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Book Review: Abandon by Meg Cabot

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Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera knows what it’s like to die. Pierce drowned and flatlined for over an hour and while dead to everyone around her, Pierce actually explored the Underworld and met the irresistible John Hayden — who happens to be Lord of the Underworld. Pierce finally wakes up and has joined the ranks of those who have survived near-death experiences. She does her best to deal with what happened and move on with her life, but it isn’t as cut and dry as she’d like it to be since the mysterious John keeps popping up. Is he there as her protector, or does he want her to return to the Underworld and call it home?

Cabot’s latest young adult novel, Abandon, adds a current twist to the Greek myth Persephone. Persephone is the Greek Goddess of the Underworld and Cabot envisions the fable through her 17-year-old heroine, Pierce Oliviera.

Two years after Pierce flatlined in a near-death experience from accidently drowning and being trapped in the realm of the Underworld, she finds herself living on the South Florida island of Isla Huesos. It’s bad enough Pierce has to endure life as the new girl, but the wickedly handsome guy she met while she was dead just refuses to leave her alone. You see, the deliciously dark, captivating and brooding male lead, John Hayden, is dead set on bringing her back to the land of Hades. Oh, did I mention, Isla Huesos just happens to be the portal to the Underworld community. One more thing:  John happens to be a “death deity.”

While the premise is refreshing and a much needed break from vamps and faeries, Cabot fails to deliver the goods until the real cliff hanger at the end.

Abandon is nothing more than the foundation for a trilogy. In book one, Cabot sets up the series, starting with how Pierce dies, escapes and how she is still linked to the mesmerizingly handsome John. I don’t particularly mind story set ups, but there was a lot of commentary, and the flashbacks scattered about weakened the plot. Abandon had little momentum, and it lacked dimension. I didn’t connect with Cabot’s retelling because there was nothing to connect to, unfortunately, it always felt like the story was caught between two worlds – one of exposition and one of excessive flashbacks. I was left waiting for something that never happened and that was for Cabot to actually illustrate the tale with powerful action scenes…not disjointed nonsense. Cabot would have best captured those reading this modern retelling by unfolding the events Pierce suffered through instead of frustrating us with overdone recollections.

Cabot shines brilliantly with her formulation of Pierce and John. Pierce is an extremely intriguing character and spot on when dealing with all the angst a teen undergoes. John is fiercely protective of Pierce in a charming manner rather than in a disgustingly domineering way, and Cabot earns extra points for handling this eloquently. John was alluring, and his interest in Pierce was enchanting and believable. It was a natural flow that would have moved with razor sharp precision, if the events were delivered sequentially, rather than through remembrances.

Cabot amps up the last few chapters and knocks you for a loop with the breathtaking cliff-hanger, though. It has left me eager to devour the next installment, tentatively titled Underworld.

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About Diane Morasco