So I don’t actually remember much of what happened in Abandon, the first book in Meg Cabot’s trilogy based on the Persephone myth. Look, I read it over a year ago and SOMEONE (Anastasia Beaverhausen) never reviewed it like she promised. Here’s what I do remember though: a girl named Pierce dies and goes to the Underworld where she meets John, the hot guy in charge. He becomes so smitten with her that he lets her escape and then mysteriously shows up any time someone is threatening her and beats the crap out of them. But there are Furies, beings that have escaped the Underworld, who want to take revenge against John by hurting the woman that he loves. When John and Pierce find out that her crazy bitch of a grandmother is a Fury, he kidnaps her and takes her to the Underworld. Like you do.
The sequel, Underworld (Scholastic 2012), picks up with Pierce hanging out in, you guessed it, the Underworld, and trying to think of ways to escape. Sort of. She still has the hots for John so she’s not trying that hard. Plus they’re not even in the Underworld that long (which is too bad because I wanted to see more of it), because Pierce sweet talks John into taking her to the mortal world because she is afraid that the Furies are going to target the rest of her family in her absence. Along the way they encounter more Furies and a vast conspiracy that may just date back to John’s original death 200 years prior. Oh and Pierce (halfheartedly) tries to avoid doing anything that will force her to stay in the Underworld forever just like Persephone.
I love Meg Cabot. She’s the reason I started reading YA books as an adult. Her books usually feature smart and spunky heroine who are so much more well-rounded than Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefiled, the standard YA heroines when I was an actual teenager. And yes, I’ve always thought her characters were too obsessed with finding true love in high school, but that’s probably more true to life than I’d like to admit. That’s why it pains me to write this: there’s kind of a Bella/Edward dynamic going on in Underworld. A hero who falls immediately for the plain, compassionate heroine and then goes to irrational lengths (i.e. kidnapping her) to keep her safe? Check. The heroine with only one or two personality traits (loves animals and will do anything to help the people she cares about) who is not nearly as mad about the kidnapping and being tricked as she should be and is constantly needing to be rescued? Check. Now to her credit, unlike Bella Swan, she really doesn’t want to become the Queen of the Underworld just so she can live forever with her boyfriend, but (SPOILER) when it does happen without her full knowledge, she kind of shrugs it off.
The plot is fine, though I wasn’t overly invested. Mostly because the purpose of the story was to deepen the relationship between Pierce and John and set up the climactic book of the trilogy. I don’t really care that much about the two main characters and therefore am not really invested in their relationship. And set-up might be necessary, but it’s never as interesting as action. That being said, I have high hopes for the last book in the trilogy. It looks like Pierce is going to take a more active role in the fight against the Furies and all the set-up could lead to somewhere interesting.
Though the last couple of paragraphs might suggest otherwise, I didn’t really hate this book. It is well-written and an entertaining enough read, it just isn’t up to what I consider to be the Meg Cabot standard. I’ll be waiting to see if she can reach it with Awaken, the third book in the trilogy. I really hope that Meg can end the series on a high note.