by Josephine Angelini
Published by HarperTeen
on May 29, 2012
Source: e-Galley from the publisher via Edelweiss. Read my review policy/disclosure here.
Series report: This book dives right in with a minimal amount of recap. You might want to refresh your memory about Starcrossed.
Sorry, this is going to be a bit long, but I have labeled each part so that you can read what interests you.
First, some non-spoilery thoughts on Starcrossed, plus a brief recap:
If you read a lot of YA, there are aspects of Starcrossed that may feel a bit BTDT. Helen, our heroine, is a self-conscious, awkward girl who doesn't realize that she's drop-dead beautiful. Lucas, also gorgeous beyond belief, suddenly shows up at Helen's school. He's part of a close-knit, mysterious family and seems to detest Helen on sight.
Helen, who is blessed with superhuman strength and plagued by nightmares, learns that the reason she's always felt different is that she is a scion, or demigod. So is Lucas. Each scion is a member of a different House, founded by a different Greek god. There are four Houses: Atreus (founded by Zeus), Thebes (Apollo), Athens (Poseidon) and Rome (Aphrodite.)
Since the end of the Trojan War, Zeus dictated that the four Houses could not unite. Thus, members of different Houses feel compelled to hate, even kill one another. (Imagine a kind of demigod gang warfare.) But when Helen and Lucas save each other's lives, this breaks the cycle of hatred between the two of them and they fall madly in love. Great, right? Nuh-uh. They can't act on these feelings, because that would unite Lucas' House of Thebes with Helen's House of Atreus, which is prohibited.
At this point in the story, Helen and Lucas are given another reason they can't be together -- a reason that the reader learns is a lie. This infuriated some readers of Starcrossed, but hey, this is book is part of a series. If the couple gets together right away, the romantic tension fizzles rather than sizzles.
I really enjoyed Starcrossed. I found Helen an endearing character, and also loved her best friend Claire "Giggles" Aoki. The story also had laugh-out-loud moments that came out of nowhere, and touching moments as well. I'm also a huge mythology nerd, so I was curious to see what the future held for Helen and Lucas and the rest of the gang in ...
Toward the end of Starcrossed, Helen learns that she is the Descender, the only demigod who can locate the Furies in the Underworld and get them to free the scions from their cycle of hatred and vengeance. Cruelly separated from Lucas by the Big Fat Lie (see above), Helen spends every night roaming the Underworld, trying to find the Furies. This work is hard, lonely and exhausting, but the knowledge that all the scions are counting on Helen keeps her going.
One night in the Underworld, she is shocked to find another living person. Orion is also a scion and the two of them have a lot in common. Can't say more without spoilers! Helen is touched and relieved when Orion offers to help her in her quest.
Meanwhile, Lucas is acting all broody and jealous, Claire and Cassandra worry that Helen's Underworld quest is slowly killing her, and someone close to Helen betrays her by teaming up with Automadon, a truly creepy new insect-villain. Will Helen manage to find the Furies, assuage their anger, and finally bring peace to the Houses? Or will she die trying?
Like Starcrossed, Dreamless is a big, sprawling, imaginative book. If you loved Starcrossed, I'm pretty sure you'll love Dreamless even more. You might have heard that a love triangle is introduced. Yes, that's true, but it is not the blatant-plot-device kind of love triangle or "all the cool kids are doing it" sort of love triangle but a real, honest-to-goodness romantic confusion. Poor Helen is trapped in a tangle of lies and lust that left me confused as to which guy I thought she should choose. I mean, I can't blame her for sending a bunch of flirty text messages to some new guy, since she was told that under no circumstances could she be with Lucas. Never-ever-ever. No matter what.
My favorite part of Dreamless were the Underworld scenes. (See "I am a huge mythology nerd" above.) That's a good thing, because Helen spends a lot of the book down there. Dreamless has even more action than Starcrossed, features some really scary villains, and introduces some new mythological figures. Loved all that!!
But Dreamless isn't all doom and gloom and romantic angst. The book has plenty of hilarity (a running joke about bed-wetter sheets) and some touching moments (the lonely Orion, the doomed Cassandra, the outcast Hector). Josephine Angelini is a wildly imaginative writer who has created a unique story world. I'm really looking forward to book three in this series!
Have you read Starcrossed? If not tell me about your favorite YA mythology book or your favorite myth in comments!
