By: Shveta Thakrar
My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Genre: YA, Magical Realism, Mythology
Page Count: 435
Synopsis: If the night sky holds many secrets, it holds Sheetal Mistry’s secret the closest. A secret that explains why her hair is the silver of starlight, or why some nights the stars call Sheetal by name.
Stars like her mother, who returned to her place in the constellation Pushya years ago. Since that day, Sheetal has been forced to hide.
But as her seventeenth birthday draws near, the pull from the sky is growing stronger. So strong that Sheetal loses control, and a flare of starfire burns her human father—an injury only a full star’s blood can heal.
Sheetal has no choice but to answer the starsong and ascend to the sky. But her celestial family has summoned her for a reason: to act as their human champion in a competition to decide the next ruling house of heavens.
Desperate to save her father, Sheetal agrees. But nothing could have prepared Sheetal to face the stars’ dark history—or the forces that are working to shut the gate between the realms for good.
This review will be spoiler free
First before I get into the review, let’s all take a minute to just gaze at this gorgeous cover in awe! Alright, now that we’ve done that I’ll get into my review. This was one of the most anticipated books of the year and as per usual, with so much build-up there was bound to be some let down. The writing itself was very beautiful and almost poetic at times which honestly might have contributed to some of the negative reviews I have been seeing because the books was kind of hard to follow. I thought that Sheetal’s culture and the mythology surrounding the stars was beautifully represented and it really shined through the story. However, I think that came at the cost of a well rounded plot.
While the characters, world building and imagery was very unique, the plot was very predictable, the classic competition ‘chosen one’ plot has been done so many times, and don’t get me wrong I do enjoy that trope, but I was hoping for some twist or change that would throw me off my tracks, but it just didn’t come. I personally, think the representation of Hindu mythology and design culture and the really wonderful world building partially made up for this, and so it is not detrimental to the book in any way.
Turning to the characters themselves, we need to look at Sheetal. I am the first to admit that ta main character should be flawed, they should make mistakes and make you angry and frustrated sometimes, that is the mark of good writing. However, there were times were Sheetal was really getting on my nerves, and not in a good way. She just clung to her grudges so hard that I wanted to shake her, she spent I would say 80% of the book angry at a specific character and in my opinion she really didn’t have a good enough reason for that. Now I know this is just my personal opinion, so others may not have been as annoyed as I was. The secondary characters such as Minal really did make up for Sheetal and I wish we had gotten a little bit of a dual POV to lighten the story a little and add some more dimension. I also thought that while very sweet and definitely representative of the powerful first love feeling, the romance in this book didn’t quite justify itself enough for me. I just felt like we jumped in halfway through their romance and I just had to take them at their word that they loved each other when I wasn’t altogether convinced.
Overall, this book is filled with lush mythology and magic and cultural representation that is long overdue in the YA fantasy genre. The poetic nature of the writing, the world building and that cover (OMG!) drew me in. Unfortunately this book falls short in terms of plot complexity, character relationships and pacing. I would deifnltiey still recommend this book, and I think that if there is a sequel, some of these issues can be remedied because this book has the makings of a great series.
Have you read this book? let me know your thoughts down in the comments!