Secrets of the Starcrossed
by Clara O’Connor
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 21 Jan 2021 | Archive Date 25 May 2021
HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter, One More Chapter
Secrets of the Starcrossed is the first novel in the epic The Once and Future Queen fantasy series by Clara O'Connor.
An absolute must-read for fans of The Hunger Games…
In a world where the Roman Empire never fell, two starcrossed lovers fight to ignite the spark of rebellion…
Londinium, the last stronghold of the Romans left in Britannia, remains in a delicate state of peace with the pagan kingdoms that surround it. Within its mighty walls defiance means death and capital punishment is decreed by public vote.
As the only daughter of a powerful merchant, Cassandra is betrothed to Marcus, the most eligible bachelor in the city and the last scion of the Old Blood.
But then she meets Devyn, the boy with the strange midnight eyes searching for a girl with magic in her blood. A mythical guardian from an ancient Celtic kingdom with a debt to pay to a Northern lord…
A boy who will make her believe in soulmates.
When a mysterious virus rips through the slums leeching the life from citizens with Celtic power lying dormant in their veins, the imperial council hide behind locked doors, scheming. But the question remains: is magic the cure or the curse?
Panem meets the Grishaverse in this explosive new YA trilogy perfect for readers of Marie Lu, Bella Forrest, and Cassandra Clare.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 286 members
I came to this book with no preconceived views about what a YA book should be or what Celtic legend and myth should contain and read it at face value. As a result I thought it was a real triumph of world building with immense detail and so well thought out. I loved the concept of the Roman Empire clinging on to Londinium against a backdrop of the wildlands beyond and noted the satirical nod to how London still dominates our economics and politics. I also loved the hints of Tudor history, the Wars of the Roses mixed in with a touch of Arthurian legend and the mystery of Cassandra's blood line. I also enjoyed the development of her character from idle, frivolous product of the code to her growing awareness and realisation that every aspect of her life and those of others is controlled by the rulers of the city and her increasing dismay when she realises that everything in her life has been pre-ordained by the powers that be, even the repression of her magic. I really like that there's still so much to discover about Cassandra and that we haven't learned everything in the first book. I felt that the sense of unrequited love with Devyn and the yearning for him was particularly well done and I also like the growing understanding between her and Marcus. There were plenty of twists and turns in the plot and I raced through this story desperate to know what happens. In fact I might confess to uttering a little wail of disappointment at the cliff hanger ending. I for one will definitely be waiting for Book 2. A thoroughly enjoyable read, with an interesting premise and fabulous, detailed world building that completely drew me in. Five stars from me.
This is how you kick off a trilogy!! Great world building and an exciting story mean that I'm definitely hyped to read the rest of the story! If you're looking for an engaging story for the colder nights this is It!
The description of this book caught me first. What if the Romans won and the brittons were cast out. The romans live by a high moral code, surrounded by tech that constantly monitors them to suggest their next purchase. The Britons And celts live outside the main walled city’s and use magic which Is forbidden in the city’s. the main character becomes involved with a mysterious boy who is looking for a lost person and all starts to unravel for our mc. Whilst I found myself guessing things the mc overlooked I still found this an entertaining read. The descriptions and the mc’s thought process were sometimes too drawn out, but the plot still progressed. I did on occasion have to re-read between chapters as they did not seem to flow at time’s, making me feel I had missed something. Over all I will be looking for the next book as I’d like to see where this goes!!
Review of The once and future queen. First off I would just like to thank Claire and Harper Collins One More Chapter for sending me a copy of this book. The once and future queen is a dystopian adventure of Arthurian fantasy and forbidden romance, and I was super excited to read it. I was fascinated by the idea of forbidden star crossed lovers lovers and an alternative history - taking place in an alternative future. If I’m to be completely honest I struggled to get into the book at the beginning. I wasn’t overly sure on the set up, main character or the fact it was written in first person. However, I soon got over that and started to really enjoy it. I struggled to put the book down, and was constantly wondering what was going to happen next - there was mystery and twists in this book, which makes you just want to read it more. I found the world building was done very well, the author has created a world for you to be sucked into, everything was described beautifully and created a vivid picture of the story. I also really enjoyed the connections between the three main characters. I personally thought that Cass was a little bit naive, although I liked her character as a whole, she definitely has some growing room. Devyn is great but I definitely need to know more about him - I would of enjoyed some of his perspectives. Marcus was an excellent character and I feel he was the most developed. You knew everything about him, and felt for him at certain points of the book. I loved that by the end of the book he was trying to help Cass and Devyn escape - I’m thinking maybe a love triangle happening? I can’t wait to read the next book to find out what happens, it ended on such a good cliff hanger. I feel that if you are a fan of the hunger games, you’ll enjoy this book. (it has similar elements) Just a side note - I really enjoyed the fact hat there was a map in the front of the book. As well as the author adding a guide to Londinium and a question and answer page at the back.
