Fantasy is my genre of choice, and I am always looking out for rich, diverse books to read and recommend. Lately, one book I can’t stop thinking about is The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi.
A horoscope decided the fate of the princess Mayavati: she will marry “death and destruction.” So, when her father arranges her wedding, Maya learns her role is not to marry an enemy general, but to sacrifice her life during the ceremony as part of a plot to end the war destroying her homeland. Just as that moment comes, a young man appears and knocks the vial of poison from her hand. He is Amar, raja and guardian of Akaran, a land Maya knows only from fairy tales. Amar explains the power hidden beneath the curse of her horoscope and asks Maya to come with him, to be his queen and partner, to help protect his kingdom. Maya, unwilling to die as a pawn of her father, agrees. Once in Akaran, she is drawn into Amar’s strange, quiet court. Mysteries lay in shadow, and power lies in choice. Maya must use her wits to break open these dark and deadly secrets to save the kingdom… and herself.
I love books rooted in folklore, especially from cultures and traditions with which I am less familiar. Chokshi marvelously blends Indian mythology with more familiar conventions. At times the story ventures into well-used tropes—at least, until the appearance of a looming, skeletal, talking horse turns everything on its head! Vivid language, vibrant mythology, and high stakes make this one not to miss.
And don’t miss the sequel: A Crown of Wishes!
--Rachel, Teen Library Assistant II