Meg Cabot’s Abandon Series: Underworld

underworld-mediumEscape 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.

You want to know what makes me saddest about this book? It told me that I’m getting older way more than my high school diploma ever did.

Any girl between the ages of twelve and seventeen will probably love this book. I know I would have if I was a little younger when I read it.

As a retelling of Persephone and Hades, it’s great for the Greek mythology geek. And like Meg Cabot’s other books, it’s perfect for the high school outsider.

However, you’ll probably like it less if you’re older than seventeen.

Here are the good points:

  • Meg Cabot is a fantastic storyteller, no matter what
  • Pierce is a really relatable character
  • John Hayden is a great love interest who is moderately mentally stable
  • the Greek mythology is awesome

Here are the bad points:

  • A lot of angst
  • People have misplaced priorities
  • A lot of irrational decisions made by both Pierce and John
  • A lot of Meg Cabot’s usual flair and humor seems to be missing

Despite all of the bad points, I really was drawn into the plot. Pierce’s cousin, Alex, is in trouble, and we learn about John’s background and how he became lord of the Underworld (gotta love the antiheroes). I’m not joking when I say Meg Cabot can tell a great story. Even though this book didn’t make me laugh like The Princess Diaries series and I’m not cheering on a kickass heroine like in the Airhead series or in Teen Idol, I still got sucked into the story.

There is a lot of angst in this. Again, maybe I’m getting older and noticing more, or maybe it’s different from the others. But Pierce can be full of melodrama and sometimes she just seems so clueless. Why would a kid who is clearly from nineteenth century know what a cell phone is, for instance? Or did Pierce really think that only pomegranates trapped a person in the Underworld? Yeah, that’s what Persephone ate, but all of the versions of Persephone and Hades that I read clearly said food from the Underworld, and I’ve had to read several versions throughout middle and high school. You would think someone dating the lord of the Underworld would bother to actually read the legend.

John’s crew irritated me as well. They don’t really care when Pierce tells them that her cousin is dying. Granted, they are in the Underworld and Pierce has her priorities a little topsy-turvy too. I mean, her cousin could be dying but she didn’t want to inconvenience a little kid by making him go get John? Really? But the crew seemed to think it was absurd for John to save Alex, even though they thought it was perfectly natural when he saved a woman from getting her purse snatched. The misplaced priorities are irking.

The irrational decisions I can actually forgive. Every teenager makes dumb decisions at times and Pierce thinking her parents are better off with her missing isn’t the craziest idea ever. And even though John thought trapping Pierce forever in the Underworld and away from her family wouldn’t upset her was absurd, I can understand why he took her there. He didn’t think there was a way to stop the Harpies, after all, and he was scared out of his mind that she would be hurt.

Actually, John is a pretty stable love interest for a teen romance. I don’t think he and Pierce have the healthiest relationship, but he’s not controlling, easily jealous, or misogynist. Without a doubt he’s crazy about Pierce and if she had actually expressed wish to be left alone, without changing her mind an hour later, I think he would have.

And even though nineteen is too old to really get into the love story, the Greek mythology and storytelling can still be appreciated. Greek nerds and teen girls alike will love the Abandon series, and Underworld will not disappoint Meg Cabot’s die-hard fans.

Pick up this book at your favorite local bookstore.

 

 

 

The Vampirates by Justin Somper

Most people have read books about vampires. And most people have read books about pirates. But there’s only one series about vampires who are pirates. Vampirates by Justin Somper is a series about two twins, Grace and Connor Tempest who sail away from the town they grew up in when their father died. But only a few miles off shore they get caught in a storm that tears apart their ship and separates them.

Connor Tempest finds himself on pirate ship where he becomes part of the crew, sailing under the pirate rebel, Captain Molucco Wrathe. He’s admired for his athletic ability and quickly becomes accepted by the crew.

But Grace finds herself on a ship where she is kept in the dark and secrets swarm around her. She finds herself sleeping an unusually large amount of time and is only visited by one person: Lorcan Furey, the boy who rescued her. But from her room she hears snatches of conversations about things that make no sense at all. But as her brother was gifted with athletic ability, Grace was gifted with intelligence and it doesn’t take long for her to piece together the truth: she’s on a ship full of civilized vampires, run by a mysterious captain who hides his face beneath a mask.

Somper makes a truly original story where pirates are friendly, and have a government of their own, and vampires live on a ship and feed on volunteers. The Tempest twins must battle a rebel uprising, secrets, petty rivals, and reunite with each other as they figure out the mystery of the vampirates and their father’s mysterious connection with them.

This story is perfect for anyone looking for an intriguing fantasy adventure, whether they like pirates, vampires, or both.

You can find the first book in the series here: http://www.indiebound.org/book/