When I wrote about Josephine Angelini’s Starcrossed earlier this week, I listed “Lack of Love Triangle” as being one of the many things in its favor. Because, really. Who among us is not suffering from Love Triangle Fatigue?
You know where this is going, right? Right: I should have kept my big trap shut.
My husband was outside—all the way across the yard even—and he still heard me shriek “DAMMIT!” when I realized that Angelini had introduced a love triangle in the sequel. Granted, the third node in the love triangle is Yet Another Dude Our Heroine Can’t Get With, but it’s still a love triangle.
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Any conversation about Dreamless will require some spoilers about Starcrossed, so consider yourself warned.
Recently, 16-year-old Nantucket resident Helen Hamilton discovered her true heritage—she’s a Scion, the descendant of a demigod. Like all Scions, she’s blessed with super-strength, rapid healing and beauty. As she’s the heroine of a paranormal romance, it doesn’t end there—even among the Scions, she’s superspecial: she can fly, she can shoot lightning bolts, she’s impervious to weapons while wearing Aphrodite’s magical cestus, and she has the Face. Yeah, that face. The one borne by her namesake, the one that Launched a Thousand Ships and caused the Trojan War.
All that, and she’s also the Descender. She’s the only one who can dream her way into the Underworld, and the only who might be capable of ending the blood feud between the four Scion Houses.
EVEN MORE, she’s in love with her cousin Lucas. Or, well, she’s under the impression that he’s her cousin. Someone in Starcrossed actually did the math and realized that they aren’t cousins, but then got murdered before telling anyone. (Why no one else has done the math since then, I don’t know.) But that’s moot, because even if they weren’t related, they couldn’t get with each other anyway, because that could bring about the Trojan War Redux.
Yeah, it’s complicated.
Twilight fans, what I said about the original book still stands: I’m wholeheartedly recommending this series to you. I’d have said that for the parallels in basic set-up alone—single father/only-child daughter; large family full of beautiful people with big personalities moves into a small town; star-crossed love connection between the two leads—but I think you’ll like it for more than that. Although the action moves the story right along, you’d probably keep reading for the impossible, unrequited love/desire (and hoo boy, considering the lack of...er, climax, it gets quite steamy at points) alone.
Twilight detractors, I have less pleasant news for you. First, the good: Helen continues to have far more personality—and to be far more badass—than Bella Swan. The updated mythology is a lot of fun, and Angelini’s writing continues to be stronger than Stephenie Meyer’s. While there are certainly plenty of instances of awkward prose, she doesn’t, for instance, overuse certain words. But, going in, you should prepare for plot points that hinge on characters not communicating, behavior that doesn’t track if you think about it too closely, and a lot of the emotions that are expressed via telling, rather than showing.
The bad news: In the first book, I gave Lucas’ protective streak a pass, since the entire Delos family took turns in guarding Helen’s house at night. In Dreamless, though, his behavior has gotten distinctly Edward Cullen-ish. Does he make decisions about their future without consulting her? Yup. Is he violently jealous? Yup. Does he leave her “for her own good”? Yup. Does he hurt her “to help her in the long run”? Yup. Does he sneak into her bedroom and watch her sleep? YUP. Yecch.
Despite that, I’m not-so-secretly dying for the next one. Because I rather suspect that Lucas of the “jewel blue eyes” might be slated to go Full-On Vader. Which would be loads of fun.
Let's be honest. If she isn't writing Bookshelves of Doom or doing her librarian thing, Leila Roy is most likely being tragically unproductive due to the shiny lure of Pinterest.