Star Daughter is a gorgeous fantasy debut about love, family, and humanity. You’ll be enchanted by the blending of Stardust elements meets Hindu mythology. Then the gorgeous writing will captivate you until you fall into the story of family and humanity. Keep reading this book review to find out my favorite elements of Star Daughter.
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: panic attacks
I loved how Star Daughter is a story about family and sacrifice, while also being about the beauty of humanity. The pressures of balancing two pieces of ourselves, hiding a sliver of us in the world, and the hubris and preciousness of humanity. Incorporating inspiration from Stardust plus Hindu mythology, the world of Star Daughter is glittering and captivating. It’s written in shades of gold, with shimmering sentences, and has that similar fascination with what makes humanity – the redeeming pieces of humanity.
Through stories and histories of animosity, revenge, and fear, Star Daughter looks at the pride and greed of humanity. The things we are willing to sacrifice and extract for pieces of our ambition. How witnessing these actions can turn our heart to fear and anger. To retribution and cruelty. But Star Daughter would not be complete without its emphasis on the beauty of humanity, the love that connects us, and the ways we are able to grow past our ancestors.
Sheetal and the Characters
Another piece of Star Daughter that I adored was the ways in which Sheetal has to balance and navigate her identity. Her half human identity sees her on Earth trying to disguise her shimmering hair. Sheetal fears discovery and must hide her beautiful voice. At the same time, her human identity is a huge point of contention in the celestial court. Depending on who you ask, it either condemns her with their prejudice against humans, or is a piece of herself that she must figure out in relation to her family.
Torn in two, Sheetal must grapple with her love for her father, her feelings of abandonment towards her mother, and her new family’s past in the celestial court. She so desperately wants to feel like she belongs, having always felt like she had to hide pieces of herself. This felt so relatable to me and I loved the added element of this talent competition meets political upheavals and family secrets. Star Daughter asks what we will do for family, the desperation and agony and love and resentment.