- My Rating: 3.5 Stars
- Spoiler-free review
- Pages: 342 Hardcover
- Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
- Published: April 26, 2016
- Roshani’s website (which is just as gorgeous as this book cover)
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.
Well…I’m really sorry for being MIA for over a month. My excuses are pretty lame so I’ll spare you the details-it’s all school’s fault. So. Much. Work. I’ve had a surprising amount of time to read, but not really to sit down and write a review. I figured I should probably pull myself out of this slump before I forget that I have a blog.
So, this book. I had some really mixed feelings. On the one hand, Chokshi’s writing is eloquent, vibrant, and beautiful. The way she weaves her descriptions create these amazingly lush and fantastical scenes. I felt as if I were in a dream; the world felt ethereal. It was wonderful…at first. But when every single phrase is lyrical and drawn-out, they become less special. Sometimes less words can say more.
Another issue with the prose was that its intangibility actually extended into the plot. None of the events felt concrete because there were just too many pretty words that went along with it. It seemed like Chokshi was so focused on building description that she lost sight of what was actually happening in the story, and I definitely picked up on this. I was utterly lost in some scenes because I couldn’t tell what was description and what was action.
The characters were a bit shallow, but overall realistic. Our main protagonist, Mayavati, harbors resentment for the stars and the horoscope that they predicted for her. Believing that Death would follow her, many of the other characters hold her in contempt, which she responds to relatably–she is angry and bitter. I enjoy that she lashes out in response, rather than throwing herself a pity party. Amar, our love-interest king, was definitely the weaker of the two characters. He blends to many other YA heroes, except that he really knows how to woo a girl with nice words. Otherwise, he is unmemorable. We don’t see much insight to him as a person as much as we do him as Maya’s lover. If that makes sense. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the only purpose he really has is to provide a companion for Maya. (He reminds me vaguely of Renee Adieh’s Khalid)
The aspect I enjoyed the most was the rich Indian setting. We often see Middle-Eastern inspired realms, but very few are set in the colorful vibrancy of South Asia. I loved the harem, the customs, the colors, the folklore. I think Chokshi’s writing paired especially well with this type of environment because she was able to create a mystical, mythical tone that complemented the ideas I already had of India.
Overall, the dreamy tone of this book was reminiscent of Rosamund Hodge’s Cruel Beauty. If you enjoy vibrant prose, rich language, and ethereal settings than this one is for you. However, it lacks a strong plot and characters, so my rating had to be taken down a few stars.
Thank you for reading and I promise (maybe) that it won’t be a month before I post again. My next read will be The Raven King. FINALLY!!!