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Secrets of the Starcrossed

(The Once and Future Queen #1)

3.29  ·  Rating details ·  132 ratings  ·  111 reviews
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 ancient kingdoms that surround it. As the only daughter of a powerful merchant, Cassandra is betrothed to Marcus, the most eligible bachelor in the city.

Paperback, 448 pages
Expected publication: January 21st 2021 by One More Chapter
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Eleanor Yes. There is a scene clearly showing that consent for sex is not given, due to one party repeatedly saying no (and supposedly changing their mind lat…moreYes. There is a scene clearly showing that consent for sex is not given, due to one party repeatedly saying no (and supposedly changing their mind later), and the other party being explicitly drugged (despite claiming to be of sound mind). Drugged = not possible to give consent. Furthermore, this scene is played off as okay which is not a good message to send to readers. (less)

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Maja  - BibliophiliaDK ✨

Actual rating: 2.5 ⭐

Honestly, this was not a bad book. It really wasn't. It just wasn't all that it could have been. It really had potential to be good. It started out as something that was going to be good. But it lost momentum about halfway through and it didn't pick up again in my opinion.

👍 What I Liked 👍

Premise: A world were the Roman empire never collapsed on itself. It persisted all the way up to our present day and further. That's the premise of this book
Oct 09, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 5-and-6
Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Secrets of the Starcrossed in exchange for an honest review.

First off, the world here was so interesting I just wish it wasn't framed as a backdrop for a couple that I hated. Cassandra is your standard "good girl finds out world isn't as good as she thought" so we're not going to talk about her a lot but one of her two main love interests Devyn made me want to scream.

At first I was just going to give this a slightly below average rating because a
Quite frankly, this book was disappointing. I should know by now not to trust what a book is compared to, but this blurb mentioned three of my favorites. I mean, how can a book that's compared to Panem, the Grishaverse, and Marie Lu go wrong? While not necessarily bad, this book answered that question.

First off, the worldbuilding in this was super confusing. It's based on history, but with some events removed, and others added. As someone who's already unfamiliar with European history, this jus
Chloe Louise
Nov 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK, One More Chapter for providing me with an E-ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

It's very rare that I give a book 2 days. I could not get into his book at all and had to force myself through it. The storyline didn't interest me at all and the MC seemed to lack maturity despite being an adult. The dialogue seemed forced and so I was not able to relate to the characters or imagine what they would sound like. The plot could have done with a lot more
Wren (fablesandwren)
Big nope. RTC.
Eloise Smith
Nov 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, arcs
15/12/2- Edit
Since this book, I've read a lot more fantasy and find myself comparing to this one! I think I appreciate much more how great this is as a debut and how the story develops. I've therefore upped my rating and I wanted to read the next book anyway, but now I'm looking forward to it even more. I think it's good to be honest and reflect if/when your mind changes.

Original Review

Hmm, this book promised so much but I don't think it fully delivered unfortunately.

Cassandra lives in a dys
Nov 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, english-reads
Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Collins One More Chapter for providing me with an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Set against the backdrop of an alternate history where the Roman Empire never fell, Secrets of the Starcrossed follows the story of soon-to-graduate and secret fiancé of the most-eligible-bachelor-in-the-city Cassandra, a girl who was brought up with the Code and who must now face, for the first time, the knowledge that not all is as it seems.

Right off the bat,
Oct 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
What if history were just a little different? What if the Roman Empire never fell? Clara O’Connor’s SECRETS OF THE STARCROSSED gives us that scenario and takes us to Londinium where a fragile peace endures and a successful merchant’s daughter is betrothed to the most eligible bachelor in the city. But are they meant to be together or is there something far more political and devious going on?

Cass was supposed to marry Marcus, but she never planned on falling in love with Devyn or to begin to bel
Paige| apaigeinthechapter
Oct 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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 an ...more
Dec 05, 2020 added it
Shelves: arc, ebook-copy, dnf

Thank you NetGalley and One More Chapter for this e-arc.

It was very underwhelming, the beginning is just a lot of info-dumping which I struggled to make sense. Slow pace. The setting of this Roman history with technology wasn’t credible. I didn’t like Cassandra and the love interest was just too cheesy, the insta-love scene made me laugh and cringe at the same time.

I wish this was not compared to Grishaverse or Marie Lu as this book is too focused on the romance and not on the fantasy
A_ bookbound _soul
I'd like to thank OneChapterMorehc for the proof copy. Really excited to read it. Especially the last part of the description intrigues me. ...more
Sep 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Secrets of the Starcrossed by Clara O'Connor is a futuristic young adult fantasy story that follows a naive, rule-following elite young woman as her life and identity unravel.

It's a trope-y story: love triangle, forbidden love, cold mother, dystopian society, lost heir. But despite the tropes, the magic system and societal structure are unique and intriguing, Arthurian-esque as the blurb describes. I recently read a nonfiction account of ancient Rome and Britannia, so it was super fun to see li
Zoe Turner
Oct 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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.

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 i
Nov 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc
Thank you so much to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

When I first heard about this book I was totally interested. With star-crossed lovers, ancient magic, and the world on the brink of war- I had high hopes. The plot sounded great and this was a brand new author for me too, so I was equally excited about that.

This book was a classic run-of-the-mill YA Fantasy. I've seen this plot recycled many, many times and this didn't bring anything new to the table for me. The pacing
Dec 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
The bad thing about reading ARC is loving the book so much and not having people to share it with!!! Not to mention waiting for publication day and then waiting for next book’s release date!!

