While my feelings for The Star Touched Queen were hazy, my love for A Crown of Wishes is undisputed. It is like Chokshi took a look into my heart and delivered me a fantastic love story, characters who were wonderfully complex, and blended that with wit, humor, and wisdom.
A Crown of Wishes tells the story of Gauri, the princess of Bharata, the prisoner of war of prince Vikram. As she is backed into a corner, facing death, Vikram comes to her with a magical offer: the chance to fight alongside him in the Tournament of Wishes, a competition which will grant each victor a wish. Viewing this as an opportunity for Gauri to fulfill her desires and save her kingdom, she accepts. However, as they journey to the tournament and compete beside each other, both will learn about their own desires and themselves. Confronted by their memories, and forced to trust each other, anything can happen.
Let me begin with the characters. We may witness the tournament through their eyes and in their heads, but they will find themselves a home in our hearts. Gauri is a talented warrior who has learned to guard her heart, both from sadness and love. Vikram longs for what is rightfully his, but is denied by a dangerous secret. Aasha may consume desires, but that does not stop her from a fierce and impossible yearning of her own. Their raw memories as well as their experiences during each trial, round out their intricacies.
These three characters are absolutely bewitching, Gauri for her closely defended yet compassionate heart, Vikram for his humor and trusting heart, and Aasha for her absolutely relatable desire for thirst for what we cannot have. Even the side characters, the unlikely ones such as Aasha’s sisters or the Serpent Kind, are fantastic and when they are present, shine. I cannot rave enough about how much I love each and every one of them (except Skanda, Gauri’s brother, actually).
Because the first novel’s romance irked me, I want to take a moment to talk about this novel’s romance: it is absolutely a million times better and more realistic. Not only am I sucker for enemies turned to lovers, but their relationship and trials demand the uncovering of their secrets. It is in the little details which convince me of their love, the songs they share and inside jokes. There are so many touching moments between them and the ending makes the entire relationship even better. I was totally sold. Give me more because I love each of them and their love.
Overall the storyline has a clear direction and while there are tangents and side quests, we happily walk beside them. Masterfully crafted, there are twists and turns abound, especially at the end that prove Chokshi’s compositional talent. Additionally, like the first novel, A Crown of Wishes is beautifully crafted, if less flowery, but full of magical beings and worlds steeped with wonder.
It is not only a tale of love, but of also freedom and justice. And throw in some riddles, rhymes, and philosophy. But don’t forget the characters that tug your heartstrings and quests that make you believe in magic. The ending is fantastic, sewing up loose threads, hinging on agency and forgiveness.
Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Be sure to check out my review for the Star Touched Queen.