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.
After reading Abandon, I have come to the conclusion that YA authors should avoid writing about Greek mythology, especially the very popular Hades and Persephone story. The Goddess Test was atrocious, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker almost gave me conniptions and the latest addition in the genre, Abandon was an unexpected disappointment.
Before we continue, let me insert a disclaimer. I like Meg Cabot’s books. Her books are warm, fuzzy and totally comfort-food-like. I don’t wade into the pages expecting a deconstruction of the teenage culture. I am well aware that what I am reading will not be counted as literature in any circles. I expect to be hit with her brand of snark, humour and storytelling – things that Ms. Cabot is especially good at. Or used to be good at. I didn’t like Insatiable. The Airhead series was just bad. And Abandon misses the mark so widely it might be on a different continent. I don’t know what’s going on with her but whatever it is, I hope she’s back on track soon.
There were certain things about Abandon that irritated me to no end. First, the main characters and second the pacing. It’s not entirely bad as there’s a richness in Cabot’s prose, especially when she is describing the settings. But the beauty of her descriptions are subsumed by the flaws in the novel.
Let’s break down Pierce, also known as most annoying main character EVER. The most special thing about her is that she died once. It has changed her entire life. Not that I blame her, dying must do horrible things for a person’s future. (It turns a person stupid, so I advice you not to die. It’ll be bad for your GPA.) I wouldn’t know though. I haven’t died and when I do, I don’t think I’m coming back. Anyway, she lacks depth, has no substance, she’s fickle and by her “who’s Homer?” question, she’s stupid. Yes, I know that many people are not familiar with Greek poets but say, you died and ended up in a dark cave with a river and the mention of boats…would you not look stuff up when you miraculously un-died (and didn’t even become undead)? And more importantly, have you not watched the Percy Jackson movie? Greek mythology is part of popular culture. Don’t tell me it’s not because I’ll call you a liar. Okay fine, you didn’t know who Homer is, it’s atrocious but I sat beside a guy on the bus once who didn’t know who Chaucer and The Canterbury Tales was so I’m willing to look over it.
What about her lack of backbone? Why does she ditch her cousin and the first person to show her some friendship to hang with people who are faker than Barbie’s boobs? Her justification was that she wanted to know the reason for Alex’s (her cousin) dislike of these plastic people. Um, do you need a reason? I mean, you haven’t been in the school a full day and you are aware of the social divide – if it was a caste system, he’d be an Untouchable while they would be the Brahmin or um, Rajput. I’m getting my castes confused but you get the idea.
And John? Uh? She meets him when she was seven, he was granted avuncular qualities since he made a dead bird come back to life (there should be repercussions for that) which is extremely uncle-ish behaviour and then he met her again when she turned fifteen and was having her dying stint. After she ran away from him while he was trying to abduct her and keep her from her eternal happiness (he made her miss her boat, guys, that’s a crime! You never make a girl miss her boat!) and then when she’s alive again, he appears when she’s in trouble and bodily hurts people who are trying to hurt her. Very romantic, I know. My heart, it beats crazily.
Okay, there’s this incident with a jeweler who is convinced that Pierce stole the diamond necklace she’s wearing and who is calling the police – COME ON NOW! Do you think jewelers grab potential customers’ hands and threaten to call the police simply because she/he may be wearing a priceless piece of jewelry? Is that logical? Realistic?
Anyway, back to John Haydn. (Did you notice the last name cuz I totally did?) John has as much personality (or maybe less than) as a perforated piece of cardboard. How did they fall in love? I mean, why did they fall in love? When did they fall in love? Was it between pages? Those pesky blank spaces between the lines? I don’t know. All I know is that they suddenly started kissing and there were fireworks exploding all over the sky. Well okay, inside Pierce’s mind but she’s a dim bulb, that one.
I hate it when authors intentionally hold back important information. Pierce’s continuous mention of “that incident” without elaborating on it got old really fast. I don’t know what the purpose is for concealing the incident but it won no points from me. On page 170 of a 304 page book, Pierce is still on the first day of school and I was not a happy person. Nothing happens. The book is interspersed with events that happened two years before but instead of augmenting the narrative with the back story, all it does is make the reader roll her eyes and wish the book would get on with whatever (and wherever) it’s doing and going. Several plot lines are picked up and then abandoned. The denouement of the book is not so much a conclusion as a “sorry about this, but the book’s got to end right now so that you guys will read the next one, it is a trilogy, you know, pip pip!!”
The book does not stand on its own. It usually wouldn’t bother me but it doesn’t even set things up properly. It’s bungled up, that’s what I’m trying to say.
My advice? Wait till the entire trilogy is out. Then read it all in one go. You might be able to glean some sort of entertainment from it then.
Connie, my conscience, says, “It’s a brain cell killer. Avoid it.”