Gauri, the princess of Bharata, has been taken as a prisoner of war by her kingdom’s enemies. Faced with a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. Hope unexpectedly comes in the form of Vikram, the cunning prince of a neighboring land and her sworn enemy kingdom. Unsatisfied with becoming a mere puppet king, Vikram offers Gauri a chance to win back her kingdom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together, they’ll have to set aside their differences and team up to win the Tournament of Wishes – a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor.
Reaching the tournament is just the beginning. Once they arrive, danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans and mischievous story birds, a feast of fears and twisted fairy revels.
Every which way they turn new trials will test their wit and strength. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desrire.
One of my favorite books last year was The Star Touched Queen by Roshani – and, because of that, I was wary when I picked up A Crown of Wishes. Turns out, the fear of the “Second-Book-Blues” was a wasted concern. This was hungry writing, man. There was no loss of magic, no disrupting pace, no change of character traits. It was as lush and dark and poetic as the first book.
It seems anything Chokshi touches turns to gold. There’s humor, slow-burn romance, fantasy, war, politics, real human fault and desire.
The MCs were “easy to love” – as cliche as that sounds. Guari (the female MC) ended up being the perfect blend of fierce and broken. Vik (the male MC) was witty and cunning and shattered.
By the end, I could feel the character arcs, as an invested reader, on both their parts. I’m not sure that’s something we talk about enough in YA anymore. These characters made HARD decisions. In all honesty, A Crown of Wishes felt “bigger” and more mature than YA. Even though the characters were each eighteen years of age, I kept thinking of them as in their twenties. Whether or not you see that as a pro or a con is each-to-their-own but (personally) I enjoyed the more adult agenda.
(Bonus: There was overlap with Maya’s story (The Star Touched Queen), which I kept hoping for and was so happy when it arrived.
All in all, my favorite aspect was the switch of POV voice: Vik’s chapters are told in third person, while Gauri’s chapters are in first. Normally, I think I’d reject that a tiny bit- the back and forth. In this case, however, I adored it. It made it easier to be inside Gauri’s (colorful) head and heart. It made it easier to view Vik’s opinions objectively. It was handled perfectly.
Once again, I want to rave about Chokshi’s writing itself. One word: stunning.
“In this labyrinth, the beautiful and savage walked with their faces tilted toward a sky where stars drifted in a black ocean. Wave upon wave of comets and clouds, eclipses and nebulae rolled above us.”