Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publishing Date: March 28th, 2017
We used to talk about how difficult it was for a book to stand out among the crowd, because the market was getting saturated with countless choices to go through. Then we started saying the same about the fantasy YA market.
And you know what? Not only is it true, but I’d add that it is difficult even for a GOOD book to stand out.
Not only does today’s book stand out, but it stands out really well.
This is the second book of the STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN series, a series based on the culture and mythology of the Indian subcontinent. If you’ve been following this blog you’d have figured by now that I’m always on the lookout for non-Eurocentric fantasy, and I’m glad that this book didn’t fail my expectations.
After reading the Star-Touched Queen, I thought about how much effort and time Ms. Chokshi must have put to craft such a world. Deep, relatable characters; gorgeous scenes; a meticulously realized setting, all without those outdated clichés and without the ever-burning-desire of some authors to cram as much unnecessary aspects of the world in the narrative as possible.
The author didn’t resolve to such techniques to grab her reader’s attention, and I can tell you that her writing and excellent understanding of the world is key to why this series is bound to succeed.
The story follows Gauri—a strong, fierce captive princess; and Vikram—the leader of her captors’ country. The book depicts the excellent blend of Gauri’s seriousness and strength with Vikram’s wit and charm, as they both embark on a fantastical quest in a mythical city.
This is a companion novel, and thus you don’t need to have read The Star-Touched Queen. The writing style is different this time, but maintains what made TSTQ a success; meaningful relationships, genuine characters, and the layers depicting the human nature.
Know what? There’s a big chance that fans of the series will love this book even more than TSTQ. The intricate description and the lovely setting serve the story better this time, and the chemistry between the two protagonists is a must-read-to-appreciate.
Verdict? Another addition to the five-stars-shelf, and a definite recommendation to my fellow fantasy readers. Well done, Ms. Chokshi.