Star Daughter was one of my most anticipated new releases of 2020, and it was everything that I wanted and more.
Title: Star Daughter
Author: Shveta Thakrar
Publisher: Harper Teen
Audience: Young Adult
Taken from Goodreads
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.
While I knew the concept of Star Daughter heading into it, I wasn’t sure what to expect as it is Shevta Thakrar’s debut novel. Combining Hindu mythology and celestial fantasy, it was everything that I wanted it to be and more. Shevta Thakrar has such a lyrical writing style which completely invokes all the senses as she describes the celestial court and everything inside it. Her descriptions of everything from the clothing to the food had me wanting to be able to journey up to the courts and experience it for myself. Her lyrical writing also flowed into the way that she explained and incorporated Hindu myths and nakshatras into the story.
The way she presented inspiration and the arts was something I had not seen before in fantasy. She shows what it is like to be inspired and the conflicting emotions that go along with fame. She also doesn’t shy away from the desperation that some people will go to for fame. It was also nice to see lesser recognised arts, such as puppeteering and sculpting get the recognition that they deserve and how beautiful that they can be.
The beginning of Star Daughter does start slow while Sheetal is still on Earth, which I did find hard to get through. But once Sheetal does reach the celestial court, it is clear that the groundwork already built in the slow period is worth it. The groundwork means that you already have an understanding of the relationships that Sheetal has on Earth and the conflicting emotions she has about her mother.
I absolutely loved how Star Daughter is wholly based around family and friendship. You can see the emotions that Sheetal has for both her parents and the ties that she has to either side of her heritage. These emotions are further emphasised by how disconnected she feels from either side of herself at different points in the story. When she becomes comfortable with her human side; she is then further disconnected from her path as a star. I also loved the bond that she had with Minal, which was nicely developed and didn’t get ignored when she reached the celestial court, which is what traditionally happens within young adult fantasy. While there is a romantic relationship in Star Daughter, I did not feel that it was necessary. I would much rather there was an even greater focus on the friendship between Minal and Sheetal than the relationship between Sheetal and Dev.
The ending of Star Daughter perfectly tied together a beautifully written fantasy, and while it did have its flaws, I thoroughly enjoyed my time reading it. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of mythology or celestial based fantasy.
Some of the links above are affiliate links. There are no extra charges for you, but there will be a small commission for me if you do click through and purchase.