Angelini’s gift really lies in the mythology she twists up to create this ginormous plot arc. The combination of classic Greek literature as the characters’ true history and the gods and goddesses that come into play make this story seriously riveting. It’s a tangle of Roman and Greek mythology that overlaps in a fascinating way. The Trojan War may be the focus, but there are so many players involved and they each have a piece of this story to make it dynamic and compelling. History repeats and clashes and choices are becoming more and more difficult for the slew of characters with their own destinies, their own hearts to follow.
Helen, the main character, has a purpose that’s almost too convoluted and wearing to handle. She’s a savior of sorts for a great many people, all of whom are directly and indirectly counting on the success of her Big and Dire Quest. Her purpose is terribly important and a heavy burden that begins to take a serious toll on her throughout the book. But it’s her journey into places so distant in myth come to life in a way that Angelini makes unique that gives the story a certain vibrancy. Her vivid escapades into various parts of mythological places are part of the reason Dreamless by Josephine Angelini is so engrossing.
And her purpose itself? It’s one of the driving forces of the plot, and at times we want to shake our heads at her decisions and at other times are bristling, bracing amid the ominous tone the story begins to take. The pacing is far more bearable than Starcrossed, and keeps things going at a nice, steady walk through the hell-raising events that follow.
~Favorite part isn’t the characters or romance~
Where Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini has problems with erratic pacing, last minute info-dumping, and half-trite, half-thrilling romance, Dreamless by Josephine Angelini is more subtle in all those areas. Because none of those elements are the focus of the story anymore. While I wish Angelini had provided a bit more recapping—as I’d forgotten a chunk of the plot in Starcrossed—Dreamless by Josephine Angelini isn’t overbearing in information—things are more fast-paced in that sense—and isn’t hindered by loads of recapping which can be all too common in sequels. This sequel feels like a build-up, full of slow-burn tension and arising problems that snowball into some looming terrifying darkness.
War is coming, and everyone is scrambling to make things better in Dreamless by Josephine Angelini in order to prevent it from happening. Fate has other ideas and it seems like every turn and compromise and sacrifice the characters make are overruled by what’s already been written in destiny, which makes the story read a lot like the typical Greek tragedy. And with the characters sometimes making *face-palm* decisions, that holds even more true. Angelini’s tales feel like I’m reading a set-in-modern-day Greek classic, and that’s where I can gush over the book.
There are so many nods to the original myths, yet Angelini leaves her own distinct mark, refuting some of the greats’ literature and backing up others to braid her intricate twisting plot. Ominous vibes are pouring out of this installment to worry and incite real fear for the characters. Death can collect so many when war finally erupts.
~Whatever happened to Lucas and Helen?~
Even though I didn’t totally dig the romance between Lucas and Helen (I’m totally crushing on Hector instead, although I’m glad he’s not into Helen. There’d be some serious body-crushing otherwise *cracks knuckles*), I liked it. It added a certain sweetness and lightness to the story while tempered with thrilling chemistry and whatnot. With the revelations revealed in Starcrossed, which are quite fresh in everyone’s mind (how do you forget a detail LIKE THAT?), their budding relationship has taken a serious gash to the stem. The roots are still there, but they’re suffering every day. The characters’ anguish, while not totally tangible, helps bring on more of the gloom and doom.
Luckily for us, there are other places for romance to flutter. Twins Ariadne and Jason fall in love as quickly and identically as when they were born together. Ariadne has Matt, geekizoid turned major hunk thanks to a few of their extracurricular activities, but he’s too stupid to realize it, and Jason has Claire, Helen’s pint-sized, tough and strong bff, but is constantly flickering between utter devotion and reluctance for various reasons. It seems no one in this series can fall in love without SERIOUS, and I do mean serious, repercussions.
Which brings me to Orion, tall, muscular hunkattack who looks like Adonis himself and is a bit of a sweetheart, I must admit. A tortured soul, indeed. Hello, love triangle. (You weren’t welcome, but I can see the appeal.) His job is to uninvite himself along Helen’s quest and help her figure out a way to make a breakthrough. Their road isn’t easy, and especially perilous with him in the picture, but they engage in a friendship that definitely has its moments. Their banter is fun and all the secret-swapping had me softening. Poor Lucas, all lonely in the corner while Helen gets to explore worlds beyond with the aforementioned hunkattack. Oh, the drama.
~Excited for the third book?~
Here's the deal. I don’t particularly need the third sequel in Angelini’s Starcrossed series. Dreamless by Josephine Angelini is thick with tension and brewing chaos. Gods and goddesses of the minor variety are beginning their havoc a little early on the regularly scheduled program, which makes for some interesting fights—and I LIVE FOR WARRING AND COMBATTING, especially with supernatural, all-powerful entities. And I do love Hector. Like, fangirl-squeeing, t-shirt-wearing, tattoo-scrawling love, but there’s just a certain umph missing from the story altogether, unfortunately.
Helen’s third-person narration is a major drawback. It isn’t that I don’t like her, but I find no enjoyment in her perspective. I don’t see any wowing qualities or understand her overall appeal. There’s this unexplainable distance there that doesn’t keep me very interested in her for long. I’m hoping in the next book she’ll kick a lot of butt and I can start really admiring her. She makes a lot of frustrating decisions in Dreamless by Josephine Angelini that don’t work in her favor.
I need more from this over-arching story to be truly amazed so that I can work myself into frenzy over the next book. There’s a distance I need evaporated before I can fall in love, but I'm still excited!
Originally posted at Paranormal Indulgence, 5/23/12
And I too think Hector is the best character in this series!