Friday, June 17, 2011

Review: Starcrossed

By Josephine Angelini
Publication date: May 31, 2011

My review:

Helen Hamilton does not know that she is a demigod. She has been experiencing unusual dreams and waking up with sand on her feet. She also feels painful cramps whenever she accidentally draws attention to herself. Things only get worse when the Delos family arrives on her little Nantucket island. When she sees Lucas Delos she feels an overwhelming urge to kill him. It turns out that this is due to the three Fates who cause Helen to want to avenge a crime she doesn't even know about. Helen doesn't want to be a killer and neither does Lucas but the Fates have something else in store for them. Can Helen and Lucas break free from this destructive cycle to save their families? How can they be together without destroying all they love?

Starcrossed is based very loosely on Greek mythology and the idea that the ancient demigods are in a way reborn in their descendants. Demigods tend to take on the characteristics of their ancestors including their appearance. The Fates force the same stories to play out  over and over again through the generations. It is fairly obvious from the beginning just who Helen and Lucas are meant to be like. I thought that Starcrossed started out strong but then fizzled. At the beginning I was drawn into the story and wanted to know what was going on with Helen. I wanted to see if my guesses about where the story would head were correct. I also liked the characters at first but as the book went on, I became annoyed with Helen, Lucas, and even the secondary characters at times. The ending chapters of the book are very action packed but rushed. There is definitely room for explanation and development and Helen's reactions to some pretty big things were not explored very well.

In the early part of the book, Helen has more of a social life, a solid relationship with her dad, and a strong friendship with her best friend Claire. She loves to run and she has a part time job. There are some unique things about her (she has those pesky realistic dreams, sees The Fates, and has bad cramps whenever she draws attention to herself) and some annoying things (she fails to realize her attractiveness though she is apparently stunning). I liked this version of Helen. She is interesting to read about. Sadly once she meets Lucas, Helen loses some of her personality. Sure, she learns to fight and hone her other demigod skills but she seems to leave her friends and family behind. Claire does tag along in different scenes but I thought she'd play a bigger role.

For all its flaws however, Starcrossed was still an entertaining book. There are some intriguing characters introduced and I liked learning about the mythology behind the story though it isn't true to Greek mythology. The rules of Helen's world still need to be better explained but as this is the first in a series, readers who stick with it will likely find out more in the second book. I was also relieved that there wasn't a love triangle. With all its Twilight similarities there was no equivalent of a Edward-Bella-Jacob quandary. However if I had to pick between Starcrossed and Twilight, I'd say that Twilight is the better book.

I know I am in the minority and many people loved Starcrossed and even gushed about it in reviews. Sadly, this was not my reaction. I liked it initially but had to push myself to keep reading sometimes. Josephine Angelini is talented and she has some good ideas but the book did not reach my high expectations. Hopefully the sequel, Dreamless, will correct some of the issues here and depart radically from the Twilight mold so there won't be further comparisons between the two series. I might even be tempted to read the sequel though I'd probably get it from the library just in case.

Readalikes: Abandon by Meg Cabot, Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, The Iron King by Julie Kagawa, Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Note: I received an e-ARC of this title courtesy of NetGalley


  1. I liked this one, although I had issues with it too. I had a tough time connecting with the character of Helen, although she grew on me as the book went on. It's a great premise though, and I am looking forward to the next book! :)

  2. I've read reviews that discouraged me about readint this book, I think I may skip this one. I'm not big on retellings anyway hehe


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