I was cleaning my bookshelf a couple days ago when I came across The Star Touched Queen. I am the type of person that loves to be surrounded by piles of novels, stories surrounding me. Whenever I go into a bookstore, it’s rare I walk out without a new book. It’s not a good habit because I have far too many books, but then again, there are much worse problems to have. The Star Touched Queen was a book I bought about six months ago, and always meant to get around to reading, but never really did. But I had a free weekend, so I decided to give it a chance.
Chokshi’s debut is poetically written and steeped in Indian folklore. It follows Maya, a scorned princess thanks to her horoscope, which predicts a marriage to death. Maya is bitter, but not unhappy to lead a life between the pages of books, instead of dresses and balls. She prefers to watch the politics of the court play out from the rafters of her fathers’ throne room, where he conducts all of his meetings.
Unfortunately for Maya, this is a silly daydream. In order to serve her country, she must chose a husband. She chooses Amar, Raja of a place she’s never heard of, Akaran. When Maya gets there, she realizes Akaran is no ordinary kingdom. Filled with glass gardens, elephants that knit clouds, and tree with memories for leaves, Akaran is at the gateway between the living world and the Otherworld. Strangely however, the kingdom seems to be lacking subjects. The sole two people Maya has seen in her new home are Amar and his advisor, Gupta. The two of them are hiding something from Maya, but cannot tell her what it is until the new moon. Suddenly immersed in a bizarre yet beautiful world, Maya has to learn who to trust and what secrets to keep.
The Star Touched Queen, while fairly predictable, is still an enjoyable read. The way Chokshi builds Maya’s world so three dimensionally is enviable. The descriptions of characters and places are detailed and well thought through- while still leaving just enough to the reader’s imagination. The Star Touched Queen did not make quite a splash when it came out, but I think it should have. Perhaps Chokshi’s next novel, slated for March 2017, will garner more attention.