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Review of Dreamless by Josephine Angelini

Updated on June 4, 2012

Dreamless by Josephine Angelini

I'll start out by saying that this review does contain mild spoilers so read on at your own risk.

Secondly, this particular book is the second book in a fantastic trilogy titled Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini. It would behoove you to read Starcrossed, the first book, in order to better understand the plot in Dreamless. Though you might be wondering why I am only posting a review of Dreamless instead of writing about Starcrossed first, it's simply because it's been several months since I've read Starcrossed. And also, I just literally finished reading Dreamless so I wanted to review this while it was still fresh in my mind.

Having said that, after I finished reading Starcrossed, I was impatient and clamoring to read Dreamless to find out what would happen to Helen and the Delos clan. I feared that the second book wouldn't live up to the standards of the first but I needn't have worried. The author, Josephine Angelini, did not disappoint in delivering an incredible sequel. In Dreamless, the action is ramped up, there's even more romance in the form of a triangle with Helen, Lucas and Orion. There is much more emphasis placed on the Olympian gods and Angelini's view of the Underworld as Hades's domain is both chilling and fascinating.

But let me back up a little. The Starcrossed trilogy offers a fresh take on Greek mythology and demigods. Helen Hamilton, the main character and heroine of the novels, is a Scion, as well as Lucas Delos and Orion (no last name is given), her two love interests. A Scion is a descendant of a Greek god and a mortal parent. Not only that but Scions don't look anything like their mortal parents. Scions happen to look just like famous Scions of long ago. They are born looking exactly like the historical figure the Fates have destined that Scion to model his or her life after. This is important because Helen's face is identical to a beautiful and famous face, the Face that launched a thousand ships and started the Trojan War. If you're thinking of Helen of Troy, you are exactly right. If you remember studying the Iliad and the Odyssey by Homer, you'll remember that according to the story, Helen fell in love with Prince Paris, son of King Priam of Troy. However, this was a problem since Helen was married to Menelaus, king of Sparta. The story goes that Paris abducted Helen and took her back to Troy, prompting the Greeks to assemble a massive army led by Agamemnon (Menelaus's brother) to reclaim Helen. This led to the Trojan War, said to be one of the most brutal wars ever fought.

The Starcrossed trilogy plays on that myth and uses it in fresh, new ways. For example, Helen of Troy is depicted as selfish woman that played with men's feelings. The fact that the heroine of Dreamless is named Helen is shocking because a character compares it to a Jewish man being named Adolf Hitler. It's basically a big no-no to name a Scion Helen.

To briefly summarize the plot of the first and second book, Scions are split up into four houses, which are the four different bloodlines of Scions: House of Rome, House of Atreus, House of Thebes and House of Athens. Each house is driven to kill the other because of a blood feud dating all the way back to the Trojan War. The three Erinyes, or Furies, force Scions of opposing houses to kill each other to pay a blood debt that Scions owe their ancestors. One character describes it as a "a vicious cycle, blood for blood for more blood."

Helen Hamilton is an exceptionally strong Scion and what they call The Descender. The Descender alone has the power to descend into the Underworld without dying. She alone has the power to lift the curse of the Furies and to stop the senseless killing. In Dreamless, the majority of the book is devoted to Helen trying to end the curse of the Furies. However, she faces daunting obstacles in her quest to succeed because otherwise, what would a plot be without some action?

I found Dreamless to be even more fascinating than Starcrossed because it described more of the Furies, their curse, and the Underworld. Angelini did a fantastic job explaining some of the Greek legends and spinning them so that they fit the story nicely. Her depiction of Ares was both unsettling and terrifying. Suffice it to say, I would not want to meet Ares in a dark alley or anywhere at all, really. Angelini also cranked up the action and I literally cringed at some of the things that poor Helen had to suffer in the Underwold. The romance was also nicely done and also cranked up as well. Angelini created such a likable character in Orion that I felt torn as to who I wanted Helen to end up with: Lucas or Orion? My inability to decide which boy I preferred is a testament to how well Angelini created the love triangle.

All in all, this is an exhilarating, riveting, and gripping take on Greek mythology. You don't have to be a teenager to enjoy this novel. In fact, I'm 24 years old and I haven't been as excited for the next installment in the series since the Hunger Games trilogy! If you haven't yet, I would definitely check out the Starcrossed trilogy. If you've already read Starcrossed, then go pick up Dreamless right now. You won't be sorry! :)

I found this on the author's blog. She posted this picture, imagining this to be the fierce and tough Helen in Dreamless.
I found this on the author's blog. She posted this picture, imagining this to be the fierce and tough Helen in Dreamless. | Source
The author posted this picture on her blog as well, imagining this to be the shy Helen from the first book.
The author posted this picture on her blog as well, imagining this to be the shy Helen from the first book. | Source

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