Thursday Review: The Abandon Trilogy by Meg Cabot

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The blurb:

Man that cover sequence is amazing. Okay, here’s the blurb for the second book. Why the second book and not the first? Because it’s been a year since I read the first book, so this review is mostly about the last two, which I just finished.

Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera isn’t dead.

Not this time.

But she is being held against her will in the dim, twilit world between heaven and hell, where the spirits of the deceased wait before embarking upon their final journey.

Her captor, John Hayden, claims it’s for her own safety. Because not all the departed are dear. Some are so unhappy with where they ended up after leaving the Underworld, they’ve come back as Furies, intent on vengeance…on the one who sent them there and on the one whom he loves.

But while Pierce might be safe from the Furies in the Underworld, far worse dangers could be lurking for her there…and they might have more to do with its ruler than with his enemies.

And unless Pierce is careful, this time there’ll be no escape.

My Review: So full disclosure. I have a bit of bitterness toward this series and The Goddess Test series. It has nothing to do with the authors or the writers. But when I was querying Persephone, I was shot down by a few publishing houses because Abandon and The Goddess Test were coming out later that year and they didn’t want the market saturated.

But then I got published with Musa and decided when I saw Abandon in the library to give it a shot. I like Meg Cabot, I like Persephone, seemed like a win to me.

I hated it, but I don’t know if it actually had anything to do with the book or the fact that I’d been shot down for something that, sure featured a Persephone myth, but was SO fundamentally unlike my book that it seemed crazy it was rejected for fear or saturating the market. Completely different takes.

I can’t separate all that frustration enough to review the first book enough to do it justice. But I kept seeing the books around and I sort of fell in love with the covers so I picked up the next two books.

I really liked them! I don’t know if the book was actually better or if I’m just in a healthier place now, but I really enjoyed this book. Pierce didn’t seem as difficult to access to me. Before I had a hard time “getting” her, but in this book I understood her reactions, and she seemed very three dimensional. I like John, despite the borderline abusive vibe that seems so common to YA these days, but at least in his character it makes sense. His dad was an abusive control freak and these things tend to go in cycles. I like that he seemed to be fighting it, and at times called himself on it.

The plot was unique and interesting, and really other than the fact that the Underworld exists and they keep making references to Hades and Persephone, it’s not what I would consider to be a retelling of the myth. The story is completely separate and stands on its own without the myth. If they removed all references to the Underworld at all and called it something neutral like the After Life, the tone of the story would barely shift. That…wouldn’t work in my book, lol, so this is a much more original plot. The settings all felt like real places, and the secondary characters were engaging enough that I really hope she follows them around in short stories some. I’d love to get in their heads. The only issues that I had with the secondary characters is that they all seemed…REALLY unintelligent if they were good guys. It was kind of like good guy = simple, childlike, innocent reasoning skills which just didn’t jive with the fact that many of these are adults who would be complicated people with multifaceted reactions. I liked that Uncle Chris’s character was simpler than most of the kids in the book. That worked, and it made sense, and it kind of made his whole character tragic. But when the mom, dad, cemetery guy, his boyfriend, helpers in the Underworld, random strangers, bad guys, police officers, and every other character that couldn’t be outright called evil displayed the same good natured innocent simplicity, it took me out of the story.

But those are background characters, so it’s not that big of a deal. The main characters and secondary characters like Alex and Kayla were actually very interesting to me. I don’t know if I’ll pick anything else up by Cabot, her writing style, which to be clear, is fantastic, just doesn’t create the type of book I read. Doesn’t mean it’s not good, and I did end up enjoying these books, but it’s just not my thing. I’m happy in my slightly darker comfort zone.

I’m on the waiting list for the third book and am actually really looking forward to reading it.

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