ABANDON is the first book in Meg Cabots latest YA trilogy, a retelling of the Hades and Persephone Greek myth. Unfortunately, I have found myself less and less satisfied with Cabots books, and ABANDON, while marginally better than Cabots Airhead series, still uses too many of her usual writing techniqueslittle forward action, a heavy emphasis on flashbackto endear itself to me completely.
I like Pierce: she is, in my opinion, a little mellower than many of Cabots protagonists. And at the beginning of ABANDON I was reminded very much of earlier Meg Cabot books that I loved, such as All-American Girl. Pierce displays a sense of poise that may or may not be the result of her constant encounters with near-death experiences, but nevertheless is very appealing. I even have a tiny little crush on John, whos protective but not overbearingly so, and really very sweet in his interest in Pierce.
It was the way the story was presented, however, that didnt gel with me. Practically every other chapter is a flashback. Granted, they are very important flashbacks, explaining how Pierce first encountered John and showing her subsequent (unwanted, but lifesaving) encounters with him and the troubles he has caused for her. However, why does the story have to be presented half in flashback? Pierces backstory was so much more interesting than her present story of being the new student at her school, making new friends (or nemeses) of questionable characterization, and slowly uncovering her familys very melodramatic secret. Why couldnt the story simply be presented chronologically? I think it mightve made for a more engaging read, instead of my being frustrated that, once again, Meg Cabot was resorting to cliff-hangery comments that are supposed to pique readers interest and have us reading frantically to figure out whatever happened, but instead feels like trickery, a manipulation of our emotions.
Overall, though, I think ABANDON will be a great read for younger readers, particularly those who have read much of Cabots books or other paranormal reads. It has an interesting pair of lead characters and decently good writing. I just couldnt fully get behind the awkward story structure.
I found Abandon hard to get into. The jumping between flashbacks and the present made the story confusing and a little frustrating to read. Once the flashbacks stopped, the book seemed to flow better and was much more enjoyable to read. Format aside, I think the idea was inspired and very intriguing. I am looking forward to the next book in the trilogy!
I suppose it had to happen sooner or later. I finally came across a book, a whole series actually, by Meg Cabot that I really dont like. Abandon, which is based on the myth of Persephone the Greek Goddess of the Underworld, just didnt do it for me.
The story centers around Pierce Oliviera, a teenage girl who has a near death experience. The book loosely covers the following two years through flashbacks, which was my first problem: too much jumping around. Normally I dont mind flashbacks in a book. They are an important tool to add structure and interest to a story. Unfortunately the flashbacks in Abandon seemed oddly placed to me. Add this to the fact that I took two whole weeks to read the book (my problem) and I had a difficult time keeping track.
My second problem had to do with the tone of the book. I was interested to see how Cabot treated the dark subject matter of death and the Underworld. She has done dark before in Jinx and The Mediator series which I enjoyed very much. However what made these previous books work were the heroines who faced the dark subject matters of danger and death head on with feisty determination. Unfortunately Pierce Oliviera did not embody the typical Meg Caboty spunk and her attempts at perky humor just fell flat.
Given Pierces situation I guess I cant blame her. The poor girl did die, visit the Underworld and then came back to life which sounds pretty traumatizing. Not only that but the next two years are fraught with creepy and dangerous experiences that she narrowly escapes thanks to John, the mysterious guy she met in The Underworld, who may or may not be into her. That said, I still had a hard time feeling sympathetic for Pierce. She came off as too victimized for me.
In loyalty to Meg Cabot I am planning to finish the series. In fact I have already read book 2, Underworld, which I did find a little better. Full review is pending.
If you are interested in Greek mythology, particularly the myth of Persephone, I highly recommend these books. Also a bit of practical advice: read the books in large chunks of time so you dont get lost in all the flashbacks.