A great opening to a new series.A fantasy world at its best a layering of intriguing characters a storyline that kept me turning the pages..Already looking forward to next in series will be recommending.#netgalley #harperuk
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced e-copy of this book!!! The description of this book had me very interested to see where it would go. This is a world where the Roman Empire has never fallen and everyone must follow a code of high morality and are punished if they do not. Our heroine Cassandra has lived a privileged life until a one day she notices a boy in her class is carrying some ‘illegal tech’ and everything begins to change in her life. I didn’t enjoy the first person POV of this story and Cassandra felt a little underdeveloped as a heroine. I was more curious about both Devyn and Marcus and hope that we hear more about things from their POV in future books. This is an interesting story and I look forward to reading the other novels that follow. Thanks again for the advanced copy!!
First of all, I want to say I absolutely love the cover of this book, it is about a world where the roman empire never fell and the protagonist are; Cassandra, who is the daughter of a wealthy merchant, and Devyn who is searching for a girl with magic in her blood, I loved this book especially because I fell in love with the characters and the story itself, once I started reading it I couldn't stop, I would recommend this for people who like a love story in a difficult situation, it was incredible.
Give me the next book already! Amazing. Best young adult fiction I’ve read in a really long time. I loved the fact the main character was slightly older (not a teenager). Londinium has been built within its own Roman walls for security, its grown upwards instead of out and still maintains its Roman features with a hint of Roman ‘modern day’ technology. It’s such a brilliant idea. Every week criminals face trial in the Roman amphitheatre where they must plead guilty or not guilty to breaking the ‘code’. If they fall to their knees then the Roman citizens of londonium must place their votes. I loved the setting and descriptions of the sentinels and Roman architecture and the forum where Cassandra studies. This is a coming of age story with a magical and historical twist - Cassandras character is likeable and goes from being a self absorbed socialite to becoming a brave woman in the events of the book. Would really recommend this to anyone who enjoyed The Hunger Games or Eve of Man books. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.
Yes! This book is just everything! I’m not great at figuring out what I thought but here I go attempting it anyways. I will try and do this review based on 4 things characters, plot, pace and world building. Characters- Our main character Cass or Cassandra. She is kind of okay at the beginning but she comes into her own about half way through. Devyn ❤️ oh he is just yum! But also in saying that he had a lot of annoying traits that I guess all mysterious characters have. Doesn’t say much, keeps important info to himself, you know what I mean. All the usual stuff. Marcus...I think he was almost my favourite and most hated character all at the same time. Not going to say much as I don’t want to spoil but I would describe him as a yo-yo character. Like seriously dude... make up your mind. I think a great thing about this book is that the side characters though they don’t show up often also became interesting parts of the plot. Can’t really go into much details about them as it’s spoilery 😬 Plot- I loved everything about the plot. The magic element mixed with a tech element was super interesting. Kinda making it a mix between old and new. It’s hard to explain too much about it but I think the author did a wonderful job of mixing them together, and making them enemies. Whilst having sooo many questions for us as readers to make us question things from the beginning. We have mystery, identity crisis, a love story but it’s also something else. Just a fantastic ride. Pace- The writing style of this one was wonderful! I think with so many things happening in each and every chapter it was hard not to get swept up in it all. It was easy to follow for the most part. The only thing that sometimes stood in the way was the political side of the story. Which brings us to the last factor World building- I really like the concept of an alternate history of Rome. The Roman Empire never fell! It’s a great world to build on. There is tension between the cities and the ancient kingdoms that surround them. The ancient kingdoms are known as Celts or Britons, the city we are being told the story from is Londinium. I will say there is A LOT of background told about the history of what happened and why they are in a walled city but I’m not sure some of the depth was necessary. I think it definitely was still really easy to follow without completely grasping the background information. Which is great! You can enjoy the book if you like politics in a book or not. 🤷♀️ Anyhow I have rambled on quite a bit! In conclusion I like this book and give a big 5 STARS! ⭐️ can’t wait to read the next one🤞
I need the second instalment now! Clara O'Connor has a new fan in me because WOW. In a dystopian world where the Roman Empire never fell, Cassandra finds herself thrust into a world of diplomacy, danger and magic. There is a strong romance element in this and it's quite possibly one of my favourite relationships. The intersection between the Roman world and modernity is handled impeccably and there is huge detail in the world building. An entire alternative history was invented for this world and it has a serious bearing on the plot. There is a definite critique of the surveillance state, especially in relation to consumerism, something we can clearly see in our own world only adding to the experience of this book. I will definitely be keeping up with this series and I'm so happy I found it. One teeny tiny critique is a repeated reference to 'Hades'. As this book takes place in a Roman world it should really have been 'Pluto'. I'm not entirely sure if this was done intentionally or not but every other reference was accurate, this was just a small detail that would pull me out of the plot whenever I came across it. However given the amount of mythologies this book blends together, it does an excellent job at maintaining accuracy.