- Kiersten White, Author of Paranormalcy
Kiersten hits the nail on the head with her praise for Starcrossed, but I would emphasize the "dizzying" she mentions as the thing which sticks out most for me. I really enjoyed Starcrossed, but I'm walking away with my head spinning from information overload.
Helen has always known that she was different, but she exercised conscious effort into trying to be normal, in the hopes of ignoring the strange things she was able to do with ease. It's not until she learns that she is a demigod that she begins to embrace her abilities and show interest in learning how to control them. I really liked watching Helen's progression from a nervous and self-conscious teenager into a somewhat less-nervous, somewhat-less self-conscious and powerful demigod. I did wish that she had embraced her abilities more, but learning that she had been inflicted with a curse that caused her pain whenever her abilities were used in front of mortals really helped explain her hesitance. I loved that I could relate to her relationship with Lucas, especially when his mixed signals had her lying awake in bed, hurt and confused, but still hopeful that he cared - even a little - for her. It really helped with the continuity of her character that she found it hard to believe that Lucas could care for her (even once she found out that she herself was a demigod) because he was so devastatingly handsome. I loved that she had the strength to walk away from him, but it bothered me that she seemed completely unable to function without him when she did. Her complete dependence on Lucas was slightly unhealthy, but also slightly understandable considering she had only a few weeks to wrap her mind around what he had grown up with his entire life.
I loved Lucas, and how open he was with Helen. He tried to tell her things in pieces, so as not to completely overwhelm her, and for his consideration I adored him. But at the same time, I wish he had given Helen a better understanding of what she was getting herself in to, as the consequences might not have been so devastating had he warned her earlier. I wanted to strangle him when he was sending Helen all those mixed signals, but the hurt he experienced when she questioned him about his feelings for her had me forgiving him instantly. I had some issues with how controlling he seemed to be, like when he forced Helen to quit track for her safety, but I was reassured he was doing it for the right reasons when he gave up something in return. That he never asked her to do something he wouldn't (or didn't) do himself was refreshing, and he always explained the reasons behind asking (telling) her not to do something, rather then shrouding it in mystery, which only would have made it more tempting for Helen to go against his wishes. Their romance was developed slowly and I caught myself blushing with Helen a few times. Unlike many other YA romances I've read lately which have felt forced, I immediately felt the chemistry between Helen and Lucas and it was agonizing to watch them restrain themselves from doing nothing more then holding hands.
The supporting characters were all really well done as well. I loved Claire, even though she came off a little sadistic towards the end (I won't get in to any spoilers, I'll just mention the roof and you'll know what I mean if you've read the book!), as she had much more energy then her five-foot-two frame could hold. She was a little pit bull, always looking for a fight, and I just wish we had gotten to see her relationship with Jason develop a little more. Cassandra was cold and distant and so tragic - the destiny imposed on her as The Oracle is a burden not many could handle, but she accepted her purpose with fierce determination and strength. I loved how easy it was to see how much Hector valued his family, and how he risked everything to protect them; I'm really interested to see what happens to him as the series progresses. And I loved Noel and Jerry - their interactions with their families were so realistic, I felt like I was reading about my family when they were present; they made me feel warm, like I was home.
The plot moved quickly, and I found myself unable to put the book down, however I did find that the occasional shift of PoV was off-putting, as it happened without warning and for very brief periods of time. There were some small info-dumps, but as they were spread out over several conversations I was able to mostly ignore them. The amount of information and history provided was a little overwhelming though, especially for someone who is mostly ignorant of Greek mythology. I'm still a little confused over how the War was ended and how the families ended up being divided into four different houses - or why there's still a blood war. The Furies that caused Helen to feel so much rage and hate were so creepy, I may have nightmares about them, but I'm definitely interested to see Helen play out her role in the prophesy that would end the Furies' control over demigods. That being said, my only real issue with the plot is the glaring hole in Helen's ancestry. Again, I won't get in to details as I don't want to spoil anything, but when I did the math it just didn't add up. I just don't understand how the Delos family could so readily believe Daphnee, someone whom they thought had killed one of their own, without further proof.
Putting aside the few issues I had with Starcrossed, I really enjoyed reading it. The issues I had weren't big enough to take away from my enjoyment of reading, and I can see myself thinking back on this in the future, as there's a lot of questions left unanswered for the next book in the series, Dreamless.