Author: Josephine Angelini
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Series: Starcrossed (Book 1)
Publication Date: May 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 487 Pages
ISBN-10: 0062011995 (Harper Teen)
ISBN-13: 978-0062011992 (Harper Teen)
Reviewed by: Emmy
Set on the island of Nantucket, STARCROSSED tells the tale of Helen Hamilton, a young woman whose destiny is forever altered when she meets Lucas Delos and tries to kill him in front of her entire high school. Which is terribly inconvenient, not only because Lucas is the most beautiful boy on the island, but also because Helen is so achingly shy she suffers physical pain whenever she is given too much attention.
Making matters worse, Helen is beginning to suspect she’s going crazy. Whenever she’s near Lucas or any member of his family she sees the ghostly apparitions of three women weeping bloody tears, and suffers the burden of an intense and irrational hate. She soon learns that she and Lucas are destined to play the leading roles in a Greek tragedy that the Three Fates insist on repeating over and over again throughout history. Like her namesake, Helen of Troy, she’s destined to start a war by falling in love. But even though Lucas and Helen can see their own star-crossed destiny, they’re still powerfully attracted to each other. Will they give up their personal happiness for the greater good, or risk it all to be together?
Quick & Dirty: This book starts slow, but tension builds quickly with the arrival of danger and demigods to her quiet island of Nantucket, with a romance that rivals the tragedy of the original starcrossed lovers.
Opening Sentence: “But if you bought me a car now, it would be yours when I go away to school in two years.”
Attention makes Helen sick. For someone tall and beautiful, that can cause a considerable amount of problems. To keep the cramps at bay Helen attempts to fade into the background. She doesn’t hang out with the popular crowd, she doesn’t try to extend her social circle beyond her best friends Claire and Matt. As long as she’s not making waves, so no one will notice that she’s not quite normal. When she runs track she doesn’t get short of breath — she has to hold back or everyone on the team will be eating her dust by minutes. At her father’s store she lifts 40lb sacks of flour like their filled with cotton balls.
When she closes her eyes and goes to sleep, she finds herself walking in a desert, or drowning in quicksand, or any one of a hundred tortures. Helen wakes up to find herself covered in sand and sometimes blood. Without any explanation besides that she’s going crazy, Helen tries to go on as normal. But normal gets thrown completely out of whack when she comes face-to-face with the Delos kids for the first time. Their family has bought to compound on the island, moving here from Spain just before the start of school, but she doesn’t share any classes with them. So when she sees Lucas Delos in the hallway, the Furies overtake her.
Helen is thrown into a world of Scions — demigod descendants of the original players in the Trojan War. Her powers aren’t freakish, their normal for someone like her. But her father is mortal and completely unaware of his daughters less than human ancestors, while her mother took off when she was a baby. Not only does Helen have no one but the Deloses — a family she desperately longs to kill — to explain what’s going on, but her world just got a lot more dangerous. Through a twist of fate, Lucas and Helen dispel the Furies, allowing the Delos family to finally explain everything that’s been happening to Helen. But as they grow closer together, Lucas and Helen find themselves mirroring the original starcrossed lovers responsible for beginning the Trojan War in the first place.
Angelini built a world where the original Trojan warriors fall into four houses. The House of Thebes, children of Apollo, House of Rome, descended from Aeneas, Hours of Athens, children of Athena, and Helen’s House, the descendants of Aphrodite. Because of the Trojan War the four houses have turned into warring factions, desperate to kill members of the other house to increase the glory of theirs. It’s barbaric, but it’s the only thing that keeps the gods on Olympus and away from meddling with earth.
The Delos family is a splinter group of the House of Thebes. This family is complicated and has scars of their own. I love the way Nantucket becomes populated with all these well developed characters. Even the parents, Helen’s dad especially, get fleshed out to their full potential. Whereas the plot could be totally predictable in many ways, the characters made me laugh and want to see where they ended up.
Probably my biggest annoyance in this book was the way Angelini changed perspectives. It’s a third person restricted, but she moves the POV around without a pattern. In some cases it adds drama, in others tension, but the switch bothered me. She also falls back a lot on exposition, making for a lot of long reading broken up by conversation. While I don’t have anything against description as a whole, it really cut through the tension and bogged down the story in a number of places.
On the whole, though, this was a very entertaining read that combined modern day angst with mythological feuds — and myths and angsts are two of my first loves when it comes to novels. While the attempted wrap-up of an ending detracted from the impact of the plot, the sequel does a great job of building the stacks up again. (I devoured both Starcrossed and Dreamless in a day, so you know they aren’t hard to read!)
“Cassandra! Stay where you are,” Lucas called over Helen’s shoulder, his face no more than an inch away from hers. “She’s very strong.”
Helen’s arms burned and the little bones in her wrists felt like they were grinding together. Lucas was holding her by the wrists to keep her hands away from his neck, she realized. They were locked in a stalemate, and if she could get her fingers half an inch closer, she could reach his throat.
And then what? a little voice in her head asked. Choke the life out of him! answered another.
The Starcrossed Series:
FTC Advisory: Harper Teen provided me with a copy of Starcrossed. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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