‘Star Daughter’ by Shveta Thakrar | #OwnVoices review | beautiful writing & vivid settings

Hey everyone!

A few days ago I finished a wonderful book called Star Daughterby Shveta Thakrar. It’s been a really long time (REALLY long time) since I’ve written a review, so I’m going to try my best to put my thoughts onto this page!

Before I get into this, can we just take a moment to appreciate be absolutely DISGUSTED by the current block editor? I would just like my classic editor back, please 😭 I have no idea how to use blocks…

Star Daughter

Star Daughter – Shveta Thakrar – Spoiler-Free Review

Representation: Indian MC and completely Indian cast of characters, sapphic side romance

TWs: multiple descriptions of cutting another character for blood (skippable & not condoned)

What I liked:

COVER

Regardless of whether you like Star Daughter or not, everyone has to admit that this cover is stunning. I would give this book five stars just for the cover. 😍 It’s also unapologetically Indian- we have a beautiful brown girl on the cover wearing a bindi and a chutti and it’s gorgeous. 🥰

SETTING

OKAY. Maybe this should fall under ‘writing’, but one of my favorite parts of this book was the way all the settings were described.

“All around them, intricately decorated stalls overflowed with impossible goods, and the patrons who browsed them were just as odd. A family of kinnaras, their equine heads fusing seamlessly with their human lower bodies, examined a carved copper lantern encrusted with gems in colors Sheetal had never seen before. Nearby, an apsara who might have been sculpted by marble, she was so enticing, haggled over a selection of black-and-silver bottles shaped like birds in flight.”

The way Shveta Thakrar writes about settings, it’s like I’m there and I’m physically experiencing sleeping on a bed made of the night sky with clouds as my canopies. It’s like I can almost picture the golden inlay and mosaic ceilings and carved marble pillars of the palace. It’s breathtaking.

“Jeweled silver oil lamps dangled overhead at different heights, tossing rainbows over the ink-black walls and floor. Shimmering blue curtains lined the picture windows, which alternated with silver-framed paintings of figures from Hindu myths.”

writing

Like I mentioned above, my absolute favorite part of this book is the writing style. The words that slip and slide off of your tongue but mean the most eccentric and wonderous things, the descriptions that make your mouth water and your eyes sigh, the verbs that make you want to jump up and do a cartwheel.

“The starry melody whispered in Sheetal’s ears, ethereal as lace and replete with a yearning so pure it made her throat hurt. All of the grief and anger and utter yearning of the past ten years raced toward her, an avalanche, until she thought she might suffocate beneath it.”

Like, don’t even try and tell me that “ethereal as lace and replete with a yearning so pure” doesn’t makes your heart ache and actually feel, even one bit.

Her writing is full of metaphors and similes but also full of vivid descriptions and every emotion is laid  out on the page for you to see and feel. It’s quite refreshing, given that many authors hint and tiptoe around what they’re intending to say, trying to create an illusion of secretiveness (hint, Leigh Bardugo) which is something I really like, but is also hard to get through when you’re not in the right mindset. Shveta tells it like it is and more- she embellishes it until it’s literal eye candy. 🌟

“A million tiny stars streamed out, bright and scintillating. Their music might have been the haunting, elusive pitch of a bansuri, a bamboo flute. Instead of falling straight down, they swished across the room, swirling around Sheetal and Nani and wreathing them in lambent warmth before dancing down through the open floor toward the mortal world, bearing with them the prospect of hope, of dreams, of magic.”

friendship

Something else I really enjoyed about Star Daughter was the friendship between Sheetal and Minal. Normally I need to love the characters to love a novel, and while that is true in this case, the writing outshines any characters in this story. Still, Sheetal and Minal’s friendship and their individual characters are both really sweet. I quite like Sheetal as a main character, and Minal is so supportive and the easy banter between the two of them reminds me of myself (me being Minal, obviously- horrible jokes and I’ve always got your back! 😉).

worldbuilding

When I went into this book, I was curious to see how it would incorporate Hindu mythology because it’s incredibly hard to do. Given that this is a religion which is currently in practice, it’s hard to choose what parts of the myths to add and to not add. I’ve been thinking a lot about the untapped potential that authors could write about using Hindu mythology, but it’s going to be really difficult. I think that Shveta did a great job despite that!

