Title: A Crown of Wishes
Author: Roshani Ckokshi
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: March 2017
Hardcover: 369 Pages
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.
Standalone or Series: Stand alone companion novel to The Star Touched Queen.
How did I get this book: Bought
Full disclosure: we have published a short story by the author, The Vishakanya’s Choice
Format (e- or p-): ebook
Once there was a beast princess called Gauri and she fought an oppressive, tyrannical ruler (who was also her brother). To win the right to rule their kingdom, she made terrible choices, and she lost. Exiled from the place and the people she loved, she had no freedom and was about to lose her life when a prince made her an offer.
Once there was a fox prince called Vikram from a neighbouring kingdom, the adopted son of an emperor. He had honey for words and the wit of a wise man, but his youth and past were not accepted by those who ruled and he was all but a puppet prince in the great scheme of things. The prince was offered a chance to play in the mysterious Tournament of Wishes but he needed a partner and he turned to the tough warrior princess he was supposed to have killed.
There also was a not-so-young woman named Aasha, and her touch was poisonous and her choice was null. She too wanted a wish and the Tournament of Wishes was the place to be.
Two capricious rulers ran a mythical competition in a mythical kingdom. A competition that involved horrible trials, unspoken dangers, and immense sacrifices, all for a chance to win a wish.
But everybody knew that wishes are too, capricious and dangerous things, especially for those who have no choice.
A beast princess, a fox prince and a vishakanya entered a competition.
The rest, as they say, is (hi)story.
A Crown of Wishes is Roshani Chokshi’s follow-up companion novel to the last year’s The Star-Touched Queen. It’s a lovely, beautifully written story of three people that undergo incredible challenges in order to make a better life for themselves. Each starts with a wish – or the ideal wish they had for their lives – but in the process, find truths they didn’t know about themselves and each other. The novel contains a multitude of tales which are nestled within each other and unfold as the characters traverse the Tournament.
Although Aasha is an important character with viewpoint chapters peppered throughout (and I loved it all to bits), the story is truly centred in Gauri and Vikram. The pair starts at odds with one another due to the circumstances they are placed in and eventually their relationship evolves from an unlikely alliance to an unlikely romantic entanglement. The witticisms they throw at each other are fodder for delightful reading as is their chemistry and budding relationship. The give and take is awesome and the ultimate climax to their story is extremely satisfying for both characters individually, and as a couple. It also helps that the prose is lush:
She laughed. And Vikram, who had never wanted for his life to slow down but only to move faster and faster to the next thing, found himself craving to live in this second.
A Crown of Wishes is filled to the brim with details. From the little ones – like a wish for a garden full of swords – to the big ones, in which mythology and history are basically shaped by storytelling (which is a huge thing in the story), most of the details enhance the story. But if I were to make a criticism to the novel, I’d say that there are moments in which the story is bogged down by descriptions and that sometimes the extra details from nested stories are too much. To the latter, one that comes to mind is the story of a lost goddess which in spite of its beauty, don’t serve the plot too much except for functioning as a convenient deus ex machina at the time of our characters’ greatest need.
Nevertheless, these are minor points to an otherwise beautiful, enjoyable, rich and emotional story that I highly recommend.
Rating: 8 – Excellent
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