After that, she started law school at the University of Georgia where she's learning a new kind of storytelling. More information on the author can be found at www.roshanichokshi.com.