3 stars · fiction · romance · young adult

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini


author : josephine angelini

pages : [hardcover] 487

memorable quote : You’ve got the killer instincts of a houseplant.

favorite characters : claire & jason

summary :

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.

review :

This book had a really interesting premise! I’ve been really into fairy tale retelling or tales dealing with mythology lately and this was a book that caught my eye a while ago. I finally had the chance to pick it up! Unlike other books I’ve read, this one alludes to the story of Helen of Troy. Our main character, appropriately named Helen, knew she was always different but never knew just how different until the Delos family came into town. That was where some of the originality of the tale went downhill. There were so many great things that could have happened from this idea-feuding families, starcrossed lovers, the works-and I feel like it was all dumbed down to be the teen novel every author seems to think will become a big hit now.

That said, my disappointment didn’t make me completely hate the book. I’m still really invested in the series and now I want to see how everything pans out. I’m hoping that Helen will gain a little more courage and a lot more sense. I’m hoping everyone will stop creeping outside her window. Yes, this is one of those books where boys watching girls while they sleep is glorified instead of made creepy under the pretense of keeping them safe. It kind of felt like this premise was dulled down because everything that’s considered a hit in the YA book industry right now was written into the plot.

There were also some things in this book that didn’t make sense to me, like the fact that nobody noticed people (I won’t say who) flying around the island. At night, okay, I’ll give them that, but they did it in broad daylight! Taking off and landing at houses! Do they not understand how high up people can see these people coming down from the sky and then get a little curious?

Overall, there were little things about this book that I liked. The minor characters did a lot more for me than the major ones. I really liked the ending and some of the fight scenes. And I’m definitely going to read the second book, just to see what happens and see if it all gets better.

3/5 stars

3 stars · Fantasy · fiction · romance · young adult

Discord’s Apple by Carrie Vaughn

Discord’s Apple

author : carrie vaughn

pages : [hardcover] 299

favorite characters : evie & sinon

memorable quote “Have you thought about going insane?” It would seem like a reasonable thing to do, given his circumstances.

“Did once. Got boring, so I snapped out of it.”

summary :

When Evie Walker goes home to spend time with her dying father, she discovers that his creaky old house in Hope’s Fort, Colorado, is not the only legacy she stands to inherit. Hidden behind the old basement door is a secret and magical storeroom, a place where wondrous treasures from myth and legend are kept safe until they are needed again. The magic of the storeroom prevents access to any who are not intended to use the items. But just because it has never been done does not mean it cannot be done.

And there are certainly those who will give anything to find a way in.

Evie must guard the storeroom against ancient and malicious forces, protecting the past and the future even as the present unravels around them. Old heroes and notorious villains alike will rise to fight on her side or to undermine her most desperate gambits. At stake is the fate of the world, and the prevention of nothing less than the apocalypse. In the same month, along with this all-new hardcover, Tor will publish a new novel in Carrie Vaughn’s popular, New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series featuring werewolf talk radio host, Kitty Norville. Kitty Goes to War will be the eighth book in this successful mass market series.

review :

I was really excited to start reading this book because I loved the concept so much! There is an untold amount of mythology involved in this book from the Trojan War, to Greek gods, to fairy tales, and King Arthur! I didn’t know that so much would be involved when I started reading and that immediately addicted me to the story. Carrie Vaughn has a fantastic storytelling style that seems perfectly fit to the legends and old tales that she incorporated into her novel. Yet I feel like it was really missing something, despite all of the corresponding elements that I usually love to see in books.

While there were several great ideas presented in the book, it started to jumble together as the reader is brought through the modern day, as well as individual tales about Evie’s ancestors and how they dealt with the storeroom, and the story of Sinon’s past. It felt like there were several different book ideas conflicting throughout the majority of the book because it was just too much to take in all at once and these great, wonderful ideas Vaughn presents rarely have the chance to reach their full potential because they are fighting against other plotlines to gain enough focus to be seen through to the end.

That was something that really bothered me. Not even the modern-day lines seemed to go anywhere and the ending didn’t help that at all. I went and looked to see if there was a sequel to this or any kind of companion in the works but, no, this is it and I wasn’t satisfied with it. I’d recommend reading this just for the beautiful writing and the stories; it’s enough to spark the imagination and be thought of fondly, but with the confusingly large set of characters that go largely unexplored and the potential that is wasted, this would-be favorite of mine has been turned into a simply okay novel, nothing more.

I really hope to read more by Vaughn, though, just because of her beautiful writing style, and I hope that perhaps in her other novels her ideas come through more completely and in a more satisfying manner.

3/5 stars