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YMMV / The Casteel Series

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  • Aborted Arc: The introduction of Heaven's mother's portrait doll is established in the prologue of the very first book, and it seems that it's going to play a major role in proving her identity to her Boston grandparents. The doll's destroyed, but the grandparents accept Heaven anyway. In Dark Angel, it seems the doll is going to come back into play when Heaven asks Tony if a portrait doll was ever made for Leigh, and he lies to her. The reason why he lied is never revealed, and Heaven never even expresses any further curiosity about it after that scene. For the next two books, the doll goes unmentioned. It's only in the prequel that we find out the deal with the doll. (It's entirely possible that this aborted arc was simply due to Writer Existence Failure.)
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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Since the books were published, opinion has shifted toward Fanny, reinterpreting her not as an oversexed rival to Heaven but as an eleven-year-old child who uses her premature sexuality to gain the affection she isn't getting in her chaotic and abusive home. Some readers even interpret Fanny's sexual acting-out as a red flag that she might have been sexually abused, perhaps by her own father.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: There's an uncomfortable moment in the first book where after he has sold all the other children, Luke sits beside a sleeping Heaven and starts stroking her hair and while going on about how beautiful she is. Upon seeing this Toby Casteel demands that Luke give Heaven away too for her own safety. Luke's response to this is to insist that: SHE IS MINE!. Its never stated what his intentions were but the implications are more than a little unsettling. Heaven herself is momentarily squicked out by this but the incident never gets a mention again and Luke is never shown as having... that kind of interest in Heaven again, leaving many a reader wondering just WTF that was about? It also makes Luke's supposed reform all the more harder to swallow and really calls his entire character into question!
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  • Contested Sequel: Heaven and Dark Angel are well loved by fans, but there's a split on whether or not the other three books are any good.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Troy is very popular with the fans due to his Byronic Hero style character and his willingness to sacrifice his own happiness for Heaven's.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Just try and find a Casteel series reader who doesn't think that Troy, not Logan, was the love of Heaven's life and that she should have married him instead. Troy might have been Heaven's uncle, but it's not like the previous series didn't have an incestuous couple working things out (in fact, she was still planning on marrying Troy even after the "uncle" reveal and it was just Troy's apparent death that put a stop to that), and he was much more sensitive and caring towards Heaven than Logan who had No Sympathy for Heaven's abuse at the hands of Kitty and Cal, said point-blank to her face that she was Defiled Forever to him, and even indirectly caused Heaven's death. Plus how Heaven and Logan's marriage resulted in both of them cheating on each other (Logan with Heaven's stepsister Fanny, Heaven with Troy whom she explicitly said she still loved)...
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  • Harsher in Hindsight: Kitty died of breast cancer, something that she greatly fears as it runs in her family. Andrews herself died of the same disease.
  • Heartwarming Moments: Troy going to Heaven's high school graduation in Dark Angel, along with several Tatterton Toys employees and their families acting like the Casteels since her actual family couldn't (or wouldn't) be there for her.
    • From Fallen Hearts, Troy building a music box replica of the cottage at Farthy for Heaven, complete with figurines of them in a loving pose.
  • Magnum Opus Dissonance: Many V. C. Andrews fans hold the first two books as her best, but her personal favorite story was the posthumously published and obscure Gods of Green Mountain (at least according to the letter by her brothers at the beginning of that book)
  • Moral Dissonance: Heaven berates her Boston relatives several times as immoral and selfish while holding up as an example the poor-but-honest hillfolk who always take care of their own. She seems to have forgotten that these same hillfolk knew the Casteel children were constantly on the brink of starvation but never offered to help them.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Luke selling his children, which Heaven found to be unforgivable.
    • Tony repeatedly raping Leigh, who was not only his stepdaughter but either 13 or 14 at the time.
    • Jillian knew what was going on between Tony and Leigh, but chose to ignore it so that she wouldn't be stressed. And in Web of Dreams she even used Leigh as a distraction for Tony so that he wouldn't want to have sex with Jillian, and then got angry at Leigh when she became pregnant.
  • Narm: Tom's heroic death is somewhat marred by the fact that he dies from being mauled by a lion while dressed as a literal clown.
    • Heaven confronts Kitty with the fact that Kitty has been selling mass-market ceramics as one-of-a-kind creations and threatens that Kitty could be sued for fraud if anyone ever found out. This is played for high drama and Kitty's reaction is akin to a Berserk Button, but considering that Kitty's other crimes include physical abuse of a minor child and, oh, buying a teenager on the black market, it comes across as a little ridiculous.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The stillbirth of Sarah and Luke's fifth child. It's so awful that Sarah is Driven to Madness and Annie is shocked into instant death. Luke's incredibly cold reaction is just as horrifying.
  • Replacement Scrappy: For more than a few readers, Annie was this for her mother Heaven. The readers that did dislike her found her to be much more whiny than Heaven, to the point that even fans that liked Gates of Paradise found that she bogged the story down.
  • The Scrappy: Logan Stonewall isn't too popular with fans due to his reactions to Heaven's traumas (including outright ignoring her when she tries to track him down in Boston). He, along with Arden Lowe, are one of the more unpopular characters in the Andrews catalog.
  • Tainted by the Preview: The announcement of the film version of Heaven had fans excited... until it was confirmed that Lifetime was producing. Fans, who were dismayed at their treatments of the Dollanganger series and especially My Sweet Audrina, were not pleased.
  • Tearjerker: Tom's Heroic Sacrifice in Dark Angel. And unlike Troy, he's dead for real.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Even at his worst, it seems that Andrews on some level wants you to sympathize with Luke, which at times is rather... difficult. He's supposedly the way he is because of losing Leigh (whom he cheated on), but he wasted no time finding another wife, whom he treats even worse and is all but nonexistent to his children (except when he's abusing them) and generally seems to be constantly self involved. Even when he's cleaned his act up, he does nothing for Fanny, even though she's at this point had her child taken away, is prostituting herself for money etc. and lets not forget that he sent Heaven to two families that he knew contained at least one abusive adult i.e. Kitty Dennison and Tony Tatterton, Leigh's rapist. So, yeah poor guy...
  • The Woobie: Let's face it all of the Casteel children fit this trope to a T. Things lighten up a lot for Our Jane and Keith. Tom, Heaven and Fanny... not so much.
    • Troy's story is enough to make anyone tear up.
    • Though she later becomes a Jerkass Woobie, Sarah definitely deserves a hug. Besides the aforementioned Nightmare Fuel she endures, she's really led quite a crappy existence: living in abject poverty with a cheating, abusive husband who has made it plain that she's the consolation prize to his first true love, scratching to feed and clothe five children and two invalid adults, and all the while still holding out hope that one day her husband will love her. Added to the nasty postnatal depression she is left with and complete lack of emotional support she receives (and certainly no medical attention) after her final child is born dead and severely deformed, is it any wonder the poor woman loses it?
    • Let's not forget Leigh: her mother suddenly divorces her father who isn't actually her father, and then her stepfather raped her, resulting in pregnancy barely into her teens, and then she dies in childbirth.
  • Yo Yo Plot Point: At some point, you just gotta ask yourself how many generations of Jillian's descendants is Tony going to rape?

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