Saturday, August 20, 2011

Review: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

When shy, awkward Helen Hamilton meets Lucas Delos for the first time, she thinks two things: the first, that he is the most ridiculously beautiful boy she has seen in her life; the second, that she wants to kill him with her bare hands.

An ancient curse means Lucas and Helen are destined to loathe one another. But sometimes love is stronger than hate, and not even the gods themselves can prevent what will happen next...

Starcrossed is rooted in well-known Greek mythology, expanding on the story of Troy and the Trojan War to offer an original and epic tale of destiny that will keep you turning the pages and wishing for more.

Helen Hamilton has grown up knowing she is different, able to do unexplainable things. All her life she's suppressed this knowledge, wanting nothing more than to go unnoticed and finally leave Nantucket. The arrival of the Delos family causes quite the stir - gorgeous and mysterious, everyone wants to get to know them. But when Helen first lays eyes on Lucas she doesn't want to get to know him - she wants to kill him. And she tries. Shocked by her reaction and terrified of the visions haunting both her waking and sleeping hours, Helen's life will never be the same again. As her attraction to Lucas grows, she finds herself caught in the middle of a centuries old feud, fated to play a pivotal role. Helen is about to find out just what it will cost to make her own destiny.

Oh my, does Starcrossed begin with a bang! No insta-love here, folks! Well, not between our heroine and hero at least - you yourself may actually experience some insta-love for this book. Instead, between Helen and Lucas, we are treated to an explosive case of insta-hate! While I was expecting something of the sort, the scene was more than I could have imagined. The summary is not wrong when it states that Helen wants to kill him with her bare hands! It's certainly a different beginning to what is set to be quite the epic romance, and it had me desperate to keep reading.

This intensity continues throughout the rest of Starcrossed and it's my favourite thing about the book. Angelini's writing pulsates with feeling. Each description feels utterly real, and even now I can still picture many of her scenes in my head, clear as day. In some ways, I feel like I've watched a movie rather than read a book, it is that vivid. The moors; the fight scenes; Helen's dreams; the tension between Helen and Lucas; the Furies; so much of it came alive in my imagination, it was almost palpable. Angelini describes fog rolling in, and I squint as if it surrounds me!

It's not only her descriptions that entrance to the point of physical reactions, either. I had a lot of fun getting to know Angelini's characters! Though it wasn't all gushing love - sometimes they frustrated me so much with their obliviousness to what's right in front of them that I'd shake my book. I suppose it's a good thing I never wanted to rip into a character, or I'd be buying a new one! Seriously though, Helen is so easy to connect to, I think my stomach and heart actually formed a literal bond to hers, dropping and skipping beats and feeling heavy along with her. I loved her relationship with Claire best, and I'm truly looking forward to where Angelini takes it throughout the rest of the series. I can't say much about the Delos boys - Lucas, Hector and Jason - other than 'woah'. Hot, funny, strong, smart...did I mention hot? Nuff said, right? And Cassandra and Ariadne won me over instantly! Every character has a major role and they all standout at some point while reading. Including the villainous Creon, who sends shivers down my spine he's so creepy.

What impresses me about Starcrossed is the strong role of family - both the best and worst. Helen's mother plays a major role, and the Delos family is big and all there. I'm so charmed by Noel - I'd give just about anything to eat at her table, I tell you what! I really like that there's simply more than the Earth-stopping, greatest love of eternity as a focus of the story. Sure, Helen and Lucas's relationship is at the centre of the story, and in many ways it's the 'be all end all', but there's so much more at stake and Angelini details this. Caring for so many great characters, I'm more invested in this book than usual!

Despite being influenced by Greek mythology, Starcrossed really is it's own story. As I'm sure many readers are, I am familiar with the basics of the Troy story (thanks to school and Brad Pitt, yes). Many times throughout the beginning of this book I found myself trying to put it together with what I knew - which character represented whom, what happens to them, etc. I couldn't help myself even though I wondered how this would effect my reading. In some ways it meant things were a little more obvious to me, and so I caught on before Helen did. While there are connections, it's not long before Starcrossed comes into it's own though. I soon got so immersed I was focused on Angelini's world, and only her world. Her twists, characters and storyline work together to create a surprising and impressive plot that adds to the original myth.

Starcrossed is a fantastic and layered start to what is going to be a huge series! The ending wasn't quite what I was expecting and so it has left me wanting so much more. The sequel, Dreamless, is due out next year and I have a feeling it's going to be bigger and better - especially with the introduction of some Gods that Josie has hinted at on her blog, including Hades and Morpheus! I'm looking forward to it, that's for sure.


Publisher: Macmillan
Published date: 31 May 2011
Pages: 514

Challenge: 2011 YA Debut Author Challenge


  1. @:: Lavender's Green :: It is! I'm all into the Greek mythology now, I have a couple more about Persephone & Hades to read yet! :-D