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  • a breath of fresh air and so enjoyable

    This has been on my TBR since it was announced in 2018, and it didn’t disappoint. (Thanks to #SaladinAhmed, who has great book recommendations.) I don’t like to summarize the plot here since you can get better ones somewhere else, but the short version is, Sheetal is the daughter of a star and a mortal. She is called to the celestial realm to compete in a contest, at the same time that she needs to try and save her father. ---- One aspect of the worldbuilding is that stars can inspire mortals to great feats in art, science, and literature, and sometimes mortals get obsessed with that. At first glance this seems obvious, but it felt very fleshed out and therefore interesting. ---- I realized as I write this that I rushed to the ending (a bad habit in my reading). My impression is that the oh-so-tricky ending of the novel was handled well: loose ends tied up, not too rushed…but I can’t vouch for it. However, don’t let that stop you! This is a great read and adds some nice variety to the YA fantasy genre. ---- It was such a pleasure to read a book about a (self-described) desi girl and her extended family, with all the habits, quirks, and foods related to that. And then she goes up to the world of the stars where they are still eating foods similar to South Asian foods (though there are some South Asian snacks the “teenage” stars have never tried….and they love them.) ---- As a white reader I just don’t notice when a fantasy book assumes celestial beings will be Greek or Roman or eat European food. Seems normal! I noticed here that is WASN’T…which just goes to show that WeNeedDiverseBooks !! ---- Queer Representation: we have the (ubiquitous? ok we’re not there yet but it does seem common) best-friend-is-a-lesbian, and there is a male-male relationship in side characters. No homophobia – yay!

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    3 person found this review helpful

    3 people found this review helpful

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • A starry and amazing book inspired by Hindu mythol

    Star Daughter was a delight to read. It mixes so many elements and tropes of YA Fantasy that we are familiar with and makes them so much more magical. It gave us a protagonist who was extremely relatable and genuine, and a world beautifully illustrated with components of Hindu mythology and folklore. The book reveals its secrets slowly and artfully, giving you just enough light as an incentive to venture into the darkness. It establishes relationships and their dynamics pretty much instantly allowing us to easily understand every character. It give us small and excruciating glimpses into Sheetal's innermost thoughts with diary entries interspersed through the book. The prose induces this sensation of ethereal beauty and light which left me utterly mesmerised. It creates an artful, awesome and alluring world sweeping us away to the beauty and court intrigue of Swargalok. Evoking the imageries of the realm of Indra — the God of lightning, rain and war — full of apsaras and other heavenly beings; and fleshing out the court of nakshatras, all of them vying for power under polite undertones and eons of history. The book wove the Hindu myths through its very bones reminding me of my younger years spent listening to the many stories of gods and monsters. I really enjoyed the relationship between Sheetal and her best friend, Minal. They have the kind of friendship based out of pure love for each other. How Sheetal approaches the problems that she faces throughout the book was also something that impressed me because it was much more realistic and reflective of teenager today than the absurd, convoluted schemes we see in a whole lot of YA books. However, I found the pace of the book to be stunted at times, spending too much time lyrically describing certain scenes while completely glossing over scenes that seemed more interesting and integral to the plot. I also found the attraction and connection that Sheetal and Dev feel for each other to be a little too manufactured since we are not very much aware of their history. It felt a little like a forced infatuation to me. There were also certain moments in time when I felt like I was reading a middle grade book rather than a young adult one, because some of the obstacles that we encounter seemed too easy. This book is beautiful and imaginative; woven of a brightly shimmering world as resplendent as the stars, and prose as magnificent as the heavens that accompany them. I would very much urge you to pick it up for short and striking dose of fantasy that will leave you hungering for more Hindu myths and a ringing of starsong in your ears. OwnVoices Reflection: I loved the Indian culture that this book represented. It was not just because it takes inspiration from Hindu myths or has a second-generation immigrant as its protagonist. It reflected my culture through food and clothes, which are just minor things and would not have impressed me much. What impressed me was the culture reflected through people's mentality and opinions, through those weird customs we have of asking children to perform during family functions, of elders consistently asking kids how they were doing in school, of elders thinking and believing that their children would and should always listen to them, of frequently meeting and relying upon your extended family even if you don't particularly like them. It was about the kind of gifts children expect from their parents on their birthday. These small and inscrutable things made this book close to my heart and made me feel represented in more than just the colour of my skin or the kind of food I eat. Even though, Sheetal is Gujarati and I am not, the essence of all of Indian culture — that connects the innumerable subcultures of the country — was present in this book, and it was weaved together beautifully.

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    1 person found this review helpful

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