Reviews

Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar: a Review

Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar book review cover image

Summary Info

If the night sky holds many secrets, it holds Sheetal Mistry’s secret the closest. A secret that explains why her hair is the silver of starlight, or why some nights the stars call Sheetal by name.

Stars like her mother, who returned to her place in the constellation Pushya years ago. Since that day, Sheetal has been forced to hide.


But as her seventeenth birthday draws near, the pull from the sky is growing stronger. So strong that Sheetal loses control, and a flare of starfire burns her human father—an injury only a full star’s blood can heal.

Sheetal has no choice but to answer the starsong and ascend to the sky. But her celestial family has summoned her for a reason: to act as their human champion in a competition to decide the next ruling house of heavens.

Desperate to save her father, Sheetal agrees. But nothing could have prepared Sheetal to face the stars’ dark history—or the forces that are working to shut the gate between the realms for good.
 (from Goodreads)

Review

So, can I just begin by admiring that cover? Gorgeous! And while I’m talking about things I like, the language used throughout Star Daughter is beautiful. Such lush descriptions made Star Daughter enjoyable to read (at least at times). And these poetic descriptions fit the beautiful settings. I mean, any book set in the heavens should be gorgeous, right?

I also loved the culture and mythology represented in Star Daughter. It was so rich in details! One thing, more of a comment than anything, is that very little of the cultural or mythological references were explained. I don’t think of this as a good or bad thing. For those already familiar with the terms used, it was probably nice to have no unnecessary explanations added. For those unfamiliar with the terms (cough, me, cough), it was necessary to google terms or remain in ignorance. I just thought it was interesting, since some books depicting different cultures and mythologies offer more background information.

Now I have to talk about several things I really didn’t like. As you can tell from the description, Sheetal had to ascend to the stars to meet her celestial family. This drastic shift between worlds should have had significant explanation, right? But no. She ascended to the stars via a….moonlight lotus? They didn’t even describe how it happened. One second she was on earth, the next she was zooming through the sky. I really hate fantasy developments that are totally unexplained. And there was no explanation for most of Sheetal’s abilities as a half-star. I realize that it’s based on myth, but I still would have liked the details be fleshed out and explained.

Although the underdeveloped fantasy was frustrating, the unfocused themes or messages in Star Daughter were far more confusing. I read Star Daughter’s ending and was left to wonder, huh? What am I supposed to be taking from this? Is Sheetal valuing her humanity and choices? Is she valuing her talent/showing it off or not? Different themes were thrown around, but I don’t think even Sheetal really made up her mind until the last possible second. And then, it felt more like she was influenced by other people rather than truly making up her own mind. How am I supposed to get behind a character like that? I don’t know what Star Daughter was trying to say, but I don’t think it effectively said it.

Sheetal wasn’t a horrible main character, but she wasn’t great. She was angry a lot of the time, and often not angry about what I felt were the right things. For example, Sheetal’s heavenly family made a bargain with her for her to be their champion. This bargain, in my opinion, was completely wrong and would have made me totally furious and bitter. It is the kind of bargain you would expect from kind of crummy strangers, definitely not from family. And Sheetal did get angry…but then basically let it go. But she stayed angry about very minor things.

I did enjoy the love story, although it was also a bit underdeveloped. This is often the case for me when a romance begins before the book starts. It was harder to buy in to their feelings, if that makes sense. Although their interactions were pretty cute. I felt similarly to most of the relationships in Star Daughter: cute but underdeveloped.

Following Good

Star Daughter had minimal language, pretty heavy LGBT content, some Hindu religious content, and minimal sexual content.

Rating

Although I did enjoy the culture and lush descriptions of Star Daughter, I felt it was underdeveloped in several respects. With this being a debut, I guess that shouldn’t be surprising. However, it was a little disappointing since I had high hopes for this one. I’m giving Star Daughter 2.5 stars.

Have you guys read this one? What did you think?
Hope you guys are doing well and happy reading!
Hayden

3 thoughts on “Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar: a Review

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