This One Made Me Laugh Out Loud

April 3, 2011

With permission from Zoe Marriott, I am posting this because, well... I found it both hilarious and insightful.

Thanks, Zoe!! :)

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

Starcrossed (Starcrossed, #1)

by Josephine Angelini (Goodreads Author)


Zoë Marriott's review

Apr 03, 11

5 of 5 stars

status: Read in March, 2011


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.



*Pant, Pant*

Okay, it's fine. I'm calm now.

Suffice it to say, then, that STARCROSSED ends on a fairly huge cliffhanger. And anyone who knows me knows that I *do not* like cliffhangers. At all. I usually deduct a star from my rating of books that end this way, because it ruins my enjoyment to be left hanging like that. I also usually preface reviews of such books by saying: 'Don't pick this book up until the series/trilogy is complete'.

But I can't do that in this case, because STARCROSSED is just. That. Good.

STARCROSSED, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

A beautifully thought out and cohesive mythic structure for the story to play out within? Check.

A whole host of complex and wonderfully changeable characters who evolve and surprise the reader constantly throughout the story? Check.

A well-paced plot which never quite twisted in the way I was expecting and which forced me to read the book literally in one sitting because I had to know What Happened Next? Check.

Pared down, competent writing with some really lovely descriptive touches and a minimum of repetitiveness? Check.

A strong, real, wonderful heroine who seemed like an actual person instead of a reader/author insert? Check.

A hero who I could actually fall in love with instead of wanting to whack around the head with a two-by-four? CHECK!

I think I've pretty much summed it up there, but let me delve a little bit deeper on some of my favourite points.

First of all Helen, our protagonist in this story, is ridiculously beautiful. Yes, yes - yawn. And when I say that Helen doesn't really notice or care about her own beauty, you'll roll your eyes. But it's not like that. You see, Helen values other things about people than the way they look. She's been brought up by a rumpled, seemingly average, loving father who has taught her to look a little deeper than the average teenager. Helen doesn't walk around (as certain heroines do) bemoaning how ugly/normal/average she is despite the fact that everyone treats her like a hottie. She just DOESN'T CARE. And this fact does not win her any fans amongst her schoolmates, none of whom can quite believe that she doesn't know how gorgeous she is. But Helen has a great best friend and a wonderful support system within her family (her father and his co-worker Kate) and, frankly, too much attention gives her stomach cramps anyway, so she just shrugs it off. She's aware that she's a little stronger and faster than the people around her, but she wants to get on with her normal, human life, so she pushes that away too.

When she first meets the gorgeous new boy in town (Lucas) and his gorgeous family, is she instantly smitten by how beautiful they are, and fancying herself in love? No way. Helen couldn't really care less about how people look. And she's got way more important stuff to worry about, like the nightmares and the fact that she's getting violent impulses towards Lucas and keeps wanting to strangle him. It's only after Lucas proves to Helen that he's worthy of her interest that she begins to develop feelings for him. Any guy who can sweetly reassure a girl and make her laugh after she has accidentally crushed his ribcage is A-O-flipping-Kay with Helen (and with me too).

Helen gradually gains confidence throughout the book, tranforming from a shy, painfully diffident girl to one who can stand her ground and walk tall no matter what. Some of the book's most moving passages show her finally coming to accept and glory in how fast she can run, how hard she can push, and her various other talents (which, by the way? ARE AWESOME). At no point does she look in a mirror and realise 'Oh, I'm pretty!' She becomes more confident because she realises that she owns her own strength and power. How feminist is THAT? I love it!

And because Helen is a strong character with her own opinions and viewpoint, her relationship with the too-hot-to-be-real Lucas is convincing and truly romantic. She's woman enough to stand up to him and not be overwhelmed by everything he can do. Even though he spends a lot of time teaching Helen and educating her about her powers, he never patronises her - or at least, when he shows signs of it, she slaps him down. Their affinity and deepening love for each other is wonderful.

A quick shout-out must go to the secondary cast here. I love it when I feel as if each and every person in a story is nuanced and interesting enough to probably carry a book of her own, and STARCROSSED pulls that off and more. I adored how the author tricked me into believing I could tell which people were friends and which enemies, and then flipped it all on me. Hector is a great example of this. At the beginning of the story I was seriously hoping Helen would wrench his head off. By the end I was weeping quietly over his tragedy. Ah, Hector. *Sigh*

A word of warning. For some reason I found the first chapter, maybe the first chapter and a half of STARCROSSED really hard to get into. I felt as if a little too much backstory was being pushed at me all at once. You may or may not experience this - but if so, push through it and I guarantee you will not be sorry.

In closing - STARCROSSED is the book that has renewed my faith in the overcrowded paranormal genre. It's a heart-wrenchingly romantic action adventure story with strong characters and a breathless plot. The next book, DREAMLESS, cannot come too soon.

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