Well, I finished it. I finished Starcrossed much to my disbelief. I decided not to do a mini review for the last three chapters mainly because those last three chapters I couldn’t make much sense of them. Really, it felt like the book got on an acid trip. So, now I’m going to write my final review. I should warn you if you’re a fan of the book you’re not going to like this at all. This book left a horrible taste in my mouth worse than Halo or Hades combined and if you read this blog or my reviews regularly you know how I feel about those books.
General Summary: So essentially this is what you need to know. Take Twilight add demigods stir and take lots of sips of booze and try to tolerate.
This is really hard. I want to be nice, but I know this isn’t going to be nice. I hated this book. I guess I’ll talk about the good things first because I want to at least give some positive aspect to this otherwise very negative review.
The good things: the covers. I have the UK cover and while it’s a little cheesy I found it to be somewhat gorgeous. The US cover is gorgeous as well. While the image is a little strange I did enjoy the shiny affect it had to be interesting.
Also, the premise seems pretty cool as well. Greek demi gods. The Trojan War. The concept alone makes you want to read the book and sort of explains the otherwise unexplained seven figure advance that being said this book had lots of problems.
Characterization. Horrible just horrible. I’ll talk about this more in detail later on. But I wondered whether if this was because of the point of view. I’m usually not a fan of third unless it’s in a Melissa de la Cruz book (for some reason I prefer her third person series to her first, but that’s besides the point). However, the more I thought about it I was glad it was written in first person. Thinking about hearing Helen’s inner monologue makes me inwardly shutter. I get that the girl hates bangs, but I can only imagine what sort of stuff she’d be talking about if I had to here her diatribes throughout the entire novel. Oh, wait I bet I could make some predictions on this:
- She’d talk about sandwiches and gourmet food and then inform us that she didn’t eat anything becuase she was nervous.
- She’d talk about her father and how he’s a great dad. And then we’d hear about how he ignores her while he watches some sort of sports game on ESPN or whatever.
- She’d talk about how beautiful Lucas was and how she wants to kill him.
- She’d mope about not having a mom
In other words she’d talk like this:
And okay, we do see a lot of these things in third, but it’s a lot better than hearing it in first. At least I think it is. The one really annoying thing about having this book in third besides the excess description about food is the shift in third person. For most of the book we’re in Helen’s point of view but two thirds of the way the book shifts to Creon and later Lucas and Daphne’s perspectives without so much as a section break. This makes the book feel rather clunky and disjointed.
Though I guess it doesn’t help matters that the book in the first place was horribly paced. I swear, a good third of the book could’ve been cut out and nothing would’ve been lost. There were unnecessary long passages about Helen’s daily routine, descriptions, irrelevant info dumps, or conversations that should’ve been cut out. At the same time, there were parts of the book that needed to be expanded on to make sense. Honestly, the last fourth of the book felt rushed because of this.
And rushed isn’t good my friends.
I also felt like because the plot was so cramped because of the pacing. Ands the pacing affected a lot of the characters and their reactions. As I previously mentioned character development was weak to begin with. But some of their reactions to the situations that are going on just don’t make sense. Take Helen’s best friend, Claire, who just accepts the fact that Helen is different because she tried to kill her when she was seven and…just accepts it.
That’s what I found myself having to do. Accepting a lot of things that just didn’t make sense. I’m not even going to go off on the subject about the Delos family themselves and how Helen or her mother never encountered them when they used to live on the island. Or for that matter the portrayal of Nantucket itself.
Or the fact that there were several plot points that were were thrown in there and solved haphazardly. It’s not worth my sanity.
To sum up my feelings for this book: I think it suffered from poor execution on both the author and editor’s part. I do think Angelini had a lot of good ideas but she didn’t know exactly how to put them on her paper and her editor didn’t man up or was on a deadline.
Best Feature: Interesting Concept. I liked the whole Troy idea and I did think some of the things that Angelini talked about could’ve been cool but the execution was just horrible. Power down Helen a bit and cut down two hundred or so pages (a.k.a. take out references about how Helen is gorgeous and hates bangs) and we might be in business.
Worst Feature: Characterization. There were a lot of problems in this book, but if I had to pinpoint what made it god awful was it’s characterization. Heck, two of the mini reviews essentially focused on this aspect of the book.
If you didn’t read the mini reviews and don’t plan on reading them let me sum up what Helen is-a freaking Mary Sue. Seriously, I think Angelini purposely took a Sue test online and tried to get the highest score possible and more than likely she succeeded Because I don’t even think Superman or for that matter Power Girl (who for you non-comic geeks is Superman’s kryptonite resistant cousin from another world) are as powerful as Helen.