“The stars of House Pushya began to sing. The song was the silver of starlight, of wind chimes and ringing bells and stories braided with skeins of myths and dreams and wishes. It called to the blood in Sheetal’s veins, stoking the fire at her core, making her ache for the strings of her harp and her dilruba.”

Without going too much into detail, the ‘magic’ of the main character Sheetal is basically song. And the author mainly stuck to the mythical creatures as her form of fantasy (e.g. apsaras, naginis, and gandharvas) while creating the ‘star-song-is-magic-and-stars-are-people, and that nakshatrams-are-more-than-just-constellations‘ as the worldbuilding unique to her story. I say this because a lot of non-Hindu readers won’t know what is based on Hinduism and what isn’t, so it’s cool to be able to separate what’s going on in the story from what is based on myths!

What I didn’t like:

the romance

If I’m being honest, the only lackluster part of this entire book was the romance. I just didn’t feel any chemistry between Sheetal and Dev, her love interest. The role of the morally gray character was already taken up by someone else (no spoilers!), and Dev seemed sweet, but his character was one-dimensional. If I’m being honest, the entire time Sheetal was in Svargalok (the main setting of this story) I was hoping that Sheetal wouldn’t mention Dev, just because he didn’t interest me 😭

Still, despite the fact that I believe Sheetal would have been better off single (and why do they always force a love interest in YA? Basically none of us are dating at the age of 16, okay?), I still really really enjoyed this story.

divider_oneinamillion

Something that I don’t want to go too into depth with but definitely need to touch on is the representation. I’ve written multiple posts on the need for diverse representation in the media of people who look like the diverse audience that sees it.

🌟 Here’s my review of Never Have I Ever with a discussion on representation, and here’s another post that I wrote on diversity in YA. I also recently wrote some stuff on internalized whiteness in the book community if you want to check any of these posts out! 🌟

Reading Star Daughter made me so, so happy because it actively embraced and was inspired by my culture and my heritage. Also, the brown girl pride is real 😉

Overall, I highly recommend reading Star Daughter, especially if you have already been exposed to Hindu mythology in some form!

I rate this five beautiful feathers!

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P.S.- I’m changing up my rating system so be on the lookout for a new page on my blog!

I had a lot of fun writing this post, so I may write more reviews in the future. 😀 This post is also super long (not a surprise, it’s basically a running jokes for consistent readers by now tbh) so I’m going to wrap it up right here with a promise to post more often.

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts on it? And do you want me to do more reviews?

xoxoadiforadi1

23 thoughts on “‘Star Daughter’ by Shveta Thakrar | #OwnVoices review | beautiful writing & vivid settings

  1. THIS BOOK SOUNDS SO BEAUTIFULLLL
    And yes I agree like wHY thE hECk IS EVeRYoNE daTING like NOOOO I’M SICK OF IIIITTTTT I CANNOT. NO. GO AWAY STUPID LOVE INTERESTS. I WANT FRIENDSHIPS IN THIS BOOK PLS AND THANK YOU, NO STUPID PINING OR WHATEVER. EW. Also like I am the prime age to be a YA protagonist and there’s no way I want to date anyone ever rn like HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEECK NO I don’t even haVE CRUSHES much lESS WANT TO DATE SOMEONE Hahhh NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
    BUT YET AGAIN THIS BOOK SOUNDS BEAUTIFUL HOPEFULLY I CAN FIND IT SOMEWHERE

    Liked by 1 person

    1. IT WAS AWESOME!!
      I AGREEEE honestly im probably not gonna date a person bc NO ONE WANTS TO DATE ME DUH but like even then?? no one dATES other than like 5 popular kids y’knowww?
      OMG IF YOU’RE THE PRIME AGE THEN I NEED TO WRITE A YA STORY ABOUT YOU! BRB GONNA WRITE A YA NOVEL ABOUT YOU… lemme guess- magical realism? 😉
      oh well i have had LOTS OF CRUSHES but NO DATES SJSJSJ anyways you might be aromantic if you’ve had zero crushes but idk who am I to tell u.
      THIS BOOK IS GREAT PLS FIND IT I WILL S H I P IT TO U OKAY?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. WHAT DO YOU MEAN PLENTY OF PEOPLE WOULD WANT TO DATE YOU BC YOU ARE TRULY FANTASTIC AND AMAZING DON’T QUESTION ME haha yeah and honestly its super cringy in hs anyway so
        whAt if you did that I’d be shOok wait I should write about yOU
        Oof look at sheltered me but what is aromantic… like isn’t it something about no sexual attraction is that asexual? heck if I know
        I mean I tECHNICALLY had crushes but it was more me being like “I really like that I can talk about Indiana Jones and play tag with him at recess” kind of thing and also I had the BIGGEST crush on Harrison Ford and Robin Hood (yes… the fox… :/) at like 9… and then the one (1) “crush” I had in middle school was kind of me feeling pressured to like someone…? I think? Kind of? I can’t remember my own feelings. It’s kind of a “I choose to have feelings for this person” kind of thing but idk if it’s anything like other people’s crushes *shrugs in sebastian stan*
        HOPEFULLY MY LIBRARY WILL BE THE NICEST LIBRARY IN TOWN AND ACTUALLY ALLOW ME TO PUT THINGS ON HOLD HAHA

