Title: Star Daughter
Author: Shveta Thakrar
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: August 11th, 2020 (HarperTeen)
Synopsis: The daughter of a star and a mortal, Sheetal is used to keeping secrets. Pretending to be “normal.” But when an accidental flare of her starfire puts her human father in the hospital, Sheetal needs a full star’s help to heal him. A star like her mother, who returned to the sky long ago.
Sheetal’s quest to save her father will take her to a celestial court of shining wonders and dark shadows, where she must take the stage as her family’s champion in a competition to decide the next ruling house of the heavens – and win, or risk never returning to Earth at all.
Thank you to the publisher, HarperTeen, and Edelweiss for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Sheetal Mistry is accustomed to secrets – after all, she’s been hiding her true self all her life. Unknown to any but a few, Sheetal is the daughter of a star – her mother who returned to the celestial court many years ago. But her abilities have been acting up of late, and it is getting harder to hide by the day. When her starfire flares up and her father is accidentally injured in the process, she knows there is only one medicine that can heal him – a drop of blood from a full star. Accompanied by her friend Minal, Sheetal journeys to the celestial court where she hopes to reunite with her mother and finds that the competition to determine the next ruling house of the skies is about to begin. The flares of power she has been experiencing were in fact a summons, calling her to be her family’s champion in this contest and in order to return to Earth with what she needs to save her father, she will need to win.
I always love it when I come across books based on Hindu mythology because it’s so much fun to see how the author presents the stories and lore I know so well, especially since I’ve always felt that with the honestly vast number of stories to choose from, there is so much potential here. From that aspect, this reminded me a lot of the feel I got from the Aru Shah series, especially the latest book. This book presents a fascinating interpretation of the star families and the concept of stars inspiring artists on Earth were really interesting. The imagery of the heavenly world is frankly, gorgeous and I could’ve sat through several pages of the author describing the details of the immortal city alone, and that’s not even getting started on the rest. The narration felt almost poetic in a way and the last time I recall reading something like that was Renee Ahdieh’s prose. Let’s also take a minute to admire that beautiful cover – I can’t wait to see how it looks in print!
Sheetal was an engaging narrator and it was fun to follow her journey as she discovers the abilities she has tried to suppress all her life and the family she has never met that as she quickly gets caught up in celestial politics while also balancing normal teenage woes. One thing I would have liked to see was Sheetal being more assertive and standing up for herself. The only other thing I wanted to mention was that the secondary characters such as Minal, Padmini, Dev and even Sheetal’s mom Charumati, were all amazing and their arcs had a lot of potential which I felt wasn’t taken sufficient advantage of. The story stuck close to Sheetal’s narrative and we only really get to see how they fit into her tale. The same goes for the other contestants who don’t have too much page time and the reason for Priyanka’s over-antagonistic nature isn’t explained either. It didn’t take too much time to branch out to these topics which would have been something nice to see.
Star Daughter was a magical adventure and I was wishing for a sequel by the end of it to continue reading about Sheetal’s journey. It wonderfully portrays this section of Hindu mythology and I’m looking forward to more books from this author. It was well written and perfectly paced, especially considering this was a debut novel, and though I said it before, I have to say it again, the imagery was beautiful and I loved the writing style. It was also nice that while the story wrapped up things as in a standalone, there’s still room for more exploration in this world which I’d be really interested to see. I would highly recommend this for fans of fantasy and mythology!
Star Daughter releases on August 11th, 2020.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!