Author: Meg Cabot
Source: bought for book signing
Review Summary: In a lot of ways this is a fairly typical YA romance with a strong heroine, but it’s also well written, enjoyable, and made unique by its’ basis in mythology and the heroine’s unique voice.
Like Dead Beautiful, Meg Cabot’s Abandon trilogy is a re-telling of the Persephone myth, although in this case only the starting point of the story really comes from the myth. The Greek gods aren’t part of the story at all and while a lot of elements of the Greek underworld are used, even the basic explanation for the way the Underworld works is different. What is the same is that the lord of the underworld does fall in love with our heroine, Pierce. He does kidnap her, in a way, but in his defense she’s already dead in this version. She manages to escape and is resuscitated by her doctors; which of these events is the cause and which the effect is left for the reader to determine. Unfortunately for Pierce, escaping the underworld doesn’t resolve anything. She now has trouble fitting back into her old life and still has to deal with the lord of the underworld appearing to “help” her, usually causing her some trouble himself as well.
It’s hard to put my finger on what I liked about this book. It’s a fairly typical YA plot with no startlingly new inventions in the interpretation of the mythology. The writing is good, but not extraordinary, and the romance is a little angsty. And yet, despite all that, I really enjoyed reading it. That might be a little bit because I’m a sucker for a good re-telling, but this book deviates from the myth pretty quickly so that’s not what kept me reading. It moved at a very good pace. Something exciting was always happening and that definitely drew me in. I constantly wanted to know what would happen next. The writing, while not run-and-tell-your-friends-about-it incredible like Hyperion, was still very good. I think what put this book above a lot of similar books for me, was how convincingly Meg Cabot captured the voice of a 17 year old narrator. She was independent and sometimes sarcastic and, even compared to other Cabot books I’ve read, as individual and unique as any one you might actually meet.
For people in a more critical mood, I should include a few caveats. The romance in this book is a text-book case of insta-love, with our protagonists wrestling with their feelings for each other before they’ve even had any serious conversations together. The “hades” character is a bit of a chauvinist, always trying to protect Pierce. On the bright side, she doesn’t just sit there and take it, but it’s still a little annoying. And finally, they are both kind of angsty and in need of constant reassurance of the other person’s love. But, for all that I consider those warnings necessary, none of those things bothered me. Partially because I was in the mood for a light read and partly because the personality of narrator and the plot pacing just sold it for me. I can’t wait to go to the book signing this Tuesday!
Who should read it? People who share my love for re-tellings, anyone in the mood for a nice light romance/adventure and willing to not over-think things, anyone looking for a story convincingly narrated from the perspective of a unique heroine