Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Point; 1 edition (April 26, 2011)
Series: Abandon #1
Source: Purchased from Books-A-Million
Cover: This cover is a million times gorgeous and a half. From the front to the back and even the foil like sheen of the inside, it's is wonderful. I love the color choice of brown and gold and white. It's unusual and works so well. The symbolism of the rich dirt and white dress is great too. All around amazing!
First Sentence: "Anything can happen in the blink of an eye."
Mini-Review: A fun and creative re-imagining of the Hades/Persephone's myth with great characters and even better writing!
New from #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot, a dark, fantastical story about this world . . . and the underworld.
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.
This book might be named for the famous phrase, "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here" but there is nothing to abandon about this novel. Pierce is an interesting lead who is both bold and venerable and her plight is winding and gripping. The atmosphere of Isla Huesos feels rich and alive, the ethnicity of the minor characters adds an authentic feel and the mystery is addictive.
Pierce comes from an interesting background., Her father's company is the cause of the Gulf oil spill and her mother is lobbying to save the spoonbills which where directly effected by it. Her entire life is about turmoil so it's no wonder she's holding a secret close to her. I enjoyed watching her reveal her secrets bit by bit and as answers start to come to her, she starts to grow as a character. In the beginning, she's fragile like the bird that dies but as the story goes on, she starts to mature and blossom. Her relationship to the mysterious John crackles. Their immense lack of communication is intriguing and I really liked watching them try to figure each other out.
What really made this novel stand out for me was the setting. Being a Floridan, I enjoyed all the description of my home state. Ms. Cabot describes walking out into the humidity like walking into soup and it is exactly right. The lazy and slightly creepy feeling of the graveyard, where Pierce spends a large amount of time lends itself to the overall feeling of the story and I loved the flavor that the ethnicity of her cousin Alex and her friend Kayla added to the story. My major compliant about this novel was that I found the time shifts hard to keep up with. I found myself re-reading passages, trying to figure out if we'd slipped back to the past or rushed forward to the present.
Another major shining point for this story is the re-imaging of the Hades and Persephone's myth. The author acknowledges that this story has already happening and that John and Pierce's story is more like a similar situation but that could have different results. Because of this, it doesn't feel trapped on a one-way train but rather like anything is impossible. The ending will leave the reader pining for the next story without an agonizing cliff hanger.
Abandon's fresh spin on a beloved myth and its strong characters make for an addictive read. I can't wait to watch John and Pierce argue more now that they've ended up in such a close space and I'm interested to see where the next installment will take this story. You can bet this isn't a series I don't plan on abandoning any time soon!