Author: PJ Hoover
Genre: Paranormal, Post-apocalyptic, YA, Fairy Retellings, Mythology, PNR
Publication Date: June 18, 2013 (Tor Teen/Macmillan – North America)
Source: Publisher-provided ARC
Summary: Piper’s world is dying.
Each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles that threaten to destroy the earth. Amid this global heating crisis, Piper lives under the oppressive rule of her mother, who suffocates her even more than the weather does. Everything changes on her eighteenth birthday, when her mother is called away on a mysterious errand and Piper seizes her first opportunity for freedom.
Piper discovers a universe she never knew existed—a sphere of gods and monsters—and realizes that her world is not the only one in crisis. While gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper’s life spirals out of control as she struggles to find the answer to the secret that has been kept from her since birth.
☆: 3.5/5 stars – a great debut, not one to be missed – but could have been executed a bit better.
Review: Okay so, I definitely have to give Hoover credit for her high concept ideas here. The way she’s mixed global warming (“Global Heating Crisis”) and Greek myths is no less than impressive, and I really have to doff my hat to her on that one. However, the rest of the execution…well, let’s just say that our ideas drastically differ on how this could have been done with the exact same emotional payoff for the reader. Regardless of my nitpicking, “Solstice” is still a really interesting read and a different take on some of the most well-known Greek myths we have, and deserves the read. If you’re looking for something somewhat different in the paranormal/PNR department in YA, definitely check out “Solstice”.
Okay, biggest issues I had with this book: LOVE TRIANGLE/INSTALOVE. Seriously. didn’t need to be used, and could have been so much better without it. I see why she did it – it was the easiest and most direct way to get Piper into the place Hoover needed her to be to start dropping her Big Reveals. Which, to be fair, were pretty awesome. But the love triangle just felt really unnecessary, and it took up a good chunk of the book that I felt could have been edited out as well, because all it did was chart Shayne and Piper’s dates. Seriously. That was it. And I understand that was needed to bring them closer together, but…all of those pages just weren’t needed. I hope by the time this book goes to pub it gets one, good, clean final edit.
Plus Reese? Totally rapey. Totally. And while that fits his true identity/persona, Piper going along with it? It made me nauseous. And while she fought it (to a certain extent) – she went along with it way too long. And I honestly don’t think that’s a great message to put in a YA book, however unintentional it may be. As for the instalove – while Hoover very cleverly uses it to her advantage to help along one of the Greek myths embedded within this story, it’s still instalove for about 75% of the book – for both boys.
What I loved: the worldbuilding. Hoover definitely has this well in hand, and I definitely can’t wait to see what she does next with her craft in this area alone. The idea of the Global Heating Crisis being connected with Greek myths was really, really creative, and the world built around it was awesome. The sensory imagery and language also helped develop this world quite a bit, and the showing to telling ratio was blessedly more on the showing side. The idea of the protective domes really kinda freaked me out, but in a good way. The fact that humanity was once again tinkering with technology it fully didn’t get was great, and I felt that once everyone’s true identities were outed (including Piper’s) and all of those links made firm, obvious, and explicit it all made a lot of sense with the backstories that also came to light with these Big Reveals. This is definitely Hoover’s greatest strength (along with that intricate plot) within the technical area of things.
But, once again in the editing department, there were a few dangling threads left even after the Big Reveals are finished revealing themselves. As in, okay, yes, we understand this one councilman’s true identity and how that makes him want to shoot rockets at everything, but nothing is given further than that. One-sentence explanations, seeing as this guy, even while minor on the main cast, is still on the main cast and needed further explanation. There are a few of these areas all over the book, but mostly in that final 25% after everything has been revealed. Once again, I’m hoping one final edit will help tie up those dangling threads.
Piper and the rest of the characters are crafted well, though Hoover could improve (and not make her MC a doormat – sorry, it had to be said) in this area. Most of them felt 3D, but not the entire main cast. So, I’d rate this good, but could be better.
Final verdict? For those that love love triangles/instalove, you’re going to really dig this one. But I’d say even if you’re like me and are pretty sick of those two plot devices, give this book a try anyway – it’s definitely entertaining and interesting to say the least. “Solstice” is out from Tor Teen/Macmillan June 18, 2013 in North America, so be sure to check it out then!