“No matter where we are, we’ll always share the same sky. We can always find each other in the same constellation.”
Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…
But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.
A memory is a fine legacy to leave behind.
I've been excited about this book ever since I first came across it- why wouldn't I be? Gorgeous cover, riveting synopsis, diversity, a promising female MC... and all this in a Persephone and Hades retelling told through an Indian setting.
It goes without saying that my expectations for it were at an all-time high. And this is probably what made me not like the book as much as I would have probably done otherwise. No, no, don't get me wrong- I did love the book a lot, but it had some tiny problems that I just couldn't ignore despite the absolutely gorgeous writing.
Let me first start with the writing since that is the biggest selling point here. It was beautiful, poetic, atmospheric and completely riveting- but it did all became a bit too much after a point. Have you read any such book where the wring is so terribly gorgeous that it doesn't let you focus on what's most important... like the story itself? This was such a book.
"Arrow-sharp tree limbs cut the path ahead of us. Darkness draped across polished jet trees and shadows shivered into existence--slow as a turning head. Only daubs of moonlight marked where the trees stopped and the sky began."
Sounds deliciously lush, doesn't it? It's all very well when we get brilliant metaphors such as this once in a while, but when the book is filled with such writing, it does tend to get weary. My main problem here was the lack of direction. Up until about 55% of the book I wasn't even sure what the main character was doing and where the story was heading, and I had to sort through all the heavy embellishments on the words to actually comprehend what the author was getting at. However the world-building was truly fantastic and the imagery was really out of the world.
"The weeks before, I had lost myself in the folktales of Bharata. Stories of elephants who spun clouds, shaking tremors loose from ancient trunks gnarled with the rime of lost cyclones, whirlwinds and thunderstorms. Myths of frank-eyed naga women, twisting serpentine, flashing smiles full of uncut gemstones. Legends of a world beneath, above, beside the one I knew? Where trees bore edible gems and no one would think twice about a girl with dark skin and a darker horoscope.”
I would love to know what feeds the author's creativity- how she can come up with such brilliant ideas is beyond me.
“My star-touched queen,” he said softly, as if he was remembering something from long ago. “I would break the world to give you what you want.”
It's quite difficult to analyze the romance aspect of the book since it came across like insta-love, but is really an eternal love that spans across rebirths. I did enjoy reading about Maya and Amar, and I just loved their scenes together.
“The truth,” said Amar, taking a step closer to me, “is that you look neither lovely nor demure. You look like edges and thunderstorms. And I would not have you any other way.”
The characters, though mostly very interesting, needed better development. While Maya just sufficed as a main character, I neither liked nor disliked her. I loved Amar, though- he was a completely worthy addition to my list of book crushes and kept on making me swoon with his words. Gauri was another character that I loved, but considering the fact that she was hardly given any space in this book, I'll just have to wait for the sequel, A Crown of Wishes- it's going to be all about Gauri!
Despite whatever problems I've pointed out here, this is truly a book worthy of the praise it has been getting and you just can't not consider the beautiful writing and the simply terrific world-building. Would I recommend it to you? Absolutely. Chances are you'd love it even more than I did!
The story idea: 4/5
The realization of the story: 3/5
The characters: 3/5
The cover: 4/5
Enjoy factor: 3/5