FICTION

The Star-Touched Queen

352p. ebook available. St. Martin's Griffin. Apr. 2016. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250085474.
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RedReviewStarGr 9 Up— Born with a horoscope that predicts a marriage of death and destruction, Maya is an outcast in her father's kingdom, Bharata. When her father's political machinations go horribly wrong, Maya finds herself married to Amar and queen of Akaran—a mysterious place filled with secrets and magic. Amar offers Maya the chance to rule at his side and become more than Bharata ever would have allowed. All he asks in return is her patience and trust, which soon prove more than she can give. Her search for answers will lead her across worlds and through her own fragmented memories to discover surprising truths about her husband's kingdom and herself. Maya is refreshingly unapologetic about her ambitions and her desire for independence. Although her distrust and doubts lead to the main conflict of the story, she is quick to own those mistakes and works to correct them even when it might be to her detriment. Chokshi's debut fantasy is filled with vivid and unexpected imagery as Maya discovers the wonders and dangers found in her new home in the Otherworld. Well-researched figures from Hindu folklore and mythology, astonishing creatures, and expressive characters further complement the story. A setting drawn from ancient India, romance with feminist sensibilities, and a unique magic system reminiscent of Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Little, Brown, 2011) make this a novel sure to appeal to fans of Renée Ahdieh's The Wrath and the Dawn (Putnam, 2015).
VERDICT A stunning debut filled with lush writing, smart characters, and a mysterious plot that provides as many twists as it does swoons.

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