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Review: Starcrossed

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini was released in the U.S. on May 31, 2011 in hardcover, audio and eBook formats. It is currently available online at Amazon in all formats and Barnes & Noble in hardcover and eBook formats.

Published by HarperTeen, the print edition is 496 pages.

Starcrossed is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at TheStorySiren.com.

Goodreads description:

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.

***

The Fates can be cruel.

Set on a path that was created long before they even existed, Helen Hamilton and Lucas Delos were destined to meet. A meeting that is meant to be their destruction. And one whose outcome is unavoidable.

When the Delos family moves into town, Helen wants to have nothing to do with them. Wealthy, good-looking and confident, they immediately attract attention and gossip. And Helen has always hated the spotlight. Being different, she preferred to be a social outcast instead of trying to fit in.

But when she first lays eyes on Lucas Delos, all hope of staying under the radar is lost. Her reaction to him is immediate and intense, and the anonymity she cherished for so long is instantly destroyed when she confronts him.

Desperate for things to return to normal, Helen tries to stay away from Lucas, but no matter what she does, running into him is inescapable. And when she learns that their fates are intertwined, Helen is drawn into a world where the past is doomed to repeat itself and ancient rivalries threaten her very existence.

If the Fates are to be believed, trying to escape the mistakes of the past is impossible. But without hope to alter their destiny, being alive is a fate worse than death.

***

Starcrossed is the heartbreaking, tragic and tempestuous story of a destiny that has already been written and the two who are determined to change their fate.

This fast-paced and utterly compelling modern take on the Greek myths will keep readers engrossed as they discover, along with Helen, who she really is and the part she plays in this ill-fated tale.

Starcrossed is not simply a story that is loosely based on the original mythos. The author has kept much of the mythology intact to form the basis for this book and series. The story feels like a continuation of the original tales, as if they were picked up, with Helen, in the present day, rather than just a re-imagining or re-working of them.

Author Josephine Angelini is an amazing storyteller. She has created a highly-charged dynamic between the two main characters who are rushing toward and fighting against their destiny, which is both captivating and torturous.

But their doomed love story is not the only focus. From the start, the author has built in and slowly revealed elements of the underlying plots and schemes of these demigods and introduced some of their complex history and motivations, all of which will continue to come to light as the series progresses.

Starcrossed is just as action-packed and twisty and plotting and filled with betrayal as the myths themselves. Many secrets are revealed, but there are just as many that remain hidden for the upcoming books in the series.

With the fates of certain characters still to be determined, new characters to meet, and hidden agendas to be uncovered, this series is undoubtedly a must read and one whose sequel is anxiously awaited.

Reviewer gives this book [rating=6] Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.

On a personal note:

I don’t even know where to start. I’m speechless. I knew I would like this book. I knew the buzz about this book was insane. But I did not know it would be one of those books for me.

And by those books I mean that there are certain books I read that I become so fully absorbed in that not only can I not put it down, sacrificing sleep and sanity, but that I immediately start re-reading when I’m done because I can’t bear to leave the world and characters that I’ve become so connected to.

Then I’m left heartbroken and completely (I never thought I’d say this word on the blog) bereft when the book ends and destroyed when the series ends. So, yes, this is one of those books for me.

I absolutely love everything about this world and the characters that the author created. I was so excited to see that not only were there demigods but also that the Furies and the Fates played a big part in the book.

And I loved how the author wove so many elements into the story to foreshadow things to come. Even with two reads I’m sure I missed a few of them.

The pace was incredibly quick and this nearly five hundred page book absolutely flew. It was an easy one sit read. I did not put it down the entire time during my first read through it and only a couple times during my second.

But there was so much more to love, starting with the characters. The author did a brilliant job with Helen. She made her humble and shy and totally lovable. That is not an easy feat for a girl who is supposed to be stunningly beautiful. But Helen did not have one single drop of vanity or ego.

And oh that Lucas Delos. I am in love. He is a total hottie. He’s gorgeous, and protective, and jealous, and oh so frustrating. But I can’t forget about Hector. There’s something just so appealing about that Hector…

I’m not sure how I feel about Claire just yet, she’s likable but also annoying and pushy (and I mean that literally) and Cassandra definitely creeps me out. I’m still trying to figure out what the deal is with Zach – secretly obsessed or just a jerk? And at some point I really want to see Helen take Gretchen down.

Then there’s the story. It is absolutely riveting. I loved the fact that a fight could break out in a heartbeat for any reason and the characters would beat the living daylights out of one another. I know that may sound odd, but it was wildly entertaining.

And the tension between Helen and Lucas is deliciously torturous. I’m still tied in knots.

I am dying to talk about all my favorite parts of this book. Dying. But I can’t and it’s killing me. Every single thing I say gives away a little something. Even what I’ve said already is too much. So, here’s my totally vague, and hopefully spoiler-free, mini list of favorite things.

When Helen and Lucas first meet. What happens after the chase on the beach. The nightgown. Hector vs. Lucas – yes, there was more than one, so I say all. The cell phone. Cassandra and the sword. The recognition moment. The lead-up to that ending.

This is another book with an evilly cruel ending. Just mean. I love it when readers know things the characters don’t, but it’s way too long to wait until book two to find out if they’ll learn what we already know.

***

The second book in the trilogy, Dreamless, is slated to come out in 2012.

To read the first ninety-nine pages courtesty of HarperTeen, CLICK HERE.

Book trailer for Starcrossed:

***

This review is based on an eARC I received courtesy of HarperTeen and NetGalley.

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