September 1st 2011
Macmillan Children's Books
Last year, Pierce died - just for a moment. And when she was in the space between life and death, she met John: tall dark and terrifying, it’s his job to usher souls from one realm to the next.
There’s a fierce attraction between them, but Pierce knows that if she allows herself to fall for John she will be doomed to a life of shadows and loneliness in the underworld. But now things are getting dangerous for her, and her only hope is to do exactly what John says . . .
I have really mixed feelings about this book. I was pretty excited about finally getting around to reading it, because Meg Cabot + Mythology = win, right? I did enjoy it, but I also felt kind of let down by it, because I felt like it lacked a lot of the things that I loved in the few Meg Cabot books that I have read.
I really liked the whole concept of the book, because despite the fact that there are quite a few books out there based on the Hades/Persephone myth, this is the first that I've read. I really love Greek Mythology, so I'm always excited to read a book based on it. I liked how even though you know what myth it's based on, it still feels like a while new story, partially because it's set ow and is all modern and stuff, and partially because it kind of is a whole new story. You're not really sure who John is and how he got there, or why Pierce is so special (there MUST be more of reason than the ones given in this book.)
I think, though, that Pierce was the main reason why I found it so hard to really like this book, though. Just from the first chapter, I found myself being really frustrated with her. She got better as I read on, but it really annoyed me how she'd always allude to something that happened and then not explain until, like, 4 chapters later. And she really lacked the snark that I love so much in the Mediator series. Instead of seeming clever and witty and what I'd thought she'd be, she seemed kind of dense. She felt to me more like a bland, paranormal heroine than what I was expecting, and that was a bit of a disappointment to me. But lots of other people did like her, so it might just be me being picky. And she wasn't a bad character! She was really nice and she cared about the other people in the book a lot, and I guess she did die a little bit which should get a bit of sympathy from me, right?
John was a bit of a problem for me, as well, unfortunately. Especially at the end of the book. (spoilerific rant) He freaking kidnaps Pierce and takes her to the Underworld, without her permission, I may add, before she could even tell her parents (because now that she's in the Underworld, she's disappeared from the surface and therefore, missing. And then he proceeds to tell her that It's All For The Best and that It's Totally Okay For Me To Kidnap You Because I LOVE You and This Is The Only Way I Have To Protect You. Really dude? NOT OKAY. You do not get to kidnap people against their will! And then try and make it out like THEY'RE the one making a big fuss out of it! And she wouldn't even be getting attacked by Furies if it wasn't for you, you silly. (spoilerific rant OVER.) Okay. Glad I got that all off of my chest. I did find him quite intriguing, though, and I want to learn more about his background, like how he got to being where he is today and why, and also I want to learn more about the actual Underworld, which I'm hoping is something that will happen in book two, given its name.
I really liked the Underworld, actually, and my favourite parts of the book were probably those that were set there. Apart from that whole thing that I just ranted about. But I thought tat it was the most interesting part of the book, definitely, and I'm hoping that we get more about the whole idea that there's loads of different Underworlds. I think it'd be really interesting. I also like the whole thing with the diamond, and I want to learn more about that as well.
I did think, though, that the book was just a set up for the rest of the series. A lot of it was all backstory, and I think that it may have been more interesting if instead of all these things being recounted, that they were told without the whole retrospective aspect. I think that then I could've felt more involved with the book, instead of feeling like a spectator to Pierce's memories for the first 100 or so pages. I also think that it would've added a much greater sense of threat, because for this whole book it felt like there wasn't a threat at all, until the last 50 pages. There's no indication that any one is out to get Pierce apart from when John talks to her in cemetery at the beginning, and even then, because it's all flahsback you just forget about it!
Despite my issues with this book, I did still enjoy it and I'm curious enough about the world which Meg Cabot has built to want to read the rest of the series.