A Crown of Wishes is a delectable read, simply scrumptious.... Roshani Chokshi once again shows how much of a magical wordsmith she is, the way she puts words together just amazes me. The Star-Touched Queen, the first book in this series, was one of my favorite books of 2016, so I had high exceptions, and I'm happy to say that A Crown of Wishes did not disappoint.
Synopsis & Details:
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 read more... 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.
Title: A Crown of Wishes
Series: The Star-Touched Queen #2
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publication Date: March 28th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Source: I received an arc from the publisher for review consideration (thanks St. Martin's Griffin!) this in no way affected my review, cross my heart.
First things first, let's talk characters....
Vikram was probably (don't ask me to make up my mind, I'm terrible with decisions) my favorite. It took me approximately 3 sentences and five seconds to fall in love with him. I mean, just look at all this fabulous sassiness:
Vikram had tired bribing them. At one point, he offered Gauri's hand in marriage, which earned him two sharp jabs in the ribs. For equality's sake, he offered his own hand in marriage, but that ended all bargaining negotiations on the spot.
Vikram's eyes widened. "What's this? Praise from Her Beastliness in the morning? Are you under a curse that makes you friendly before noon? If so, how do we make it permanent?"
While it did take me a bit to warm up to her, once I did, Aasha quickly claimed a spot in my heart. Her curiosity and hunger for knowledge and life won me over. Last but not least of our three narrators is Gauri, the Jewel of Bharata, she is such a badass, and her love and devotion for her country is beyond admirable.
A Crown of Wishes is not a book you should read on an empty stomach.
The descriptions of food throughout the novel made me so damn hungry. Read the following quote and tell me you aren't suddenly and inexplicably starving:
Split guavas sprinkled with cane sugar filled a crystal bowl. Saffron rice, buttery naan, savory onion and potato dishes, cold yogurt studded with pomegranate seeds like rubies and silver cups of spicy dal waited for us.
And if your mouth still isn't watering, here's another one:
When we sat, a lavish feast appeared on the table. I eyed it suspiciously. There were fragrant biryani with saffron rice, hard-boiled eggs white as moonstones in a thick curry, apple and mint chutneys in glass bowls, globes of gulab jamun drenched in cardamom syrup, and bright orange jalebis coiled like gold bangles.
Chokshi truly has a way with words doesn't she? Speaking of that, her portrayals of magic are equally lavish (though they do make me feel significantly less hungry).
Her beautiful writing makes the magic and the world that much more vibrant.
I must've reread the scene where Lady Kauveri was introduced at least 50 times, it's too pretty for words.... (okay that statement makes like no sense, I mean the scene is made of words, how can it be too pretty for words? Pfft, I need to stop overanalyzing my own logical fallacies.) Anyways, here's that scene I was talking about for all you curious peeps:
The Lady Kauveri smiled at us. She wore a sari of rushing water, and in her elaborate braids, small streams and pebbles, tortoises and crocodiles no larger than a thumbnail clambered through her hair. No immortal being betrayed any flaw, but there was something restless about her, a kind of anxious energy that belonged to someone expecting tragedy.
And since this review is already like 50% quote, I might as well share another. This one's my absolute favorite bit from the entire book, and I assure you it had a tonnn of competition, after all this book is literal quote candy.
She reached for the wispy wish, curling it between her fingers and bringing it to her lips. She uttered her wish without words— a wish for control and choice, for curiosity and courage.
If I had to pick one quote to describe the entire novel, I'd probably pick the one above. It wraps all the magic and beauty of A Crown of Wishes into a pretty two-sentence package. (And I'm off with the weird lingo again.)
There were so many wonderful and thought provoking quotes such as this little gem:
“You see,” said Kubera. “Nothing is yours. Not even a story is yours, though you may lay claim to it with the teeth of your mind.”
And this one:
“The world moves to the tune of logic, even if it wears the face of chaos."
While reading A Crown of Wishes, I did have the occasional bout of confusion, as, admittedly, the story lost me a couple times. Though, I haven't heard any similar complaints, so it could just be me. The plot also came off as a bit disjointed at places. The story is divided into two major parts, Gauri and Vikram's respective conflicts back home and the Tournament of Wishes, which takes up most of the book. For me, these two didn't always feel completely cohesive, unfortunately.
If I'm honest, I definitely didn't like A Crown of Wishes as much as The Star-Touched Queen,
it just never managed to entirely suck me in like it's predecessor. Though that could've just been because I read the two books at totally different times. I picked up Star-Touched in the summer and read it straight through in one sitting, while I read Crown of Wishes during school and in small bursts because I had like zero time.
Some Cover Thoughts:
The second I saw A Crown of Wishes' cover, I was in love. The color scheme is one of my favorites, the shades of purple and green go perfectly together and really help evoke a magical feeling. While I don't recall Gauri ever mounting a brown horse and riding across a field wearing a mile-long dress in the book, and even though I'm usually a huge stickler for story accurate covers, I think it's the perfect touch. On the other hand, I could probably do without that border, and I'm not a fan of the title font.
Luscious and vibrant, A Crown of Wishes is filled to the brim with exquisite imagery and Hindu mythology.
The Jewel of Bharata and the Fox Prince of Ujijain both live up to their names, and make an entertaining and compelling duo. If you adored The Star-Touched Queen or are just looking to add some magic to your life, Chokshi's new novel is a must read.
Rating: 4/5 Stars
When it comes to writing styles, do you prefer simple and sweet or beautiful and prosey?