Saturday, September 17, 2011

Book: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

Book: Star-Crossed
Author: Josephine Angelini
Published: 2011
Source: Review copy from publisher via NetGalley

Helen Hamilton has never felt like her face could launch a rowboat, much less a thousand ships. She’s taller than almost everyone she knows, she’s stronger and faster, and yet when she inadvertently calls attention to herself, she suffers debilitating cramps. She just hopes to slide through her senior year without attracting too much scrutiny, and then get the holy hell off Nantucket Island.

But then the Delos family moves to town, and the moment she lays eyes on eldest son Lucas, she feels an immediate explosion of feeling - specifically, utter homicidal hatred. Literally - they try to kill each other, not knowing why. There’s something bigger than everyone at work here, and Helen knows Lucas’s family holds the answers to all the questions she’s ever asked. That’s if she can get close to them without a total bloodbath.

I'm conflicted about this book. Like, srsly, you guys. On the one hand, intriguing premise. Super-powered descendants of Greek gods, living out ancient prophecies? Vibes of the Iliad and the Greek tragedies? Fascinating themes of free will versus destiny? Oh, baby, take me there!

On the other, major Twilight vibes. Maaajor. The awkward and unconfident girl, living with a single father, meets a beautiful boy and his intriguing family, who all tell her she’s the most marvelous thing in the world. (That homicidal thing gets taken care of early on.) Yet the beautiful boy must stay away from her for a nebulous reason that never gets explained until most of the way through the book. There's even, no joke, the watching-over-her-while-she-sleeps bit.

And yet, there was more meat on this book. Helen has good reason to feel like a freak, because she kind of is. She's so much faster and stronger than any normal human being that she has to hold herself back everywhere but home, and eventually, the Delos house. She’s not only adopted into the Delos family, she’s held to their standard. She’s not a cute little pet. This family insists on her learning to defend herself, instead of assuring her that they will defend her. She does take a frustratingly long time to take hold of her powers. Really, sweetheart? I know you're in the habit of backing off, but for cripes sake, we're talking actual people wanting to actually kill you here. Take hold!

You see my conflict? I’ll recommend this for the cool premise, the compelling story, the massively fun shout-outs to Greek tragedy (I know, I'm weird), the intricate interweavings of loyalties and lies, and in the certain knowledge that the Twilight vibes aren’t going to be a problem for many readers. It’s well-written, and now that Helen has taken her life by the horns, I’m really looking forward to the rest of the series.

But if a werewolf enters the picture, I’m outta here.


Zoraida Cordova said...

I'm torn between reviews. But I do love my mythology spins!

If you're into mermaids, I'm having a contest over on my blog ;)

Bibliovore said...

I echo that, Zoraida. I'm such a sucker for mythology retellings. I love seeing how they get reformed.

Danmark said...

Wow! I sat down with the intention of reading a few chapters, but I read the nearly-500-page book in one day. I loved it! Josephine Angelini has created a great world. I'm a huge fan of books about Greek myths (Percy Jackson, The Goddess Test), and if you like Greek mythology then you will love Starcrossed!

And Starcrossed had such an amazing storyline. There was lots of background information, careful plotting - the whole storyline was fleshed out and the author had clearly put a lot of thought into it. I really enjoyed that aspect of the book. Even though the book is so long, it's hard to put down and has a good balance of action, character-building, plot development, etc.

The characters were great, too. Sometimes I wished the main character, Helen, had been stronger, but I can say that she definitely wasn't a weak heroine - just a girl thrown into a messy war between the gods. So, seeing her react to everything happening around her was fun. Then Lucas, the love interest - ahh. He was so sweet and protective of her. I liked how it wasn't love at first sight - the Furies were making Helen feel hate towards Lucas and his family until she wanted to kill them! For me, this was a humorous part of the book and made for great entertainment. Also, I liked the roles the minor characters played in the book. Especially Claire, Helen's best friend, who stuck by her even when Helen was being distant. I loved Claire!