        Liked by 1 person

        1. 😭😭🧡 THANKS BUT NO THANKS BECK. BUT THANKS THAT MEANS A LOT BUT NO THANKS. BUT THANSKS?? sksksk
          I SHOULD DO IT I SHOULD DO IT AND U SHOULD DO IT TOO IT’LL BE SO FUNNYYY
          aromantic is no romantic attraction but google knows better than i do- asexual is no sexual attraction. both sometimes go together but not necessarily!
          I DON’T THINK THAT’S WHAT CRUSHES ARE BECK…,,,, INDIANA JONES IS BONDING . FRIENDHSIP THINGZ. omg u liked the fox brb gonna die-
          that sounds a lot like you could be aromantic but it’s completely up to you and you should do more research, i’m just the fairy godmother sprinkling down definitions 😎😎

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Oh shoot sorry somehow I missed this comment wORDPRESS GET YOUR STUFF TOGETHER this isn’t the first time it’s happened. aNyWay
            I ACTUALLY SOMEWHAT STARTED THE STORY WITH YOU PLS DONT BE OFFENDED IF STORY YOU DOES SOMETHING ACTUAL YOU WOULD NEVER DO PLS PLS HOPEFULLY I CAN FINISH IT BY HALLOWEEN FOR A NICE HALLOWEEN PRESENT IDK
            hahahahahahahahHAHAhhahahHAHAhahhHAhhhhHAHAHahhH oof. oof oofofifoiiifif. THEN WHAT THE HECK IS A CRUSH IF YOURE SO SMART
            and yes I liked the fox can I join you in the dying? it’s kind of embarrassing tbh
            I honestly don’t know what to say?? I mean I have said marriage sounds like it sucks and that I don’t want to date anyone (and I’ve actually had the opportunity for a boyfriend… OH WAIT I FORGOT TO TELL HIM NO I should probably do that hahahah) and my parents understand that and they’re ultra christian and all that… so I don’t think I really need to put a label on it? And who knows, maybe I will be married someday. But I’m not really worried about it. Honestly my dream is to get my doctorate, have my brother move in with me, and start the world’s largest collection of memes and skulls.
            Shiver me timbers, my dude!!

            Like

  2. Beautiful review!! I’ve heard so much about Shveta Thakrar’s beautiful prose and yes that cover is just gorgeous. I put a hold on the ebook version, and at first it said I had to wait 20 WEEKS, but then they got two more copies so now it’s 4. Whew! 😅I read the sample and it seems like it’s off to a great start, so I really hope I enjoy (I’m pretty sure I will)!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The cover is so gorgeous ❤️ And uh I feel you about the dating part, a lot of teens just aren’t dating and books just can’t seem to represent that 😂 I just can never relate when they talk about teens dating like can’s some of them just stay single Pringles?? Your book reviews are so good! Honestly there are some bloggers’ reviews where I just have to skim read because I might as well not read the book they tell you so much 😅 I love authors who are good at describing the setting, when it is so vivid you literally feel like you are there 💕 Such a wonderful post Aditi and your graphics are so beauty! I’m about to try the new editor eeek 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. IT IS!! Yeah honestly lmao it’s so fake- most of us are single pringles 😂 AW THANK YOU!! and I think you absolutely should read this book!
      I HATE THIS NEW EDITOR IT’S THE WORST THING IN EXISTENCE SJSJ

      Like

  4. I have heard so many good things about this one, especially among the Indian book bloggers. And your review finally convinced me to add this one to my TBR. Good one!

    Liked by 1 person

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