Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press/Griffin for giving me a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review! (And thanks to Brittany at Brittany’s Book Rambles for sending me a physical copy during the #BBTC Twitter chat!)
Well, I’m sad to say I did not enjoy this book as much as I did The Star-Touched Queen, which really disappoints me. The only thing that brought this book from a 2-star to a 3-star rating was the ending.
*hides from all the torches and pitchforks*
Title: A Crown of Wishes (The Star-Touched Queen #2)
Author: Roshani Chokchi
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Expected release date: March 28, 2017 (tomorrow!)
Length: 352 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Synopsis: (from Goodreads) “Gauri, the princess of Bharata, has been taken as a prisoner of war by her kingdom’s enemies. Faced with a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. Hope unexpectedly comes in the form of Vikram, the cunning prince of a neighboring land and her sworn enemy kingdom. Unsatisfied with becoming a mere puppet king, Vikram offers Gauri a chance to win back her kingdom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together, they’ll have to set aside their differences and team up to win the Tournament of Wishes—a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor.
Reaching the tournament is just the beginning. Once they arrive, danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans and mischievous story birds, a feast of fears and twisted fairy revels.
Every which way they turn new trials will test their wit and strength. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.”
Sadly, I’m not sure I have much else to say. The premise sounded amazing: two under-appreciated characters, Princess Gauri or Bharata and Prince Vikram of Ujijain, are thrown together in a tournament, where in the end, they are each granted one wish–a tournament hosted by the Lord of Treasures. (Did I mention their respective countries are at war?) Both want to prove themselves in different but similar ways. I do believe they obtain their objectives, but I felt various things were lacking.
Chokshi’s writing continues to be beautiful. It’s poetic and matches perfectly with the magical Otherworldly mystique of this book. But everything in between… Dangit, I wish I could place a finger on why exactly I wasn’t enthused to read this book. It literally felt like a chore. I liked the riddles and games, as it reminded me a great deal of Gollum and Bilbo’s banter in The Hobbit. Yes, great! But the actual “trials” themselves… I don’t know. I simply wasn’t satisfied, and mostly finished off those chapters confused.
“You spend an awful amount of time looking at my lips.”
“That’s only because I’m horrified at the sheer idiocy of the words leaping out of them.”
I’m not too sure I understood the point of Aasha, a magical being who desires to be rid of that magical part of her and be human again. I get the role she played in the end but the in between… What? Why? To show that magic isn’t something to be desired? To not get in over our heads? It baffles me. The same goes for Nalini. We’re told something terrible has happened to her and it has something to do with Gauri but…what? I liked their resolution in the end, though.
“Surviving isn’t just about cutting out your heart and burning every feeling into ash… Sometimes it means taking whatever is thrown at you, beautiful or grotesque, poisonous or blissful, and carving our your life with pieces you’re given.”
Truthfully, I wasn’t keen on Gauri or Vikram. Gauri is a strong female character, whose had to deal with loads of crap throughout her life, especially when Maya left, and I absolutely loved how Vikram never once discouraged or ignored her because she was a woman. I appreciated how he pushed her ideas forward and allowed her to see her own self in a positive light, especially since her brother is horrible and turned various people against her. Vikram and Gauri are like the opposites ends of the same coin; they complimented each other well, and despite their quips, I think they both learned from each other.
“Death might be waiting, but I was going to be queen. I would have my throne if it meant I had to carve a path of blood and bone to get it back.”
Something I wished there was more of: I know this isn’t Maya’s book, but TSTQ left a lot of be desired (for me) about Maya’s old life as a princess, and how she left Gauri alone. It becomes obvious that it’s affected Gauri in a way, and I wished they could have had more scenes together. I wasn’t satisfied with how their relationship dissolved. Sure, there were moments Gauri thought about her sister, but it wasn’t enough.
However, I did thoroughly enjoy the last few chapters. They really saved the book for me because Vikram and Gauri not only proved themselves, but we see other characters appreciating them as well. I didn’t think it ended abruptly either, and I really came to savor those last few chapters. Maybe that’s what I wanted more of–what their lives were like back at home. Yes, we get some flashbacks, but I needed more of them enjoying their new found freedom in their positions.
I’ll keep an eye out for what Chokshi writes next as I do love her writing style.