Sunday, April 15, 2012

Book Review: Starcrossed

Starcrossed
Published By: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 2011
Page Count: 487
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Young Adult - Fantasy, Greek Mythology

YA novels influenced by Greek Mythology seem to be quickly becoming a new trend. I love Greek Myths so this isn't a huge problem, but I am getting a bit tired of reading about Persephone. I was hoping that Starcrossed would focus on a different aspect of mythology. I was not disappointed. Josephine Angelini uses the Trojan War as well as information about Zeus, Poseidon, Aphrodite, and Apollo to drive her heart pounding saga. I am anxious to see what will happen in the next installment.

On Angelini's Nantucket Island, Scions roam the sands. These Scions are demigods that have been descended from the Gods and Goddesses who live upon Mount Olympus. Scions are beautiful, intelligent, and gifted beings. Four houses, or families, of Scions exist. Each of these houses is at constant odds with the others. Throw in an ancient agreement with Zeus, allusions to Atlantis, a forbidden love, and family drama and you get one compelling and entertaining read. Imagine that Romeo and Juliet were Greek tragic characters and you'd get something along the lines of Starcrossed.

Starcrossed started out a bit tedious and predictable. There is a ton of exposition in the beginning and the action didn't really pick up until the half way point. While I was in the midst of this I admit that I found myself to be frustrated and kept wishing that things would pick up. Now that I have finished the book, I can see why all the build up was necessary. The universe Angelini has created is very intricate and readers who didn't get a heavy dose of background knowledge would have trouble navigating the conflicts and issues that arise when all hell breaks loose. The exposition is also helpful in better understanding the complex relationships between the characters. The story was predictable because of the love affair - awkward girl at school who doesn't really fit in finds herself drawn to the hot new boy in school who happens to have super human strength and special powers. We've seen this story countless times in YA novels. It was also easy to predict that something was going to happen that would either destroy this relationship completely or make it extremely difficult for the two to live happily after. I am not sure why this story element seems to be so popular in YA literature and I admit that sometimes it turns me off to books, but Angelini's world was one that I found intriguing in spite of the predictable elements. 

I loved that the book used elements of Greek mythology that I haven't seen in YA novels before. The Trojan War and the Oracle fascinated me as a student reading the actual myths in Freshman English so I was excited to see an author use those topics as inspiration. I loved seeing the concept of fate, hubris, and prophecy play out in this one. There were many elements from traditional Greek lore that made appearances within this novel. I loved that The Iliad and The Odyssey were history texts and not just stories.

Furthermore, I adore Helen. She is one of those characters that I instantly felt a connection to. In spite of being gorgeous and athletic, she still feels like she doesn't fit in. She can't truly see herself. I think we all go through those moments from time to time where the world can see our gifts, but in our heads we see nothing but negative traits. It was interesting to watch Helen shake off her negative sense of self and grow into the strong, confident young woman that she always was deep inside. Her story truly is one of female empowerment.

One also cannot ignore the other characters who add so much to this story. Every member of the Delos family became an instant favorite of mine. I also really enjoyed Claire, Matt, Jerry, and Kate. There are so many likable characters in this one. Each of them has an interesting story to tell and I sincerely hope we get more of them in future books. I am really anxious to learn more about Cassandra and Hector.


One Last Gripe: It frustrated me that it took so long for the truth about Lucas' hesitation to come out.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: There are some wicked twists and turns at the end

First Sentence: "But if you bought me a car now, it would be yours when I go away to school in two years."

Favorite Character: Helen

Least Favorite Character: Zach



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?


3 comments:

  1. Hmmm... this is on my TBR pile... might need to move it on up a little!!

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    1. I think you'll like it. There are a lot of Twilight comparisons, but I didn't mind. There was just something deliciously addicting about this one. I'll be reviewing the second book in the trilogy later this month. :)

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  2. I really enjoyed figuring out the roles that the Delos family and Helen played in the great battle that has been spanning centuries and what their abilities were. Angelini doesn't just have humor. She knows how to tell a story without making you feel like you're left out of the loop. As the story is told in third person, you will get to meet the minds of characters other than Helen, giving you a better feel for where the story's moving.

    Readers won't be able to help comparing Starcrossed to Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series because of the beautiful and affluent new family moving in, but they do have their differences, and I liked Starcrossed much more. The characters are memorable, mythological legends are brought in, and there's a plot. I love how Angelini adds her own twists to Greek myths with the `dry lands', the idea of the Descender, and the blood baths resulting from a long ago curse.

    Plus, there's the Angelini humor factor. I'll tell you that there are many scenes that got me cracking up, but there are two scenes in particular that had my family wondering if I hadn't lost my sanity. You'll know these two scenes when you read them. Hint: If you didn't know better, you'd think the second scene was payback for the first.

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