My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A Crown of Wishes is a companion novel to Roshani Chokshi’s A Star-Touched Queen, but neither needs to be read to enjoy the other. They can either be read in conjunction or be read as a stand-alone without the story being affected significantly in either case. That being said, A Crown of Wishes takes place later in time than A Star-Touched Queen and if you plan to read both perhaps reading them in chronological order would be best. I personally enjoyed A Crown of Wishes more than A Star-Touched Queen. The writing was equally lyrical and beautiful, but I found it to be more engaging than its predecessor.
I found Gauri and Vikram to be more likable main characters than Maya and Raja, from the other book. Gauri is tough, she had to be to grow up with the cruel Skanda as her brother and King of Bharata. She trained with warriors and keeps her emotions tucked away. Vikram is the adopted son of the King of Ujijian, but despite his mind, his lack of blood relation to the monarch will force him to be a puppet king. He wishes more than anything to be taken seriously and rule his people fairly, not via a corrupt cabinet.
Vikram was definitely my favourite character in this book, he was witty and cheerfully went out of his way to get under Gauri’s skin. The relationship and interactions between the two of them went from mutual disdain to begrudging respect authentically. It was nice to see them support one another, even if they didn’t have any reason to beyond being partners for the Tournament of Wishes.
The story was more engaging than its predecessor, continuing to build the magical Otherworld but including scenes with faster pacing and action. The Tournament of Wishes was intriguing, as each contestant’s role and journey were different. No two people experienced the same trials or puzzled through the same clues. It was interesting to attempt to discern what each clue referred to before Vikram inevitably worked it out.
The beautiful prose and flowery writing definitely lent itself to the story. It helped to build a magical and unusual world for readers to slip into. Each vibrant fruit, eerie tree, and terrifying creature come to life in vivid detail. As long as you don’t mind words that you really must pay attention to in order to absorb, I believe you will enjoy this book. It might not be your style if you tend to skim and breeze through stories, as this does require a degree of concentration to appreciate. Overall, I would recommend this book to fans of Renee Ahdieh’s or Laini Taylor’s style of writing.