Monday, 9 January 2017

Review: Abandon by Meg Cabot

Title: Abandon
Series: Abandon Trilogy #1
Author: Meg Cabot
Publisher: Macmillan's Children's Books
Pages: 304
Genres: Fantasy, YA Paranormal

Last year, Pierce died - just for a moment. And when she was in the space between life and death, she met John. Tall dark and terrifying, it's his job to usher souls from one realm to the next.

There's a fierce attraction between them, which Pierce carries back into our world. But she knows that if she allows herself to fall for John she will be doomed to a life of shadows and loneliness in the Underworld. When things get dangerous for her, her only hope is to do exactly what John says. Can she trust a guy who lives for the dead?
This book really surprised me. It is a YA retelling of Hades and Persephone which really piqued my interest. The female lead is a teen girl called Pierce who is struggling with her recent near death experience, and the strange things she experienced whilst dead, namely meeting a ruler of the Underworld, John Hayden. John took her soul to live with him instead of moving on against Pierce's will. She managed to escape and was brought back to life although John still keeps cropping up in her life.

The setting of this book was one of my favourite parts. The story is set on an island called Isla Huesos, which is an island off the coast of Florida, USA. The descriptions of the weather, the local fauna - it really gave a tropical atmosphere to the story which I loved picturing in my mind. There is also description of local lore, such as Coffin Night and the history of the graves on the island.

I will say that as far as I could tell, this first book of the trilogy was very much focused on setting up the story. I don't think it is a spoiler to say that because it is a Hades and Persephone retelling, I expected Pierce to be at some point taken back by John to the Underworld, and this did not happen until the very end of the book. The main bulk of the book switched between present and past narratives, as Pierce's history is slowly revealed. There is also a lot of description of the new high school Pierce attends and all of the social cliques which I found the least interesting to be honest. I also didn't really like that Pierce was a privileged rich girl whose father is a big deal and yadda yadda yadda. It's a personal thing to me, but I hate books that unnecessarily insert descriptions of the main character's privilege and wealth which doesn't really add anything to the story. The story still would have worked if Pierce didn't come from a rich family. So that irked me somewhat.

Regardless of some of the things I didn't like too much, I really enjoyed the evolving relationship dynamic between Pierce and John. It really intrigued me and I want to know what happens in the subsequent books. The major plot twist was really bizarre though, so I'm also looking forward to exploring that more.

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