I have Starcrossed on my Kindle... I need to move it up my list. I need to take a vacation and do nothing but read. Even then, I won't make a dent in my tbr. Why can't people write crappy books? It would really save me a lot of time. And money, but that's beside the point.ReplyDelete
LOL --- why can't people write SHORTER books?Delete
I went away for a weekend, brought a ton of books, and all I was able to do was re-read Starcrossed and read Dreamless. I mean, that was a thousand pages, so it was a lot of reading, but my pile didn't go down at all!
I have read Starcrossed but I have already forgotten what lie Lucas' family told! Hopefully that will be shared again when I pick up Dreamless. I wasn't sure I was going to but now that I've read your review, I really want to meet this new guy (who sounds more my type than Lucas) and explore the Underworld.ReplyDelete
I know -- remembering all these plot lines is killing me. I'm pretty sure that the lie does come up in Dreamless, and a lot of readers were kind of ticked off about it, so if you look at reviews on Goodreads, you can probably find it.Delete
I did like the new guy a lot. I should have said that in the review. I think I liked him better than Lucas. Maybe.
So...I should stop what I am reading now and read Dreamless? I really want to read it now, but want to get some review books done.ReplyDelete
So I tweeted you already, but my advice is finish the review books. Cause Dreamless is really long. Nearly 500 pages. It took me the better part of a weekend to read it, and that included some Starcrossed review about which scions want to kill who and why.Delete
2 things. I have never read either of these books. No big deal but they sound like fun. The other...what does BTDT mean? I feel kinda old all of a sudden.ReplyDelete
Sorry, sometimes I think I make up my own slang. Been There, Done That.Delete
I have Starcrossed on my Kindle app but I haven't read it yetReplyDelete
I bought it on Kindle too, because I traded my ARC last year. Can't beat the 99 cents!!Delete
After reading Destined by Jessie Harrell I really like the Eros/Psyche myth. That is just such a cute, romantic story.ReplyDelete
Oooh, I need to read that one. Thanks for the tip!Delete
I absolutely loved Starcrossed! I read it shortly after it came out, and nearly died when I realised Dreamless wasn't coming out for nearly a whole year!ReplyDelete
As for recommendations? Caitlin has already mentioned Destined by Jessie Harrell (I really love the cover of this book) and I'm sure you've probably heard of the Mythos Academy series by Jennifer Estep... There's also Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton, Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman, Courtney Cole's Bloodstone Saga... I could probably go on forever, as I absolutely love mythology books and I try to read as many of them as I can.
I don't think The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber or Bull God by Roberta Gellis are strictly YA, but they're very 'clean' romances and they're quite enjoyable.
P.S. I received Of Poisedon in the mail a little less than a week ago, and I just finished reading it yesterday. I love, love, loved it (especially at the start when she smooshes her cheek into his chest), and I just want to say thanks again for giving me the chance to read such an awesome book :D
I know -- it's so hard to wait for second books!Delete
I put Destined on my list. Really like Jennifer Estep, and have not heard of some of the others you mentioned but I will check them out!
So glad you loved Of Poseidon!!!!!
I just bought Starcrossed for my Kindle for like .99 and I have an arc of Dreamless waiting on me as well! I'm going to star this in my Reader to check out after I read the first book in the series:)ReplyDelete
Let me know your thoughts when you are doneReplyDelete
There are so many strong parts to this story, but I have to say I am a sucker for well-drawn characters. Helen is so complete as a character, you really feel her emotions as you read the story. Helen is facing many different challenges as the story progresses, and one major factor is loneliness. Angelini creates moments for Helen, and in some cases Lucas, that are very real and in some cases painful. The emotion shines through the scene and grabs at your heart allowing you to relate to the character. Helen is strong but not without flaws making her relatable, and as she struggles with doing what she must, as a reader, you want to help her be successful, you may even yell at the book from time to time.ReplyDelete
It should be noted that there are a few new characters introduced, such as Orion, but they only add layers to the story. In some cases, familiar characters get new roles that serve to further the plot in an intriguing way. I don't want to give away any spoilers but a fair warning, you may find yourself frustrated by some of the characters, as the choices they make are not always the choices you want them to make.
I liked Helen too. And I like it when characters in a book do things I don't expect!Delete
I love star crossed and am about to read Dreamless! Can't wait!! Mythology books? My favourite series is the Percy Jackson series and it's amazing spin off Heroes of Olympus, I feel like the starcrossed books have stolen things from Percy Jackson sometimes aha! PJ is also about Greek Mythology and an incredible series as is HOO definitely recommend the books! I think I've re- read them all at least 10 times!!ReplyDelete