I absolutely love historical fiction and read a lot of it; I love to learn history this way. I also enjoy reading science fiction, fantasy, horror, thriller and non-fiction science.
What if your destiny was written in the stars? What if it wasn't good?
This is the reality for Leelavati in the twelfth-century, India. Her star-chart says that she is a Manglik and if she weds, her husband will die within the year. Leela has grown up knowing that fact and has focused instead on her education. Her father, an astronomer has given her the opportunity to learn mathematics, languages and of course, astronomy. Now that Leela is older, she even teaches some younger students; a privilege most women of the time do not enjoy. However, when Leela's childhood friend, Rahul returns from a long voyage their eyes are set for one another and Leela will go to great lengths to save Rahul from the fate written in her stars.
I loved this sweet love story! Though Starcursed is set in a time period long ago, Leela's voice transcends time and is easily relatable to any woman in any place at any time. Leela is a strong character that desperately wants to overcome her fate, but does not want to risk Rahul's life to see if she is correct. I liked that Leela just didn't throw herself at Rahul or put herself in his path, she does everything to stay out of his way. Although, I did find myself smiling throughout every scene where Rahul and Leela interact. Nandini Bajpai has brought 12th century India to life in this book. I enjoyed reading about a time, place and culture that I did not know a lot about. Here is one of my favorite quotes about the setting:
"It was a day of sun and shadow. That rarest of monsoon days when sunshine could suddenly streak through the mass of dark clouds to dance on the hills and rivers below. A day for surprises."
The swayamvara ceremony was interesting to learn about, I had no idea that a woman would be allowed to pick from a line up a suitors at that time. Also, the war of Muhammed of Ghor and the Turkis was a new one for me, so I'll have to do some research into that. The science and math throughout was engaging as well, the debate scene was eye-opening into scientific theories and math at the time
Another interesting note, there really was a man named Bhaskara Acharya, who in this story is Leela's father. Bhaskara Acharya wrote The Crest Jewel of Astronomy. The first chapter of the book deals with arithmetic and is named Leelavati.