After reading multiple books this year that rival the telephone book in terms of length, I decided to return to my completely unironic love of teen fantasy fiction. I needed some quick and dirty reads that wouldn’t make me think too hard.
Disclaimer: There is plenty of teen fantasy fiction out there that will make one think hard, but this is not the sort I was going for at the time.
I got Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini from my sweet new job at the local library. And can I just take a second to say how awesome this job is? I have access to so much trashy crap… Not that I didn’t before, but now that I have to be there 3-4 days a week, I’ll be less inclined to spend money on this stuff.
Anyway, I’m amazed Angelini isn’t getting her ass sued by both Stephanie Meyer and Rick Riordan. Starcrossed is basically Twilight, except instead of a sexy vampire family moving into an isolated town, the sexy family is one of Greek demigods. And Starcrossed’s Bella Swan is Helen Hamilton, a demigod herself, the reincarnation of Helen of Troy, literally cursed into shyness and obscurity by her own absentee demigod mother.
It’s been difficult for me to develop any solid opinion about this book because I felt like I was reading the unholy product of Percy Jackson’s statutory rape by vampire Bella Swan. Everything felt recycled. Even the Delos family dynamic matched the Cullens – they both have the caring parental figures (Carlisle and Esme and Castor and Noel), the beefy older brother (Emmet and Hector), the uber sexy older sister (Rosalie and Ariadne), the clairvoyant younger sister (Alice and Cassandra), the other brother who’s just kind of there but doesn’t do a lot (Jasper and Jason). Of course we can’t forget the Edward of the group – broody, sexy, Lucas.
Instead of instinctual bloodlust keeping Helen and her soul mate apart, we at first have the Furies. Due to a contrived retcon of the Trojan War, demigods of different Houses are now hardwired to kill each other on sight and since Helen and Lucas come from different Houses, they first try to murder each other, but through another half baked plot device it turns out that in the process of trying to murder each other, they save each other’s lives and are now free of this kill drive and able to fall in love. But remember that Trojan War retcon? The reason the demigods are hardwired to kill each other is because if the demigod Houses ever unite, the Gods themselves will come back and murder them all to death. It is assumed that Helen is the last demigod that doesn’t belong to the Delos family’s House, so if she and Lucas ever, you know, do it, the Gods will consider that marriage and kill everyone.
So, we have another steamy volume of abstinence porn with a main character not quite as spineless as Bella, but still not her own person either. Helen comes to depend on Lucas so much that she’s still nothing but a wet, puffy, boyfriendless mess whenever they discover another obstacle to their love. And Lucas is a jealous weirdo who doesn’t trust Helen to do her own thing or be her own person. I disliked Lucas and didn’t feel Helen had enough personality for me to really care much about her at all.
In all fairness, the last 70 or so pages of the book got a little exciting and I’ll probably cave and read the next volume when it comes out. But even for an easy read, I couldn’t get too invested in Starcrossed because I felt like I’d already been down this road before and it wasn’t so great the first time either. Hey Bella, you better find a place to stash that Camp Halfblood t-shirt before Edward gets home.