Book Review: Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar

Her blood heated as something kindled at her core. If light had a voice, this would be it.

-Shveta Thakrar, Star Daughter

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Year: 2020
Page Count: 435
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 2 stars

Synopsis (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. 

I wanted so badly to like this because look at that cover! Alas, I don’t think it was meant to be.

This book follows our main character, Sheetal, who has grown up in the mortal world as half human and half star. As her 17th birthday approaches, Sheetal feels more drawn to the Heavens than ever, and finds herself visiting her mother in the sky after her father falls ill. In order to save him, she must win a competition in order to obtain star blood that will heal her mortal father.

Essentially, the entire plot that I just described takes place in the first 200 pages of the book. I definitely quite enjoyed part 1, which definitely was an urban fantasy. However, when the author started shifting to a style that felt more like high fantasy, I started to lose interest. After Sheetal ascends into the Heavens, the plot follows her training for the competition she must win. From there, the author strayed from the main plot line of saving Sheetal’s father, and rather focused on things like high school drama, bullies, and boy problems. This just made the plot feel extremely slow moving and honestly, boring.

I don’t usually have a problem with slow moving plots if I am able to connect with the characters, but I honestly couldn’t relate to Sheetal at all. Even though I finished this last night, I don’t think I could tell you anything about her (except that she is obsessed with her boyfriend). She also felt so much younger than 17. As for the side characters, there were a bunch of them. I think the author would have benefited from developing 2-3 side characters super well, rather than having 9-10 side characters we hardly know. For me personally, I prefer stories with few characters, so that might just be my personal preference, but I just felt like I didn’t know any of the characters.

To end with a positive note, I must say that I loved the Hindu mythology that the author threw into this story! I wish that she would have expanded on it a bit more because it was a bit overwhelming to try to understand everything since I am not familiar with the myths or magic in Hindu culture. I did also enjoy this authors writing and felt like she really had moments where her style shined. Particularly, I loved reading about The Night Market and the Heavens. She was so descriptive and created a vivid, magical atmosphere. I would have loved to see more moments like that and less moments focusing on the petty drama Sheetal encounters.

All in all, even though this book wasn’t for me, I think I would give this author a chance in the future because there were some aspects to the story I enjoyed. This was a debut novel, and I feel like this author has a bunch of potential to create some amazing stories that I would love!

Let me know your opinions of Star Daughter in the comments below!