Release Date: May 1st 2011 (for Australia)
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Add it: Goodreads
New from #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot, a dark, fantastical story about this world . . . and the underworld.
Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.
But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.
Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.
But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.
This is my first time reading a Meg Cabot book. Gaspshock, only my first? I know, terrible! I actually have the first couple of books in the Mediator series which I'm really excited about starting because I've read such good things about them. While I did have a few issues with Abandon, overall I found myself sucked into this story.
We learn straight up that Pierce had an NDE - near death experience. She died, she had a Underworld encounter and then she came back to life again. After her NDE, she apparently changed a lot. We're given hints to something that happened at her previous school, something bad she did, bad enough to get her kicked out. So now, two years after her NDE, Pierce and her mother return to Isla Heusos, where her mother grew up. But before she's barely even settled down in her new home, Pierce is reunited with the very person she's been trying to forget: John Hayden. Ruler of the Underworld.
I loved the story and atmosphere Meg created. The actual plot was really intriguing. I mean, you have a general idea that this will have some similarities to the Hades/Persephone myth, but while Meg does draw on them for inspiration, she manages to add her own original spin to the story which I really enjoyed. I loved learning about what happened between Pierce and John, particularly discovering more about John and his past. Pierce thinks about him a lot, so he is mentioned throughout the entire book, but I wish we had actually seen him more often! There are multiple encounters - both in past and present - but you're left wanting more, because he's such an intriguing character. His role in the Underworld, his backstory that lead to the position he's in today and the underlying emotions that you glimpse bubbling away behind the stony facade he sometimes wears. I'm hoping for a lot more John in the sequel!
The main problem I had with this was the way it was told. There are so many flashbacks to the past throughout the book and they just spring on you at random times - one minute she's in the middle of a scene in the present and suddenly we have two chapters worth of what happened in the past - then cut straight back to the present scene. Or else we're not given the full story of what happened on say, a drive home until ten pages later when Pierce reflects back on a conversation from that drive home. I just wasn't really a fan of the constant back-and-forth and the eluding to events that happened in the past and having to wait to find out what really happened. But while it frustrated me, I was still wanted to find out what happened. So I'm definitely not saying to avoid this book - as I said above, I really enjoyed the plot and characters, but it's execution frustrated me a times.
I think the ending managed to pull in me much more because by then we're mostly shot of the flashbacks and can focus on what is happening NOW. There are revelations and twists, one which actually surprised me! Maybe I'm totally blind, but I didn't see it coming until the last minute. Looking back, I can see there were clues sprinkled throughout the novel, had I paid more attention to the smaller things. Overall, it was an enjoyable novel with a great plot, the only drawback being choppy past/present storytelling at times. I'll definitely be continuing on in the trilogy, I need to see what's going to happen next and there also a few things regarding her cousin that weren't revealed by the end of the book.
Abandon is an enticing first book in a trilogy that will no doubt appeal to past Cabot fans and all lovers of greek mythology or paranormal romance. Some great characters, intriguing plotline and darkly satisfying atmosphere.