"Cursed with a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, sixteen-year-old Maya has only earned the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her world is upheaved when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. But when her wedding takes a fatal turn, Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Yet neither roles are what she expected. As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds friendship and warmth.
I would like to thank St. Martin's Press & NetGalley for a copy of this e-ARC to review. Though I received this ebook for free, that has no impact upon the honesty of my review.
This is a fantastic creation, pieces of several Indian mythologies woven together into something new and wholly its own. At once a story of self discovery, love, and ultimate power; this story spans lifetimes while only taking a few short years to occur. Thus is the magic of Akaran, Amar, and even Maya if she's willing to accept it.
I enjoyed Maya. She's feisty and smart, and stubborn to a dangerous fault. She's also loyal, caring, compassionate, and sometimes wise. But at the same time she's like most people, which means she doesn't like being kept in the dark. The longer the truth is kept from her the more inclined she is to trust in whispered secrets. Can she get past her desire for true freedom and trust Amar until all is to be revealed to her, or will her impulsiveness get her into trouble?
Amar is a harder character to get to know. He seems kind and certainly his love for Maya seems real. But since the story is told from Maya's point of view we don't get much more than her fleeting interactions with Amar to gauge his true intentions. But what we see of him makes him a likable character, even if he does seem to be keeping secrets.
The progression of the story is fairly smooth, and I like the way the story is frequently shown to us rather than simply being told. Although her background seems a tad long, its importance becomes clear deeper in the tale. Add in all the fantastic mythological beings, and parts of various myths, and you get a lovely, original story built on the bones of exceedingly beautiful, though sometimes frightening, Indian myths. This story stands up very well on its own; it also provides plenty of fodder, fueling my desire to learn more about the original Indian myths used to help craft such a powerful tale.
Roshani Chokshi comes from a small town in Georgia where she collected a Southern accent, but does not use it unless under duress. She grew up in a blue house with a perpetually napping bear-dog. At Emory University, she dabbled with journalism, attended some classes in pajamas, forgot to buy winter boots and majored in 14th century British literature. She spent a year after graduation working and traveling and writing. After that, she started law school at the University of Georgia where she's learning a new kind of storytelling.