Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Abandon by Meg Cabot

Publisher: Scholastic
Age: Young Adult
Species: Human/Fury/Ferryman
Rating: 4/5
Interest: Persephone and Hades/ Meg Cabot/ 2011 in 2011

Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.

Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.

But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

I have loved the myth of Persephone and Hades since I was a little kid. It is one of my favorite voiced stories. There's so much passion, desperation, lust and longing in the tale that I was almost positive there could never be a retelling that did it justice. There are simply too many emotions hurtling around from all characters that it would be nearly impossible to explore all of the motives and feelings thoroughly.

Meg Cabot did an absolutely wonderful job crafting a tale around the centuries old myth. I mean come on, it is Meg Cabot, how could I ever, in this universe, doubt her greatness?

Possibly because of her own love of the story, revealed here, Cabot was committed to get the tale told on her own terms, but in the right way. Which I think made her more driven to write the book and made it come out better as a whole.

I had only 2 problems with this book. I didn't like that it was very obviously a set up for the next novel. This was basically all of the background before getting to the real story. However, the book was good enough that it didn't feel like a set-up novel until the end. The other issue was having so much of the book being told in retrospect and not focusing on the present. Other than that, I couldn't find any faults.

I have to take a moment to fangirl over the fact that Meg Cabot quoted Dante's Inferno at the beginning of every chapter. That was simply cool beyond words, especially for an geek like me.

Pierce was a pretty strong female character. She did not take crap from anyone, even a ferryman of the underworld. I feel she did have a few princess-like "I'm entitled" fits, but they were over quickly and were not really about her, but how others were being treated. Her attraction to John was interesting. She was torn between this physical chemistry and morbid fear of him. Usually this wavering behavior would drive me mad. Cabot though paced it out well, giving reasons for each pull forward and step back. It made Pierce more level-headed than most teen heroines. She understood her connection to John but made sure to look a little before she leaped. I wish more teen girls were sensible like her.

There wasn't much time to examine John's character. He had a temper, inner pain and was yearning for Pierce's acceptance. He seemed like a spoiled brat at points but it could be understandable after getting his way and being alone for hundreds of years. John had "appearances" in the novel, plenty to fuel the flames between him and Pierce, but it just wasn't enough for me. I wanted more of him and his fascinating back story. The side characters in the book weren't really noteworthy except for the cemetery sexton which explained some Underworld lore to Pierce. He was funny, but too strange for me to really love. The ending villain was also barely touched on. When all of the evidence was connected it was obvious who the bad guy was. However they were so removed and uninvolved from the story I did not suspect them till the very end.

I was totally taken in with the bones of the story. Who would have ever thought to make "Persephone" a modern day NDE (Near Death Experience)? Also, instead of pinning the underworld to a specific religion or place, the idea was broached of many different underworlds from all religions existed. The underworlds were simply "waiting rooms" where ferrymen would sort people into lines to receive their just rewards. The idea is so interesting to me. The philosophical debates alone that could arise would be so stimulating. The roots of Persephone's diamond would be so fun to research! Abandon opened up a whole new world on a story I thought I knew by heart.

Cabot keeps up her standard of excellence with her latest dark myth retold. Once you dip into this book the temptation to keep reading will drive you to the emotional end. Pick up this new tale of Hades and Persephone as soon as possible! (Even if you don't know the original myth!)

Series Order:
1. Abandon
2. Underworld (Us Release Date: 2012)
3. Untitled

Teaser lines: "Anything can happen in the blink of an eye. Anything at all."

Happy Reading,

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