Underworld- by Meg Cabot
Author: Meg Cabot
Rating: 5/10 (What this means)
Series: Number 2 in the Abandon series – it IS necessary to read in order of publication.
Recommendation: Eh, read at your own risk
My Reading Method: Library Hardback- 1st edition
(If you are in the Madisonville area, check the catalog here and use the library!)
From Meg’s site:
Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.
“Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera isn’t dead. Not this time.
But she’s been taken by John Hayden, lord of the Underworld, to the dim, twilit world between heaven and hell, where the spirits of the deceased wait before embarking upon their final journey.
John claims it’s for her own safety, to protect her from the Furies who yearn for vengeance against him. But John may have reasons of his own for wanting to keep Pierce close…
And soon Pierce learns that while she might be safe from the wrath of the Furies in the Underworld, the people she loves back on earth are not. Can she convince John to release her in order to save the life of someone in her family? Or will the price he asks her to pay for her freedom turn out to be too high?”
Wow, sounds pretty awesome, right? And look at that cover! It’s gorgeous! I love the blue, the font, and the model is beautiful. Meg even talks about how she chose a cover here on her blog.
So, down to the book… At the end of Abandon, we find Pierce back in the Underworld, but this time still completely alive. The sequel picks up right where Abandon left off. (I also have a review of Abandon that you can find here… if you just need a quick refresher, I didn’t particularly like it… at all.)
I know I said I wouldn’t read the next one. I know I know I know. But, come on, I have been in love with Meg’s books for forever and honestly, she can have a bad one once in a while and I’ll still forgive her. Lately, she’s only putting out a book or two per year and I need my fix!! Cabot Books= Crack for Bekah.
So yeah, I lied before and totally read this book.
I want to kill Pierce (I still love her name!!) a lot less in this book, which is a MAJOR improvement. I really think Meg listened to her fans. In Abandon, Pierce needed a serious punch in the face. She wasn’t a strong leading lady AT ALL. In Underworld, she seemed to grow up a bit. Pierce didn’t blame her father for her problems and seemed to take responsibility for her actions. Sure, she is still my least favorite of all Meg’s ladies, but I think it’s just because she isn’t as outgoing/funny/clever/etc that I usually find with MC’s books. But hey, maybe diversifying is a good thing once in a while.
So, overall Pierce wasn’t as annoying, though I still didn’t particularly love her.
On to John… Um… I swear I like the whole ‘bad boy’ thing (or in this case, ‘wild’), but if I’m being completely critical, the relationship between Pierce and John is a little troubling. Almost to the point of abusive. He lies/tricks her into staying with him, but justifies it with ‘I thought you knew’ (Remember- Persephone myth, you eat in the Underworld, you stay in the Underworld). Oh, right, and he has a temper. Lovely. What all teenage girls should look for: a moody, violent boyfriend that uses deception to keep a seventeen year old girl around.
Also, I only believed they loved each other because I was told they loved each other. I didn’t really see it. I’m not sure it was believable.
(** Might be a SPOILER, I have a hard time deciding what is a spoiler and what isn’t**)
Aaaaaaaaand they totally have sex. It isn’t descriptive sex, but it’s there. NOT that I mind when characters have sexy time (I’ve read plenty of adult novels) but since I didn’t particularly think the Pierce and John loved each other it seemed abrupt and haphazardly thrown in. Now, sex in MC’s books isn’t exactly new (remember the American Girl books?) but she generally stays away from the topic. Most of her characters are happy to be virgins (and really, that’s completely fine, nothing against virgins) so in this case, Pierce really steps outside the traditional MC mold.
Now, on to the plot….
I wasn’t impressed. The entire book is based on trying to protect her cousin Alex. Seriously. The ENTIRE book is about searching for/finding/warning off Alex. That’s it. That’s the plot. All of it. When I was done I couldn’t really believe that was the entire thing. (Sure, there are other little bits that leave you hanging for the next book… and there WILL be a next book. No way not to at this point.) In all… this was a filler book…
So far the books:
Abandon- setting the story up.
So where is my story? I’m seriously hoping book three blows my mind. I need it. Come on, Meg! Make me LOVE this story!
What I did love about this book: (You might consider these spoilers)
1) Mr. Smith has a partner named Patrick. I loved that Cabot throws in an array of mismatched characters.
2) No more ‘Check yourself before you wreck yourself’. It was only said once. Thank god. And no tassels. I was sooooo over the tassels in Abandon.
3) MC really is an awesome writer. LOVE her. And while this book seems to have lost a bit of her traditional ‘flavor’ she’s still there…
So, I didn’t love anything major. And that’s depressing. I honestly don’t have anything WONDERFUL to say about the book, but neither do I have a lot of the negative criticism I had for Abandon.
What could have made this book better?
Well, I’m glad you asked….
1) The Pierce/John relationship needs some work. I don’t really know why they like each other. John says it’s because she is caring and good blah blah blah, but I didn’t SEE that. Give me something to work with. The wanting to help hurt animals regardless of her own wellbeing is stupid. Not caring. It makes me think Pierce is unintelligent.
John also needs to lie a lot less. Please turn this into a healthy relationship.
(At this point, I like to remind myself again that this is a Persephone/ Hades retelling- and I’m sure THAT wasn’t healthy. But this is for teenagers.)
2) For me to like the book the story it needs this sort of conclusion:
An event happens that shakes everything up.
Add a twist! (Underworld was completely predictable)
A main character does something SMART to fix the problem.
Yup, that’s just about it. Through this series, I think my problem stems with the characters making very poor decisions. I can’t like anyone if they’re being stupid. Who likes stupid characters? Not me.
3) Plot. I need more of an adventure here. This is the UNDERWORLD. Why is it so dull? Surely there can be some sort of action. I mean, I totally watched Xena growing up. I know there is plenty of material to work with.
So… overall, I give this book a mediocre rating. I would certainly not choose this as my first MC book. If you want a good book try The Mediator series, Queen of Babble, Avalon High, or really ANYTHING else written by Cabot.
I leave this with a hopeful note! I certainly have high expectations for book three!
You can also find this review on Amazon and on Goodreads