Review: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

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Book: Starcrossed
Author: Josephine Angelini
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: May 31, 2011
Source: ARC received from NetGalley
Series: Starcrossed #1

Summary: (from Goodreads) How do you defy destiny?

Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she isâ??no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it’s getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she’s haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they’re destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.

As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas togetherâ??and trying to tear them apart.

First impressions: I got hooked into this book pretty quickly. I loved the New England rustic setting and Helen and her best friend were really likable.

Lasting impressions: I’m struggling to find words. Though I didn’t outright hate this book, I’m actively trying to forget that I read this one.

Conflicting impressions: I’m going to admit something that for me is really difficult to do: I’m not sure I followed a whole lot of what was going on. I felt like I needed to read the Cliff’s Notes on The Odyssey before attempting to process the backstory, and that made this a lot less enjoyable for me.

Overall impressions: I’m starting to think that the whole gods/goddesses YA subgenre is just not for me. I’ve read a couple now, and my experiences are turning me off to picking up another any time soon. What I don’t get is that I feel like this should be interesting to me. I like Greek mythology. So what am I missing?

As I mentioned above, this book started out great for me. Helen is cool, and the super extreme killing urge she experiences upon first glance at Lucas was a hoot (HOOT I SAY – make fun of me if you wish). It seemed so fresh and interesting, and when Helen is nearly killed shortly thereafter, I got even more excited about the possibilities.

Where was this going? Why did she want to kill Lucas? Who is trying to kill her? Why is she waking up with dirt and blood on her feet? Mysterious! Love it!

And then I waited 400 pages for the answer. 400 incredibly boring pages at that.

Somewhere in that middle portion, all of this exposition is laid out for us, but in this very dry manner that made it about as exciting for me to read as the Wall Street Journal. Trust me when I tell you that the WSJ is not my scene. Helen discovers all of these things about herself (I can fly! I can love Lucas after all! I’m a demi-god!) that should be exciting, but instead are presented with all of the pomp of a deflated souffle. There is very little explanation, and a whole lot of Helen simply practicing her skills while she waits for the antagonist to arrive.

Which brings me to my primary problem with this story. Said antagonist doesn’t arrive – literally does not set foot in Nantucket – until two-thirds of the way through the book. There is nothing as frustrating as watching a heroine prepare for a fight against someone who hasn’t even been introduced yet. It may have taken Harry Potter seven books and thousands of pages to prepare for his final battle, but at least we knew from word “go” that his nemesis was Lord Voldemort.

The ending did pick up and engaged me in much the same manner as the beginning, but the long middle stretch totally undid any positive feelings I had for this book. I recommend it if you love Greek mythology and Twilight (to which this has often been compared), but this one just wasn’t for me.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

Want a different perspective? Read this cute review by Kaitlyn in Bookland.

12 thoughts on “Review: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

  1. And it looked so promising! Great review though, you really explained what your issues with the book were. I'll have a look through the rest of your blog for good recommendations!

  2. There's just something very sad about a deflated souffle. 😦 Sorry this one didn't work for you. I think there would have been a lot more fans if it had been edited tighter. Hopefully the next book will be. I agree with you about the whole beginning with the insta-hate and dirty feet. I loved that part (but I think she dropped the Furies and all that too easily).

  3. Long boring middle has me running far and fast. Thanks for the honest review, I have too many other obligations to meet, I think I can feel ok about skipping this one for a while.

  4. Logan! You are a HOOT! And considering that crazy WSJ article that made the headlines this week, I'm venturing to say it was a bit more exciting than what is happening in this book. Oy! I don't think I would have survived 400 pages of waiting for answers. As fascinated as I am with Greek mythology, a lot of the stories popping up with God and Goddesses haven't really appealed to me either. Bum deal.

  5. Ugh. I'm about 30% through this book and I'm not understand WTF is going either!!! And I love Greek Mythology but I'm unfamiliar with the myth this book is following, and I too feel like I need Cliff's Notes…*sigh* Not happy to hear it doesn't get better. Booo….

  6. I have my review for this one scheduled for the weekend and, ugh, I just could not make myself care for this story. At all. They definitely should have done further editing because, as it stands, it read like a whole lot of nothing.

  7. My souffle fell too. I have been following this release and getting excited – even though the gods and goddess thing is really not something I am normally interested in. We maybe someday I will read it myself, but don't think I will go out of my way to do so.

  8. I'm just about to post my review of this one, and I get what you mean. I still really enjoyed this one, but the mythology could have been explained more or executed better. I liked the idea for it, but I don't think it was expressed very well in the book. Oh, and a great Greek mythology series is the Percy Jackson series. Have you tried those ones out? They're great!

  9. "all of this exposition is laid out for us, but in this very dry manner that made it about as exciting for me to read as the Wall Street Journal." that bad, eh?! haha :)Thanks so much for your honest thoughts, Logan. Honest reviews are the best! I havent read starcrossed yet, but I can totally understand what you mean when you say that you waited for an answer that never came…. bummer.Diana

  10. Heres my review!For the first 50 or so pages I thought this was going to be just like Twilight. Initially there are lots of similarities between Helen Hamilton and Bella. For instance they both are living with their dad and both feel a bit out of it at high school. However, from about page 50 onwards this story takes on a life of itâ??s own. With demigods, Greek mythology, furies, the underworld. It is a fast paced page turner. And Lucas Delos is the perfect heart throb. I hope there is a sequel coming soon because the ending left me wanting so much more!

  11. Wow, thanks so much for linking to my review in this post. Super sweet! I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy this one quite so much.

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