I don't even know what to say. I absolutely loved Starcrossed and this book was just a mess. Angelini knows how to slowly reveal the plot in her books and instead in this one we had way too much going on with no time to really absorb anything and mashup of steampunk and I think Native American influences that really don't work together. Unlike with Starcrossed with focused on Greek mythology, I think this first book in the trilogy was trying to combine way too many elements and was not able to make it cohesive.
The main character in this story, Lily Proctor, is a fairly typical teen living in Salem, Massachusetts. Only a few things mar her life so far. Her mother is crazy, her father has abandoned her and her sister Juliet to dealing with their mom, and Lily is sick all of the time. After years of seeing doctors no one knows what causes Lily's sickness, she just has never felt a part of things unless she is with her childhood best friend Tristan. After finally getting what she has always wanted (a relationship with Tristan) things go sideways for Lily with her saying yes to something that she doesn't realize is going to cause a lot of complications for her. Waking up in another world she finds that she is in a different version of Salem where magic and witches are quite common.
So starting with the characters, Lily is 100 percent a Mary Sue. I know a lot of readers are not done for characters like that (I am not either) and this book was just even more of a mess because of what starts happening with Lily.
Lily though she thinks she is ordinary and not really beautiful is of course thought beautiful by people who see her.
Lily is someone the strongest person ever.
Lily has several boys falling in love with her at first sight. Another character hates Lily because she is jealous of her.
I could go on but I am not.
In this other world we have Lily's version who is known as The Witch, Lillian. Is it wrong to say that I liked Lillian? She wasn't putting up with anyone's crap and she is really powerful. We just don't get to know enough about this character at all in this book. She does thing and seems like a crazed dictator. There are hints here and there that what she is doing is for the good of all, but I assume readers are going to have to continue to book #2 and #3 for that.
The love interests in this book were tiresome. Yeah I said it. The Tristan that inhabited Lily's world was a world class douche. How she didn't see that was surprising to me since she should have realized how he was. The Tristan in the other world was just a blank space. Seriously.
The other love interest, Rowan, no. I was tired of his shtick a good 25 percent into the book. And I really didn't get how Lily was supposedly falling for him when he was threatening a good majority of the time.
The other characters were paper thin and not really interesting to say the least. We just had a lot of people scrambling around for power with Lily getting caught up in their mess and her wanting to go home and then wanting to help even when it's revealed she is getting played. FYI, I didn't find Lily to be too smart.
What could have been interesting going into another world where the same people that Lily knows exist could have been great, but ugh. No part of that really worked for me. I think that the issue is that as I already said that Angelini would have been better to focus on a particular culture or myth or something to hang her hat on in this first book. There was too much going on. I would just call this steampunk lite because nothing really makes sense. We had a lot of explanations going on regarding energy and all and my brain shut off because it was bored.
Angelini tries to explain how people's powers work in this world and man oh man everything fell flat. Doing information dumps via people's dialogue is not my favorite thing in the world, but it could have worked if it hadn't been so clumsily done. And reading about how everyone has magic, though only one person can be a witch and so called "mechanics" yeah no, I was completely done.
The writing was just not there this time for me that much. We didn't have a lot of angsty thank God, but we did have a lot of people in each other's heads having conversations and Lily able to feel certain people and I don't know once again I was just bored. The flow was pretty terrible in this book at times. I don't know what happened though. The first part of the book prior to Lily crossing over was really good and I was interested, and then the book just lost itself and the pacing never got fixed. We either had way too many quick scenes or scenes that went on forever.
The setting of the world that Lily crosses over too was not set up that great. I wish that we had been given more insight into what things looked like. We got descriptions of people's clothes and all of that, but it was driving me crazy that I had no idea what certain people looked like.
The ending was just a setup to the next book in the series. I don't know how that is going to go. I am tempted to read the second book, just to see what happens to Lily and to see if Angelini is able to pull this book back together.