This gorgeously imagined YA debut blends shades of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust and a breathtaking landscape of Hindu mythology into a radiant contemporary fantasy.
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.
Title : Star Daughter
Author : Shveta Thakrar
Format : eARC
Page Count : 448
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : HarperTeen
Release Date : August 11, 2020
Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★
Hollis’ 2 star review
I couldn’t describe to you the excitement I felt when I mashed up my love for that cover with the realization that this was a STARDUST-inspired fantasy set alongside Hindu mythology. Except that I was, y’know, excited. But maybe my expectations were just too high?
Right off the bat I struggled a bit with the hyper-focus on Sheetal’s preoccupation with her sorta-boyfriend but as things transitioned out of the contemporary, leaving the boy problems behind, and into the fantasy? I was transfixed. The writing was a little offbalance at times, either incredibly flowery with lovely turns of phrase, or none of that at all — making the random switches back to the purple a little hard to gel with, but whatever. We were in some star kingdom in the sky with a competition, an inheritance of power, and it was all going pretty well.
Until it wasn’t.
I’m sad to say the events and conflicts that cropped up along Sheetal’s journey felt very humdrum and constantly pulled me away from the unique and interesting moments I did enjoy. The villains were pretty one dimentional. Occasionally I felt some scenes felt a little jumbled, people appearing and disappearing inconsistently (which, I mean, this is an ARC, that could be fixed before publication). But I also found some repetition just really wasn’t helping me lose myself in story — flame in her core, tingling in her palms, shimmering hair, etc.
This definitely reads like a debut but there are some lovely shining bits that make me think this is going to be an author to watch. I enjoyed what she took from her insipration of Gaiman’s story and how she built on it, changed it, and made it very original. I really liked some of her prose. I loved the mythology and the culture of the setting. But I found some of the conflicts very typically YA, a little tired, and didn’t enjoy –any of — the characters.
So this is obviously a disapointment, because I was so excited for this, but again, I hope to love her next release.
** I received an ARC from Edelweiss and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **