This review is spoiler-free!
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.
First of all, I love this cover SO MUCH. I have the purple Owlcrate version (and purple is my favorite color, so I was beyond myself with excitement when I saw it), and it’s now easily my favorite cover on my shelves. It’s so pretty, ugh.
I just… wish the story had lived up to the cover’s brilliance. To be fair, I had really high expectations thanks to the stunning cover, so maybe the story never could have quite lived up to what I wanted it to be. But, if my rating is any indication here (it’s a 3.5), the story itself was just kind of… okay for me. It wasn’t bad by any means, but it was just. Okay.
I say that in regards to the plot and some of the writing, though. The plot had its merits, but I think it could have done better spread over two books rather than one, because it did have a bit of a rushed feel to it. I wanted more descriptions myself, because those in particular were my favorites. Likely because they were whimsical (and reminded me a LOT of the things in The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton — a great read btw), and I had gone into this book assuming it was a higher fantasy than it ended up being.
Which directs us to the writing. Thakrar has a really nice writing style! But I wanted all of the whimsy parts I had been expected without the more mundane aspects we were also given, even when we weren’t in a mundane setting. I understand why they were there — Sheetal is half-human, too, and was raised on Earth — but I just, you know. Kind of got bored. I wanted all of the starry magical aspects and only the starry magical aspects, and I think that’s what ended up jarring me out of loving this.
The characters, though? Really loved them. Specifically Sheetal and especially specifically Minal. Sheetal was a great protagonist for the story, and I love no matter what part of the setting we were in as the story went along, she wasn’t lagging behind and trying to cope with what was being shoved at her. It helped show that she was in fact half-star and had always had a longing for her other half, while also not quite meshing in perfectly, which helped represent her human half. She didn’t flounder endlessly with a lot of the challenges that were thrown her way, and I appreciated that considering we start off the story with her struggling to hide the part of her that keeps calling for her.
Minal, though, was the real star for me. I loved all the scenes with her, I loved her humor, I loved how she interacted with everyone. I just really loved Minal, and I thought she was a super fun best friend side character. I can’t get into my favorite part about her due to spoilers, but I think if you’re familiar with how my love for characters goes, you probably can already assume what it is. 😉
So, yeah! It didn’t live up to everything I hoped it would be, but I think it’s a pretty good debut with an absolutely GORGEOUS cover, and I’m totally ready for more from Thakrar.
Thanks for reading!