Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Starcrossed, by Josephine Angelini- Review

I have to be up front about this.  If you liked this book, go no further into this review.  Honestly, I know there's a crazy fan base out there but I'm going to be killing your mojo folks so be warned.

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.

Starcrossed committed so many crimes against fiction I'm amazed it ever made it to publishing.  The story rambled like a lost baby bird, flitting here and there with very few of the actions either tying into the plot, developing the characters or Angelini's mythology.  The characters were many, and all equally unlikeable either because they were so underdeveloped they appeared more as cardboard cutouts then actual people in the story, or because they were developed in a completely bipolar way so you never felt like you understood them.  And finally the dialogue was so stilted and often absurd I found myself embarrassed for whoever was talking at the time.  

In short, the story was bad on an epic scale.  I was injured and totally couch bound while reading it, so my standards were set to the lowest of the low- entertain me levels.  I wasn't looking for Shakespeare folks, just an escape from hurting all over and not being able to eat any solid foods.

I'm pretty sure Josephine Angelini  lost me by about two pages in. Don't get me wrong, I stuck it out all agonizing 487 pages, but good lord!  A best friend nicknamed Giggles (they call her Gig and I really wanted to poke out my eyeball every time I read it, especially since she didn't seem to laugh a lot . Yah, honestly right?!), coupled with the description of Helen where she comes out sounding like some huge, buff giantess girl that people stare at, and I was already loudly going "huh?" and back peddling to re-read.  When a few pages in you think you've missed something? Not good.

But wait! There's more!  Wall flower giantess, Helen,  flies into a murderess rampage at the sight of the cute new guys at her high school (well, ok, isn't that every one's first reaction?).  And then finds out she can fly. And then falls in love with the guy she tried to kill.  Did I mention she's actually stunningly gorgeous and turns out, has Helen of Troy's face? Nope? Well how could I forget that?!  Guess the buff giantess thing was just supposed to throw us off the scent for a few hundred pages.
ps- notice the pacing of those sentences, the lack of development?  now imagine 487 pages of them.

Besides the just plain annoying things (Gig!!!! gah!), this story was all over the place. Descriptions about characters were flung around in this half hearted way but never seen through to their conclusions or just blatantly ignored. I.E. Helen is supposed to be incredibly shy but ends up wandering around an unfamiliar house in a transparent nightie completely unconcerned and then crawling into bed with the guy she previously tried to strangle.  Don't even get me started on her absurd relationship with her dad who is wildly unimpressed by her sudden relationship with this buff, hot guy driving a convertible but who also doesn't cause a fuss when she disappears for entire 24 hour periods.

Since I've obviously given up the "if you can't say anything nice" motto, I have to say this as well, why write about something that has already been beautifully done by someone else if you don't have anything new to add? Lets be honest, Rick Riordan has rocked the socks off of the Demigod story, and it's inevitable that Angelini's story be compared to his since they share similar mythology. Even the idea of Helen's un-resistible beauty has been done better in other YA fiction, Fire (by Kristin Cashore) is a stellar example of a character with a beauty so powerful it could be her downfall, and on both scores I feel like Angelini hasn't added anything that could be called her own to those ideas. 

But seemingly, what do I know?  Bloggers and authors alike have been raving about this debut novel, so I will leave you with this little clip of dialogue between Lucas and Helen and let you decide if you can take any more of it, 

"Falsefinders-Scions who can feel lies- are very rare, but I'm one of them.  I always know a lie when I hear it, and if it comes from someone close to me I can't stand it.  So you can't lie to me , Helen. Ever. If you don't want to tell me the truth, please, for my sake, don't say anything at all," he pleaded.

"Does it hurt?" Helen asked, her curiosity piqued.

"I've tried to explain to Jase how it feels, but I've never been able to get it right.  It's almost like that feeling you get when you've lost something really important and you can't find it, but it's much worse.  The longer the lie hangs there, the more frantic I get to find the truth.  I'll dig and dig for it..."

Starcrossed, By Josephine Angelini
Published by HarperTeen, May 2011


  1. Oh thanks goodness. Finally, I found someone else who shares my feelings on this book. I couldn't stand it!

    If you want, you can check my review out here.

    Chey @ The Chey Show

  2. Ahhhh this is a fantastic review, I have to say. I'm glad you mentioned it!I uhh... think I'll avoid this one ;)

  3. Hhahahaa this review made me laugh so much. I pretty much agree with it. I did like some of the members of the Delos family but I just think it's more because of my imagination then how Angelini actually portrayed them. Couldn't stand Helen. I actually hated her guts after 2 pages.

    Here's my review of it - probably a bit more positive than yours but I still would say overall it's one of the worst books I've read this year so far lol.

    Amber @ The Spine-Breaker's Club