Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar
⭐⭐.5 / 5
Secrets are always hard to keep, but for Sheetal her secret is harder to keep close than most. From her captivating singing voice to her shining silver hair, she works everyday to keep her star half hidden. Until she accidentally burns her father, and has to take part in a magical competition for her constellation, Pushya. Now Sheetal has ascended to the heavens, and has to navigate the starry court, one she never dreamed of doing before.
Oh Star Daughter how I wanted to love you. So much. You have the most stunning cover I have ever seen (don’t worry __ I’ll still buy any book you design), and have such an amazing premise. Even being inspired by Neil Gaiman’s Stardust, I was ready.
The biggest thing that drew me to this book was the competition in the heavens that Sheetal is competing in. The summary on the book makes it seem like it is a large portion of the book, but man it’s not. Here I am picking this book up for magic, stars, competition, dark secrets, and political intrigue.
What I got? 5 pages of competition, no political intrigue, yearning between Sheetal and Dev, and half-hearted secrets with no resolution.
It took over 100 pages for Sheetal to even ascend, which would have been okay if the competition would have been a bigger part. But no. We barely even got training, just the snipets of Sheetal moving from one class to another. This book was 400 pages of half built plot points, and a romance that felt (oddly) perfect for the 17 year old characters.
I think my biggest issue with this book (other than the lack of competition obviously), is the mention of dark secrets. If a major conflict of a book is a family keeping secrets and motivations at bay, I want to feel the character’s anger at not knowing. I want to feel the yearning to know what’s happening. I want to SEE action being taken place.
I don’t want acceptance of what is said, backtracking to ask what happened only because another character did half the work, and I definitely don’t want a confrontation to fix the issues, and then a page later learning that nothing actually got resolved and the character just accepted it (claiming they’d deal with it later). To me it felt like water got poured onto sticks, and I tried to light a fire despite the damp mess.
One quote that stood out to me in the book, actually made me laugh. It said, “After all the hype, that was the best Jeet could do…How about some actual characterization and description?” (Thakar 383). Why did this make me laugh? Because Sheetal had very little characterization. There was description in the book, but on things I felt like were pedestrian. Yeah I enjoyed the three paragraphs about a special barrette, but I would have preferred that on the competition or how Sheetal felt up in the heavens past a feeling of anxiety.
Aside from my ranting (which I could continue), I do have some good news. I will try another book by this author in the future! I enjoyed the overall writing style, and it felt like her next books could be a beautiful lyrical message. This one just wasn’t what I was looking for.
What about you guys? Have you read Star Daughter, and if so what did you think? Do you plan to, or have any competition books you think I should read?