Starcrossed (Starcrossed #1)

StarcrossedBy Josephine Angelini

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 31, 2011
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Netgalley

How do you defy destiny?

Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—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 together—and trying to tear them apart.

Goodreads Summary

All of her life, Helen has tried to pretend to be less than average.  She slouches, doesn’t try very hard to do well academically and while she plans on getting a college scholarship through the high school athletic department, she still makes sure she doesn’t try too much in track.  She knows she’s a freak because everyone at high school makes sure to tell her on a daily basis, but lately things have been getting extra weird between the nightmares and the strange cramps.  Thankfully she’s got a super best friend and even though her mom ran out on them when she was a baby, her dad is her rock.

Word spreads fast on the island that the big Delos family has moved into a long-vacant mansion and that several of them will be attending the high school.  Helen’s reaction is neutral until she sees Lucas Delos and is overcome with the need to kill him and has to be pried off of his neck.  After more attempts on his life (which he warns he wants to reciprocate) and a lot of nosing around his family, she finally learns why she’s so different and what her relationship to the Delos family is.  She’s actually a demi-goddess, descended from Greek mythology as are the Delos’.  They’re all part of a horrible tragedy handed down from the ages, parts of warring Houses trying to prevent an epic war by keeping ancient history involving Helen, Lucas and his brother Hector from repeating itself.

Oh yeah, you can guess what Lucas’ name was supposed to be when he was born.

Actually, there are a lot more twists than the classic Helen of Troy story, so it truly isn’t that simple.  There are no love triangles (thank God) and the tale of the demi-gods and their Houses that are at war is fairly complicated/convoluted.  I say convoluted because some of them have the same names as their historical predecessors, some don’t, some have similar faces as a few of their relatives, some don’t, everyone has powers that are different that don’t seem to be related to anything except one of Lucas’ sisters who’s an Oracle….  While you’re in the middle of reading the whole book it’s a little jumbled, although if you can suspend belief for a while it’s not intolerable.

I did really like Helen.  Just erase the fact that she was a demi-goddess and she still would have been worthy of her own book.  Angelini did a lovely job portraying how frightened she was of just being herself and even how she was bullied at school.  I really liked her relationship with her insanely funny friend Claire.  She added some much-needed support for Helen and had a fairly shocking secret for her near the end.

Lucas, oh Lucas.  Sometimes he was really supportive of Helen and helped her understand her growing powers and her heritage and other times he was extremely Broody McBroody and borderline mean to her.  I knew the entire basis of the romantic story is that Lucas and Helen needed to be kept apart but I didn’t like the path Angelini took with Lucas’ personality.

The Delos family was an utter mishmash.  Honestly, other than his sister the Oracle, his brother Hector and his mother who was human, I couldn’t tell you who was who.  I know there was an Ajax in there and I think he was dead, but other than that I haven’t a clue and I don’t even remember their names because I think most of them were sort of strange.  Sometimes when I read things on my Kindle I look at the length indicator before I start and compare it to other books so I get an idea of how long it’ll take me to finish.  I remember when I was in the middle of reading this that I kept thinking that it felt like it was taking me ages to read even though it wasn’t really a bad story.  It just felt really long.

My Summary: This is another book that I feel very conflicted about grading.  While I was reading there were things that made sense and kept me interested in the story and when I was done there were things that I really liked and would have made a good book on their own.  There were also times that I think the author may have thrown too many elements and characters into a book that as the first in a series might have benefited from a lighter touch.  I’m not generally a stickler for accuracy when it comes to mythology – if it’s a good story, I’m fine with suspending belief – but this went a little too far sometimes, possibly because it just got too complicated.  Will I pick up the next book?  Likely not, because while some elements were good, the ones I’ll need a refresher in before I read Starcrossed #2 weren’t good enough.

My Rating: C

Barbara

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