Author: Meg Cabot
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Greek Mythology
Publication Date: July 2, 2013
Source: eARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley
Synopsis: From #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot, the dark reimagining of the Persephone myth comes to a thrilling conclusion.
Death has her in his clutches. She doesn’t want him to let go.
Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera knew by accepting the love of John Hayden, she’d be forced to live forever in the one place she’s always dreaded most: the Underworld. The sacrifice seemed worth it, though, because it meant she could be with the boy she loves.
But now her happiness — and safety — are threatened, all because the Furies have discovered that John has broken one of their strictest rules: He revived a human soul.
If the balance between life and death isn’t fixed, both the Underworld and Pierce’s home back on earth will be wiped away. But there’s only one way to restore order. Someone has to die.
☆: 4/5 stars – A step up from previous books and a great ending for this series
Cabot’s Abandon trilogy has been a pretty severe departure from the more humorous fare fans like me are used to and at times, it’s been pretty up-and-down because of that. With the final entry in the series, Cabot steps it up with more action, some humor to spice things up a bit, and softening up John a bit when he’s been one of the more troubling elements of the series because of how he behaves. If only the first two books could have been a little more like Awaken!
Pierce is one of the weaker parts of the novel because she’s got a laser focus on reviving John while saying and thinking the most outrageous things. John dies and she’s more distraught over that than what his death does to the Underworld. The flow of souls to their final destinations has stopped completely, the Fates are gone, the Furies have destroyed the boats used to ferry souls, dead birds are raining from the sky alongside a rain of blood, but her major concern as the sole ruler of the Underworld now? Her boyfriend is dead. GAH.
Her cousin Alex (whose near-death experience has turned him into a very annoying character) even rightfully calls her out on having a one-track mind that’s focused on John, but he gets shut down. No! He’s right! All she thinks about is John, John, John and occasionally her friends and family. If she didn’t have a one-track mind set to John, she’d care more about what his death was doing to the Underworld she ruled up until he came back (don’t even worry about that giving away any twists because it all happens pretty early).
John’s cut it very close in the past, being put one word away from being a guy readers don’t want Pierce to be with because he’s so overpossessive, awful, etc. Awaken softens him up a bit, which was something unexpected! His interactions with Pierce’s parents are hilarious, especially how each parent reacts after John shows off and uses lightning to set the carpet on fire. He’s such a strange mix of overpossessive, creepy, and hilariously anachronistic that I can hardly figure out what to make of him.
In fact, those interactions with Pierce’s parents make it so apparent how hilarious and fun this series could have been if written in the more humorous style of Cabot’s Mediator series (which I swear by because they’re never not fun). There could have been so much lampshade-hanging and genre-savvy jabs at YA paranormal romance, but taking the serious route (well, semi-serious, since things get a lot funnier in this installment; the evil tassels also make a short return) killed it a bit. It’s downright painful to see how great a book can be but know there’s nothing you can do about it.
However, some major contradictions riddle the story. For instance, Pierce makes a big deal out of what John says to her before his early-on and temporary death. This is the exact quote, even: “If only I’d realized then that I’ll be back were the last words I was ever going to hear him say (ARC, p. 55).” The word “ever” needs to be emphasized because it’s so final, but you know what’s not final? What happens to John. He comes back to life. Why does Pierce (who tells the story in past tense and reflects upon what happened to her) say “I’ll be back” were the last words he ever said when they quite clearly aren’t and she knows it as she tells us her story? It’s so blatant that I can only let this slide as an ARC error.
Then there’s also the matter of Thanatos, the personification of death and something of an antagonist. He’s originally described as evil and cutting down large armies with ease and such, but later in the novel, it’s stated his personality changes depending on who he’s possessing. Hoping this is another ARC error because those are two very different characterizations of the same person/entity.
Despite Pierce’s lack of priorities and those big contradictions, Awaken became the high point of the series and it’s a little sad to see it end. If readers like Abandon even a little, it’s worth reading on to get to this book.