A Crown of Wishes (The Star-Touched Queen #2) by Roshani Chokshi
Publication Date: March 28th 2017 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Rating: 4 Stars
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mythology
Find: Goodreads | Amazon
An ancient mystery. An unlikely union. For one young princess in a state of peril, a dangerous wish could be the only answer…
She is the princess of Bharata—captured by her kingdom’s enemies, a prisoner of war. Now that she faces a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. But should she trust Vikram, the notoriously cunning prince of a neighboring land? He promises her freedom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together they can team up and win the Tournament of Wishes, a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor. It seems like a foolproof plan—until Gauri and Vikram arrive at the tournament and find that danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans, mischievous story birds, a feast of fears, and twisted fairy revels. New trials will test their devotion, strength, and wits. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.
The much anticipated companion to The Star-Touched Queen, A Crown of Wishes takes us on a magical adventure. Rich in its mythology, Chokshi captivates with her luscious writing and brilliant character dynamics making it easy to immerse yourself in this world.
The writing in this book is stunning. It does a fantastic job at creating a vivid image of this world and capturing that magical atmosphere. However, the flowery writing also means that the pacing is slower and at times a bit verbose. The writing may be a divisive point among readers. Some will love it, others will hate it, and it’s easy to understand both perspectives on this matter.
One of the main issues in The Star-Touched Queen was the fact that, besides our protagonist, we never really got to know the secondary characters all that well. The characters we do meet all seem to be included to served as a means of furthering Maya’s character arc. This meant that there was a certain detachment to those characters because you never felt like you got to know them. Thankfully, A Crown of Wishes rectifies this situation as we get a much stronger understanding of our characters. This book well and truly benefited from having multiple perspectives as we follow Gauri, Vikram and Aasha’s adventures in the Tournament of Wishes.
The character themselves were a lot more three-dimensional in this installment of the series. Gauri, Maya’s half-sister, takes the lead this time around. Held captive in enemy territory, Gauri is determined to escape and return home. It was easy to root for Gauri. She appreciates the strength that comes from embracing your femininity, but is also an incredibly skilled warrior. Navigating the court of Bharata and her brothers cunning actions has made her guarded and wary to trust others. When Vikram provides an opportunity to escape, on the condition that she competes with him the Tournament of Wishes, she takes that chance, unaware of how this venture into a magic and wonder will change her.
Her companion, Vikram, the Fox Prince, has his reasons for needing to win this magical tournament; a desire for legitimacy. Vikram is on the verge of being hailed ruler of Ujijain. Only the court sees him as a puppet, holding no real value or power due to his illegitimacy. Vikram longs to have their acceptance as a ruler and this tournament provides an opportunity for him to fulfill this dream. Vikram is a great counter to Gauri. He might not be as skilled a warrior but he is witty, charming and intelligent. The dynamic between him and Gauri is phenomenal. As reluctant partners the banter between them was golden. Their dislike for one another was evident at the beginning. However, throughout the course of the book we get to unravel the walls both Gauri and Vikram have built around each other. When we scratch beneath the surface we get to see just how vulnerable both these characters are and in that vulnerability we see their longing. Longing to be the ruler their respective kingdoms deserve, the longing for acceptance and ultimately a longing for love. Their journey to each other was beautifully executed.
We are also treated to a secondary character’s perspective in this book as we are introduced to Aasha. A vishakanya saved from a human death to live a life of immortality with her sisters. Aasha was an interesting character to follow. She comes into the story to provide assistance to Gauri and Vikram. However, as she’s pulled into their journey we get to see her longing and fascination with humans. Grateful to be alive but resentful at the choice she wasn’t given, Aasha wonders what it would be like to be the human she was. It was an interesting exploration as we follow her longing, fascination and confusion. If Chokshi was ever to write a third book for this series, Aasha would make a great protagonist.
A Crown of Wishes was a stronger companion to A Star-Touched Queen. The writing was vivid in its world building and the characters were full of life and intrigue. Fans of the first book will love this installment.