HNS Book Review: A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi


Title: A Crown of Wishes (The Star-Touched Queen, #2)
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 352
Year:  2017
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Source: Netgalley
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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.

Reviewer’s Thoughts:

They say lyrical writing would lull you to sleep, that it takes too long to decipher the literal meaning of the text, that it lacks action. But I’ve always been a fan of lyricism. I like the particular lilt and soulful ambiance; I personally find Chokshi’s words to be unearthly. It would remind you of your most successful victory, and the joy that accompanied that memory. It would make you nostalgic, and perhaps weep, as it extracts your greatest sorrow. I couldn’t help but to sway with the rhythmical tread of the plot. It is sweet and calculated. That’s why I love lyrical writing. It compels me.

The Star-Touched Queen is filled with lovely prose and gorgeous characters. The companion sequel, A Crown of Wishes, isn’t any different from that legacy. Though, I find this book to be more about the movement after movement. So, if you’re hesitant to pick it up because the first novel seems lacking, you should give it a chance. It’s similar, but also different.

A Crown of Wishes follows the story of Gauri, the exiled princess of Bharata. She’s been shunned after attempting to usurp her brother. Now, she’s a prisoner of war and she won’t stop until she achieves her goal. Here comes Vikram, the prince of a neighboring kingdom. He offers to whisk her away in exchange of becoming his partner for the Tournament of Wishes. It’s a magical competition hosted by the Lord of Treasures where the victors get to have their wish granted. It’s a battle of wits and survival.

Find the one who glows, with blood on the lips and fans in the heart.

This is an ingenious prose, it’s going to rope readers that seek mystery. It’s a tournament of riddles. There’s a puzzle needing to be solved or else their life might be forfeited. There’s always a twist, too. The competition is taking place in Alaka, an enigmatic city cloaked with magic and possibilities; where otherworldly creatures exist.

For me, it’s the characters that make or break the story. The female protagonist, Gauri, is easy to empathize with. Some might label her as unlikable. She’s full of human flaws. She’s a princess who had to learn how to shield herself because weakness is a deadly price, she can’t afford. It takes her some time to thaw herself for new people. I think that’s admirable. I love her so much. If you’ve read the first book, you’d see how much she’d change. While Vikram, our male protagonist is full of surprises as well. His strength lies with his resourcefulness and quick tongue. He doesn’t wield a weapon as much as Gauri does, which is refreshing. He’s funny and not afraid to admit what he wants. That’s why he and Gauri make a perfect match. This ship is something I’m willing to go down with.

Although it was Aasha, the new character, that left an impression on me. She’s a vishakanya. A woman that dreams what is it like to eat something other than desire. She’s a wild card that melts my heart. I hope we get to know her better. Also, she’s canon wlw. *insert war cry*

There’s some certain scenes that didn’t set down with me, Shenwei from readingasiam has eloquently talked about it. I encourage you to read about it if you’re curious. 

A Crown of Wishes is more than just pretty words. The strength also lies with the characters and the plot. It is a novel threaded with cautionary tales meant to serve a warning to those who doesn’t know better.  I’m excited to read more from this world.

Disclaimer:  As I am not being represented in the text, this review didn’t critically examine the cultural aspect. Though, keep in mind The Star-Touched Queen is an #ownvoices book.

Review also posted at Amazon and Goodreads.