STARCROSSED (Starcrossed #1)
Paranormal Young Adult
Available tomorrow (May 31st)
Received for review via Kismet Book Touring
Helen Hamilton has lived on the island of Nantucket with her father for as long as she can remember. Though she seems to have a somewhat unnatural ability to run at great speeds, she's never given much thought to her fairly mundane life.
Mundane flies right out the window when she lays eyes on Lucas Delos, one member of the large new family that's moved to the island. Before she knows it, her entire past, present and future change with his arrival, as he brings with him the explanation for some of her oddities.
With his shocking revelations, Lucas also brings danger. Unbeknownst to her, Helen is part of an ancient feud between the Greek gods and mortals–a vital piece of the war in fact. As she learns more and more about her gifts and her family history, Helen finds herself undeniably attracted to Lucas though he makes every effort to keep her at a distance. He knows the Fates can be so very cruel, and what they have in store for Lucas and Helen will certainly shred hearts and destroy lives.
Gripping, haunting, and completely addicting, Starcrossed is one of those books where we try to set it aside after reading only a couple chapters in an attempt to keep us from finishing too quickly, but ultimately such actions are in vain as the lure of forbidden love proves to be more than we can resist. Even though we know from the title the road we'll be walking with Helen and Lucas will be neither smooth nor easy, we still can't help but be surprised at the clench in our guts and the pebbling of our skin as the strength of our emotional investment manifests itself physically. Ms. Angelini does a stunning job of building a relationship of beauty and tragedy, startling us with the intensity of Lucas and Helen's initial unexpected reaction to one another, and then slowly easing both us and our protagonists into a connection we know has the potential to wound all of us deeply. By the time we remember to put up our walls and keep our distance for the sake of our own fragile emotions, we find ourselves buried heart-deep in Lucas and Helen's story without even the slimmest chance of remaining indifferent.
In the beginning pages, Ms. Angelini starts laying the groundwork for a story that seems very familiar–setting us up carefully for the moment where Helen will inevitably meet one of the new boys causing a stir among all the girls at school, and we brace ourselves for that undefinable, instant passion. Soon that moment comes, the wind blowing unnaturally strong as the sea of students parts to reveal the stunning Lucas Delos to Helen's waiting gaze, and then...intense, inexplicable hatred. Just that quickly we experience a paradigm shift and everything we were prepared for is swept away in the tide of Helen's fury, leaving us unsure and off-kilter but vibrating with excitement at being so deliciously deceived. Without our conscious control, we start flipping the pages faster and faster in order to see what new direction the next unexpected current will toss us in.
Settling in after our preconceived notions as to where this story was headed have been shredded, we quickly come to see just how wide the chasm separating Lucas's beating heart from Helen's really is. Theirs is not a love that must overcome a mere prejudice, class difference, or emotional trauma, but rather one that, if continued, will result in epic repercussions and the perpetuation a cycle of feuding so destructive history tells of it in myths and legends meant as cautionary tales to us mere mortals. The Greek mythology element is beautifully integrated and is instrumental in creating a believable set of problems for Helen and Lucas, but into the familiar tales of well known events and individuals are infused brand new elements, creating an intimate investment on our part as the ancient chaos of god and goddess interference in human lives threatens a repeat performance.
The only minor complaint with this must-read story is the at times confusing nature of the stipulations to the Truce between the gods and the four Houses. There are so many details to keep track of in order to understand the effect the past has on the present as well as the different actions that will result in the dissolution of a crucial but fragile accord. Despite these questions, our involvement with characters and story remains passionate, hearts aching for people forced into an existence not of their making as they attempt to cope with the profound weight a bloody past has placed on each of them. While events are left unresolved, we are spared a jaw-dropping cliffhanger and given some semblance of a conclusion though we do read the last line with a sense of dread, knowing when we reach that final word we'll be left with nothing but our thoughts to keep us company during the wait for the next installment.
Be sure and stop by later in the week for my interview with Lucas and a very special giveaway!