Review: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

starcrossedStarcrossed by Josephine Angelini
Romance, Mythology, Action
Published by: Pan Macmillan
Pages: 514
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★
Series:  Dreamless (#2) | Goddess (#3)
Where to Find: GoodReads | Amazon

After looking at the cover, I didn’t know what to expect from ‘Starcrossed’. You can’t help but read the title and think about Romeo and Juliet. I was worried that this book was going to be consumed with a forbidden romance that would end in disaster. Safe to say, I was surprised ‘Starcrossed’ was more than just another angsty YA romance novel!

The world of ‘Starcrossed’ is contemporary, with a dash of Greek mythology thrown in there for good measure. I love myths, but haven’t experienced any intertextuality since ‘Percy Jackson’, so was wary about what was going to be done. However, instead of focusing on the gods and goddesses, the characters of ‘Starcrossed’ were descendants of famous Greek figures. Helen, the main character, was descended from Helen of Troy, Cassandra was descended from the Oracle of Delphi. It did annoy me slightly that their names were the same – it meant that it was easy to guess what their powers were going to be if you were familiar with the original myths. And the idea of inheriting faces as well as names was slightly odd. I appreciated the originality of the mythology, and how different it was from ‘Percy Jackson’ – I was surprised that I still understood everything that went on, even if some of the explanation was a bit fuzzy around the edges.

Plot and Pacing
Throughout the story, I could find a lot of ‘Twilight’ parallels. Helen, our main character, lived with alone with her father on the small and isolated island of Nantucket. Lucas, the love interest, was part of a big family, and someone whom Helen was instantly drawn to. They fell in love and Lucas’ family protected Helen from the dangers of Creon, acting as the James-evil-vampire character. If you took away the mythology, you’ve got a very similar plot outline. Except, Helen isn’t a mundane. She’s also descended from the ancients. Imagine ‘Twilight’ if Bella had been a vampire to begin with!
It also followed a similar style to ‘Twilight’ with a very bland beginning. I had to get about 100 pages into this beast of a book before I was genuinely interested in the story. But, don’t get me wrong, I love reading about characters cooking family meals and doing bad internet searches concerning their less-than-human boyfriend.

Helen wasn’t annoying. Neither was Lucas. I almost feel like leaving it at that. BUT, I didn’t like how Lucas’ family weren’t as willing to admit Helen was more than capable of looking after herself. Each family member had at least two magical powers. I couldn’t count on my fingers the number of gifts Helen was given (so convenient.) ‘Starcrossed’ really fit the trope of over-protective boyfriend, so I’m hoping for Helen to break out of her shell a little more in the next book.

Finally, the romance in this book: it was, as expected, forbidden. Yet, unlike any other YA couples in the same situation, Helen and Lucas were able to restrain themselves. I liked that ‘Starcrossed’ helped to show that teenagers aren’t solely driven by carnal desires. Unfortunately, I can smell a love triangle on the horizon. Help me.

Overall, I’d give ‘Starcrossed’ four stars. Highly enjoyable, with a great mixture of love, action and intrigue. The third person perspective meant that we could experience the villains as well as the heroes and lead to a well-developed plot and prophecy. I look forward to continuing on with the series, as this was such a strong start to a trilogy!


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