Here’s the thing, people like flawed characters. Characters that struggle, who are a little unsure of themselves, and who make mistakes and have to deal with the consequences. Helen does known of these things. Oh, she makes mistakes but they’re easily swept under the rug or ignored. Like she doesn’t want to learn to fight. And you know what, there’s little consequences for this because she’s freaking invincible.
Keeping with the super hero analogy, do you know that most people prefer Batman to Superman? You want to know why? It’s because Batman is a more developed character. I mean, I think Dean Cain did a fairly nice job of developing Clark Kent in Lois and Clark the New Adventures of Superman (he’s actually my favorite Superman-weird, I know), but for the most part Supes is sort of a stiff. He’s this guy who has these amazing powers and that’s about it. Until recent years (aka Cain’s performance), Clark Kent was pretty undeveloped too. With Batman/Bruce Wayne there’s a backstory there (his parents being killed in front of him) and he had to actually work at becoming the world’s greatest detective. To sum it up, Batman is more relatable than Superman is because of his flaws and backstory. With Helen we get a Superman all powers and no struggle. It makes the story a little less than interesting. And the sad thing is, nothing about any of the other characters helps the story either.
All of them are flat and unrealistic. The love interest is banal. Though there are times he seems just a tad bit abusive if that gives him character (I think not). Honestly, when it came to Lucas’s family I forgot who was who for the most part. But I guess it really doesn’t matter much since all of them are suppose to be archetypes. Yep, archetypes. Their life is essentially destined for them because of their names and how they look like. Can you say self fulfilling prophecy much? And if you don’t know Greek mythology this book is going to be confusing. Heck, I was one of those nerdy kids in high school who leafed through her copy of Edith Hamilton’s Mythology and I found a lot of these characters and their types confusing. Like Creon. The Creon that I’m used to is the confused ruler in Antigone whose arrogance causes a lot of problems for his kingdom but he’s not a full blown psycho. You know what this Creon is like: Golem. Yes, Golem as in Lord of the Rings Golem.
Appropriateness: No. No freaking way would I let my child read this. There were several things I found about this book to be inappropriate. But if we’re going to look at it purely from an objective standard the cussing is minimal and there are sexual references made. That being said, I thought the book was very demeaning towards women in general. For example, a character in the book was said to be off her rocker primarily because she’d never hit puberty. Furthermore, it’s said that becuase of this she’ll grow into a cold and bitter creature. In other words, you need a man and baby to be well of mind and body (gag me now). Then there’s this little beauty of a quote:
“He had sworn to remove the feminine evil of the cestus form the world so that all men, Scion and mortal alike, could finally control their lust.” (Angelni 468).
Okay, I know that this quote is said by a villain and it’s in his point of view but this quote just pisses me off. It’s essentially reaffirming the old myth that it’s a women’s fault that men have urges. Um, no. No. Just control yourself, buddy. I’ll have you know that urges isn’t an excuse in a US court of law (we learn that pretty quick in Crim Law). And I wish I could say that this quote was the only anti-feminist shit that appeared in this book. But there was also talk about the virginity. And how essentially the first person you have sex with you’re married too.
Look, I get the whole waiting before marriage thing. And I get that your first time is important. And I get that you’re trying to present this idea in a historical context. But sex is sex. Essentially what you’re saying is that even if the sex didn’t mean anything or was a violation your’e married. Do you realize how twisted that sounds? It doesn’t help matters that at one point our hero jokingly tells our heroine that he’ll kill any guy who takes her virginity or who has sex with her.
Yeah, like me right now you probably want to get drunk.
Blockbuster Worthy: This book might work on film if there were major revisions done to it. Here’s who I’d cast.
Helen: Is Barbie available because that’s who Helen is suppose to look like. Well, I guess if she’s not available maybe Nikki Reed can play the role. She played Rosalie in those Twilight movies and I sort of imagine Helen looking like Rosalie except prettier because you know Helen is like the prettiest person on Earth ( once again, gag me).
Lucas: Ethan Peck. Because there needs to be some eye candy to make this role tolerable.
Overall Rating: No stars. I had to give it a rating on Good Reads and honestly I felt bad about giving this book even one star. I don’t like it. The only reason I’m even tempted to read the sequel is just to see if things remotely get better (I doubt it will). It’s worse than Halo. It makes me like Bethany Church, but you know that’s not what gives it the zero stars. It’s that it could’ve had so much potential if Angelini would’ve known how develop her characters and not annoy me and if the editor’s cut about two hundred pages. Seriously, the fact that this excuse of a book had potential terrorized me more than anything else about it.
Angelini, Josephine. Starcrossed. New York: HarperTeen, 2011.