Book Review: Dreamless
By Josephine Angelini
May 29, 2012
Reviewed: ARC from publisher
Was DREAMLESS, the follow up to the stellar story about Greek mythology and STARCROSSED lovers, Helen and Lucas, everything I’d hoped it would be? In many ways, yes, but in others, no. While an enjoyable read, especially when it comes to the mythological aspects of the book, Dreamless still fell slightly below my own expectations. This is not necessarily a bad thing for other readers, though, and let me tell you why…
Dreamless picks up right where Starcrossed ended. Helen, the only Scion who can enter the Underworld, embarks on a seemingly endless mission that leads her to the Underworld, night after night, in an attempt to stop the Furies who control the lives of all the Scions on Earth. In addition, she is dealing with the tragic news that was revealed to her and Lucas about their “relationship” in the previous novel. Little explanation is given as to the existing plot and the events of the previous book, so unless your memory is impeccable, the average reader may feel a bit “lost” for the first few chapters. Luckily, most of the story will come back to you after a few trips to the Underworld. The pace is almost frantic in nature, as one story-changing event occurs after another. So hold onto your horses, readers, you’re in for a fairly eventful ride.
It’s not long before new characters are introduced into the story, both Scion and God, or God-like. We meet the new “wrench” in the love story fairly early on in the book. As one who hates (hates hates hates) the love triangle “plot device”, there was one character who ruined my overall reading experience with Dreamless. That one character was ORION. I literally growled when he came onto the scene. I wanted the true and faithful love between Helen and Lucas to be left untouched. But of course he had to come along to mess things up. I wanted to hate him. And until I got to know him better, I certainly did hate him – with a vengeance. But for some reason he grew on me, and eventually I became just as confused as Helen. I wanted to love Lucas only. Sadly, there isn’t enough Lucas in this installment to make that possible. Plus, Josephine makes Orion such a likeable character, you can’t help but think, “Hey, here’s a guy who could make Helen happy, too.” I did not want to think that, and as a result, Dreamless was not the completely enjoyable read that I wanted it to be. That stupid “revelation” that came about in book one REALLY messes things up for our characters in book two. It also opens up the door to “other options” for Helen. It’s aggravating.
But that leads me to discuss Josephine’s writing style. She is obviously a master at evoking certain emotions in her readers. I am so insanely conflicted inside about the characters in this book that I feel like I absolutely must read the final chapter and as soon as possible, just to ease my current pain. On a higher note, her setting and the way she uses ancient mythology in her story are all very well done. I believed in her Underworld, I appreciated (and perhaps fell in love with) a few of her gods (especially Morpheus, god of the “dream world”).
For the mythology alone, DREAMLESS deserves a 5-star rating, but sadly, since my personal reading experience was dampened by the love aspects of the story, I must drag my rating down a notch. Hopefully things are pulled back “on course” in the final installment. It’s thrilling to try and guess how this one will end.
Plot: 8 (two points removed for the love triangle)
Characters: 7 (three points removed, two for the triangle and one for the lack of Lucas)
Setting: 10 (superb mythology and descriptions of the Underworld and Helen’s “dreams”)
Pacing: 9 (one point removed for the lack of exposition in the beginning)
Style: 8 (two points removed for the use of the love triangle and the beginning)