Monday, March 9, 2015

[Review] Dreamless (Starcrossed #2) - Josephine Angelini

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In DREAMLESS, demi-god Helen has to use her ability to descend into the Underworld to kill the Furies in order to stop all different demi-god families from wanting to kill each other.
What intrigued me: I've read the first novel.

Logic, what is logic?

After it has been revealed to our protagonist Helen that her love interest/ex-boyfriend is actually her cousin, they are both trying (and desperately failing) to keep a distance. Even though it's pretty obvious that she can't be the daughter of someone that died 19 years ago if she's 17, everybody rolls with it. Now here comes the actual problem: For the Delos family the quarrel isn't even that their son is heading for an incestuous relationship, but the actual problem is that if those two decide to have children, these children would cause the House of Theben and the House of Atreus to go extinct, because... the heir can only be claimed by one house.

It's very difficult to keep track of the different mythological objects and rules that Angelini brings into this. We have:
  • "The Face", which basically means looking like the steeped-in-legend Helen of Troy
  • "The Cestus of Aphrodite", which makes the wearer invincible
  • The concept of "blood guilt", which I don't fully understand until this day 
  • The "Twig of Aenas" which can only be used by a son of Aenas to descend into the Underworld without being a descender 
... and a bunch of other things that you have to keep in mind if you want to make sense of the story.
Angelini doesn't even bother to explain everything again in detail (which you always should in the second book if you've got so much complicated mythology!), which leaves you there pretty confused.
I was glad to have a little dictionary with characters and gods and all their traits at the end of the novel, which I really actively had to use to understand who's who and who's able to do what.

It's NOT a Twilight fan fiction anymore!

I had a hard time getting into DREAMLESS, especially because of the mythology. It's not easy to keep track of everything and you really have to think and remember everything that happens if you don't want to end up confused and angry. There's a lot of mythology that's not even accurate- or, let's say, different from the original lore. This does not mean that it's bad- Angelini just took a different spin on some of the things, which I encourage! I loved how she made Ares, the mighty God of War, a complete nutcase for example. Or Cerberus, who's usually a Dobermann or a Pitbull, a giant wolf.

I got the notion that in this one, the Starcrossed Series really stopped being just a Twilight fan fiction and started to become a story on its own. In the first novel the whole scion and blood shed issue just seemed like a bad excuse to justify the hot boy falling for the average shy girl. In the second, the characters grow and the plot lines start making sense in the bigger picture.
Even though I understood why Angelini made the decision to alternate between point-of-views, I would have loved some consistency. The main narrator still remains Helen, but there are sometimes random throw-ins from the POV of other characters. It all seems necessary and I fully understand why it makes sense to do it like this- still, either alternate consistently and go with multiple narrators from the start or make it a one-time-thing.




Overall: Do I Recommend?

I had a rocky start with DREAMLESS and after about seventy pages I even contemplated giving up because I didn't understand what's going on anymore. Maybe it's different if you've read the first one right before, but for me it was a struggle to push through. After about hundred pages it hit me and I was diving deep into the story and needing to know what happens next.

Additional Info:

Published: Mai 2012 
Pages: 512
Genre: YA / Fantasy / Mythology / Greek Mythology
ISBN: 978-3-7915-2626-3

"Can true love be forgotten?
As the only scion who can descend into the Underworld, Helen Hamilton has been given a nearly impossible task. By night she wanders through Hades, trying to stop the endless cycle of revenge that has cursed her family. By day she struggles to overcome the fatigue that is rapidly eroding her sanity. Without Lucas by her side, Helen is not sure she has the strength to go on.
Just as Helen is pushed to her breaking point, a mysterious new Scion comes to her rescue. Funny and brave, Orion shields her from the dangers of the Underworld. But time is running out. A ruthless foe plots against them, and the Furies' cry for blood is growing louder.
As the ancient Greek world collides with the mortal one, Helen's sheltered life on Nantucket descends into chaos. But the hardest task of all will be forgetting Lucas Delos."

Did you read the series and what did you think of it? 

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