This was such a great read. I had a bit of hard time getting into it, especially when Cassandra goes over the history of the Empire. Once she becomes fixated on Devyn, that’s when the fun starts. Throw Marcus into the mix and it’s shaping up to be such a great series.

The story gave me Matched by Allie Condie
Bookphenomena (Micky)
I’ve rounded up my rating to 3 stars and I both read and listened to this story. The world created in Secrets of the Starcrossed was one of an elite alternate futuristic/contemporary society but also one with people less fortunate. I didn’t find the world building immediately easy to understand but over time it did get clearer.

I do have mixed feelings about this book. It has something of an identity crisis; is it fantasy or dystopia, is the underpinning culture Roman or Celtic? It’s a mix of all
Nov 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me an advanced copy of Secrets of the Starcrossed in exchange for an honest review.

I've gotta be honest, it took me a couple WEEKS to get through the first 4-5 chapters of this book, which is normally not my reading style at all. I think that the description of the book is not super accurate, and I was looking for components that weren't really present at all. Once I got into the swing of this novel though, instead of the ones the blurb compares i
Margot Lissens
Dec 14, 2020 marked it as dnf-ed
After reading several reviews I decided to DNF this book at the 50% mark because I was not enjoying it and based on the reviews the story wouldn’t develop into something I’d enjoy reading. I’ll be talking about the points I had written down whilst reading the book in this review, so you’ll still get a clear review of the story. My review will also explain why I put this book down.

If you read the synopsis you could guess that it’s quite a romance heavy book, however if you don’t like reading too
Jessica Julien
Oct 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for the eARC of Secrets of the Starcrossed for my honest review.

I'll be blatantly honest that I read through some of the reviews of this before beginning, something I rarely ever do as I like to form my own opinions, so I went in with a pretty low bar...and I will happily say I was actually excited about this book and had a hard time putting it down.

There are a ton of cliche tropes (love at first sight, love triangle type relationships, goody rich girl gets
Sakina (aforestofbooks)
This book had quite a few smaller issues before I even got to the bigger ones.

I just didn’t understand the touching? I get Devyn is doing some kind of tech/magic thing that makes him look like a tall, skinny white boy when in reality if Cassandra touches him he’s a tall, muscled white boy...but the touching? Considering Cassandra doesn’t know him at all, or at least has barely interacted with him all these years, it’s super weird that she’s touching his chest and face and neck. I could tell we w
Oct 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for an eARC of this book!

I really enjoyed this book, it was a little slow to start and was predictable but it was fun and I found myself wanting to pick it up and finish it whenever I had to put it down. I really liked the main character, Cass, and I enjoyed her character arc. I’m definitely gonna pick up the next one because that ending left me reeling and I want to know what happens next! There were a few issues I had with this book, however. I did fin
✿❀ Lauren, aka Coffee and the Bibliophile ❀✿
3.5 stars!

I'm not exactly sure where to start with this one...

Did I enjoy it? Kind of.

Let me say, the premise of this world where the Roman Empire never fell was SO interesting. This book is kind of futuristic, kind of dystopian, and more of a "what if" kind of world building. This is where the majority of my rating comes into play, because it's a unique, NEW, interesting background to a fantasy/dystopian novel. My issue was that it was information OVERLOAD. I was so lost throughout most of this
Oct 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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
Becca Akins
Jan 02, 2021 rated it liked it

While there are many elements in this book that I enjoyed such as the Celtic mythology and a forbidden romance, it also lacked in so,e areas. The pace and how the plot unraveled didn’t flow as nicely as I look for in my fantasy romance. While I enjoyed reading it I do not plan on continuing in the series

I received an E-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my rating or review.
Sifa Poulton
Dec 23, 2020 rated it did not like it
I was given an eARC of the book by the publishers through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

If I'm being honest, I went into this book with an attitude that wasn't very conducive to a good reading experience. I was expecting very little of it - it is really not my typical sort of book as it's a fantasy/dystopia romance with a love triangle. I read it purely to see if my many assumptions of the book based on the premise, title, cover (etc.) had been right
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
Content Warnings: Non-consensual drug administration, brief explicit sexual content
Note: ARC kindly provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


To describe this book in a word? Underwhelming.

I wanted so badly to love this book. The description sounded so cool! Panem meets Grishaverse with further comparison to Marie Lu? Count me in! Unfortunately, this book fell far short of those lofty expectations, and my initial excitement quickly dissolved into disappointment. I wish I had gone
Casey Williams
Sep 25, 2020 rated it liked it
*All thoughts and opinions are my own and are in now way influenced by the author or publisher*

Secrets of the Starcrossed is the first in a new dystopian trilogy by debut author Clara O’Connor. It follows Cassandra, a naïve and elite young woman who follows all the rules of her city until someone crosses her path and begins to unravel all the secrets of her past she never knew she had.

This book has all the tropes. Love triangle, forbidden love, lost heir, you name it it’s in this book. We
Sep 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was quite interesting, i expected a lot of cheesy romance but it was so much better than that. It had depth and a really good and exciting plot. I had high hopes because it was compared to my favourite author Leigh Bardugo and although I don't think it was much like the Grisha books it was still enjoyable.

This book is set in an alternative past set during the roman empire but with modern day hints to technology etc. I enjoyed that side of it, it was refreshing to be in a different wor
A copy of this book was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my thoughts.

Well. That was... something.

Secrets of the Starcrossed sounded like it would be the type of book I really enjoyed - an alternate history filled with old magic, a mystery that must be solved, and it had been compared to The Hunger Games. What could possible go wrong? A lot, as it turns out.

My biggest issue - or rather the biggest shock -I had was with the setting and genre. I
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