Sunday, 22 September 2013

Book Review - Starcrossed

Author: Josephine Angelini
Series: Starcrossed #1
Genres: Mythology, Urban Fantasy | Young Adult
Release Date: 5th July 2012
No. Pages: 503
Source: Purchased
Destiny brought them together.
The gods will keep them apart.

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't prevent what will happen next..

This book is a definite 'you either love it, or you hate it' book, and I think that explains the large number of negative reviews it's gotten. I think the largest selling point of this book is it's links to Greek Mythology, and if that really doesn't interest you, or you have trouble following, I seriously advise against you reading it, and for that reason in my opinion, it's a love/hate book.

As for me, I take a keen interest in Classic Studies and all things mystical and magical, especially Greek Mythology. I am always intrigued by the historic characters and the battles, both the physical and emotional ones they went through, and representationally wise, this book did exactly the same. I felt their was almost the right amount of balance between battle and emotions, sometimes intertwining in parts, and I like that it stuck with a lot of the mythical history it was aiming to be about, although I personally would have preferred more description throughout the battle scenes as they are portrayed to take place extremely fast. The setting too was fantastic; I really liked that essence of no escape with it being set on a island, although I did become slightly disappointed about that when I learnt our main female character could fly out from the island if she wished.

During my reading of this book, I was conflicted about how I felt. During the first 150 pages, I spent a lot of the time just reading; I didn't feel any empathy or emotion towards any of the characters other than Jerry, and I was quite disappointed with the book as a whole and thought this would be a no go for me with the rest of the series. But after persevering, it improved a lot. It had me laughing aloud on occasion, and I generally didn't want to put it down, even at 2am in the morning. It suddenly became much more intriguing and interesting and I was pleasantly surprised by just how much of a leaf turning this book did. There were also moments where I felt there was too much romance, or that there wasn't enough; I generally felt quite confused nearing the end, almost annoyed, that the 'oh know, you're cousins' card was being played again in a YA novel, but it annoyed me much more than with other books having done this because the reader knows the truth and characters know the lie, and that always personally frustrates me. I did however like the romance aspects when it was done well. It wasn't a sudden insta-love over a week or two for either of the relationships that are formed, it was extended over a longer period of time to let the characters learn and grow within themselves. I much preferred Claire and Jason's relationship, as I felt there's was much more believable and in a lot of ways, much less complicated, not to mention if they were real people, I'd constantly be jealous of how cute they are together.

As is different with some other YA novels, I didn't have a favourite character as the book went on, I rather just began to like a number of characters for different reasons, and because of this, I can't pick just one. Within the first 200 pages, I loved Jerry. I felt I could relate to his and Helen's relationship as a single parent and daughter, as I share the same with at home with my Mother. Their relationship was much more of a friendship, and the authority was mutually shared between them, as were household tasks and everyday life. I liked him so much for reminding me of my Mum, and I honestly have a huge hunch that he knows a bit about his daughter and her secrets. The other two characters I liked throughout were Claire and Cassandra. I felt that Claires humor and down to earth personality really lit up the book in those dull areas, and she fully accepted a number of things that were happening to her best friend and her family. I honestly think Claire was a wonderful representation of a best friend, the kind we should all have, and amazingly, the kind that I have, which is great. Cassandras character was a favourite for me due to her growth throughout the book. At the start, she was portrayed as a delicate young girl who needed to be watched and looked after, whereas during the book, she matured and her great knowledge and understanding appeared, alongside her confidence. Her character continued to grow through being the Oracle and I believe she will further prove herself a strong and independent character and not go back to a weak and frail child, and for this reason, I love her.

The ending however, I was disappointed in. I would have much preferred a cliff hanger, something that would make me rush out and buy the next book like my life depended on it, whereas this ending didn't. It felt all to clean and almost depressing, considering the two main characters feelings and attitude toward one another. With this in mind, I also have a few things I hope to see in the next installment when I do buy it, such as: both well known and forgotten mythical creatures like hydra's, or much more use of the furies, as they were such a great aspect that was quickly forgotten once they had gone, along with improving Helen's character building, as I feel only in the last 100 pages did she really come into her own and believe in herself. I understand that her character is hugely linked to the romance aspect, but I really want her to be proud herself and her powers, and to embrace them without relying on her romantic partner to hold her hand. I did really enjoy this book, and I will be reading the rest of the series, but won't be rushing out tomorrow to buy Dreamless.

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