Not a book review of The Star-Touched Queen

This is not a book review, but if it were it would be a review of The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi.

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani ChokshiYou may recall that in my last post I committed to reading four recent (in a loose sense of the word) fantasy novels in February.

Easy, right? It’s not uncommon for me to finish a book in a day or two, so four in a month gives me 22 days’ leeway. Except February is a short month, which takes me down to 20 days, and I didn’t start until the 7th, so 14 days.

I also have two books I hope to beta read this month, which takes much longer than normal reading, so say 5 days apiece, and I’m down to 4 days’ leeway.

I’m happy to say I finished reading the first book on my list, The Star-Touched Queen, on Friday. It took 4 days, or 2 over budget, which takes me down to 2 days’ leeway.

And I suspect it might be the shortest of the lot.

Never mind. If I don’t finish all the books this month I’ll run into next month. You can still win any of the books (did I mention that?), so no need to panic.

What I learned so far

Reading challenge and not a review of The Star-Touched QueenI knew I’d learn something from this reading challenge, and what I’ve learned so far is that I prefer to read at my own rate, not to meet an arbitrary deadline. It makes reading, which should be pleasurable, a little too much like schoolwork.

I also learned that I’m not great at finishing books. I did finish The Star-Touched Queen, but if I hadn’t publicly said I would I probably wouldn’t have.

Finally, I learned that opportunity cost is real. Yes, I can find time to read fantasy each day, but it means doing less of other things such as sleeping, reading non-fiction that has me excited, and writing. Sometimes it’s worth the cost, other times it’s not.

My not-review of The Star-Touched Queen

This is not a review because I’m not going to try to be objective, though I might write an actual review on Amazon later. This is just my reaction to the book.

I can’t recall how The Star-Touched Queen ended up on my list. I think it was a Twitter recommendation (though not one specifically directed at me).

It had one strike against it right from the start: it’s written in first person. I don’t like first person. There’s nothing wrong with it, but I prefer third. It could be that first-person narrators often come across as self-obsessed, or that I find it harder to become the character if I’m incessantly reminded that it’s you, not me.

In any case, that’s one strike against.

The language of the book is lush and fantastical, like the world it describes. There’s so much to explore in both the writing and the world.

In a way this is a wonderful thing. But it also made me feel, at least in the first half, that there wasn’t much room left for character or story. The main character felt like a blank slate carted around to show off the world, and the plot felt slight and incidental.

Some people might find the prose purple, and at times I did, but mostly it was one of the reasons to keep reading.

The world was delightfully imaginative and detailed. It would have made an excellent setting for a story.

That’s one for prose and one for world, and one against for lack of plot and character in the first half.

So we’re at par.

hutThe second half picked up, plot-wise and in terms of character. I’m not entirely convinced the plot made sense, but so many glass trees, fey fruits, and strange demons were flashed at me that I didn’t notice.

One strike for.

And they lived happily ever after, which I approve of, so another strike for.

Overall, the book came out two points ahead, which means almost precisely nothing except that I read it, enjoyed aspects of it, and may or may not read it again.

It does make me think I need more lightning in my book, though.

Have you read The Star-Touched Queen? What did you think? If you haven’t, do you want to?

 

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Author: A.S. Akkalon

By day, A.S. Akkalon works in an office where the computers outnumber the suits of armour more than two-to-one. By night, she puts dreams of medieval castles, swords, and dragons onto paper.

8 thoughts on “Not a book review of The Star-Touched Queen”

  1. I’ve made a commitment to read a lot of modern fantasy lately, and ALL of the books I’ve read so far (ten or so in total) have been written in first person. Not all of them were YA either. Obviously it’s become a norm or trend within the genre. Less than half of the authors I read use the perspective well in my opinion, so I really don’t see why they bothered. The few who have done it well though, did it REALLY well. I understand the reasoning behind first person: helping the reader quickly identify with your protagonist, but it isn’t like a close third person perspective can’t do the same thing. In BOTH styles, authors still italicize lines to let the reader know what the protagonist is actually thinking.

    I’m giving first person perspective a try right now in the YA story I’m writing, so I’m still trying to read a lot of examples of it to see where it fails and succeeds. So far, I’ve noticed that the two books that have really succeeded in using it also were written in present tense. You read as if you are right there with the main character, immersed in the story and experiencing things with them. Present tense makes it more exciting and also helps the first person perspective make much more sense. Dragon Bound, the book with the hilarious chapter titles, is written in first person present tense. But the present-tense is so hidden beneath the MC’s snarky narrative that it took me a while to even notice it. Anyway, I hope you get to read Dragon Bound eventually and don’t hate it!

    1. Yea, I’ve noticed how much more popular first person has become in recent years. It’s great you found some books that use it really well. I’m definitely going to read Dragon Bound (though not this month), and I’d be keen to hear which others you thought were great.

      Good luck with your first person writing! I’d love to hear what you lean from it even though I have no intention of trying it myself.

  2. Beautiful images I love the last one what a cool intricate let’s say wild patio in the wood! I am here to tell you that I haven’t forgotten about you I am actually working on it! Creating 😉 I had some busy days for other reasons…I just wanted to give you a brief update! 😉 Have a great week my dear!

  3. Thank you for this post, it was interesting to read your reactions to the book. 🙂 I haven’t read Star-Touched Queen, and I probably won’t, it doesn’t sound like my kind of thing. I’m not much into books that read like travel documentaries.

    I think it’s a good idea to extend your reading challenge to March if you can’t make it by the end of Feb. It’s better to enjoy the books after all and not force it. I look forward to seeing what you think about the next one your list!

    1. You know, I’m actually think I can finish all four books this month unless something goes badly awry. I’ve finished the second one, I’m into the third, and I’ve nearly finished the first beta read. (Yours is next.) So, fingers crossed!

      I think I might talk about the second book in my post this weekend.

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