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I Belong

Review: Abandon by Meg Cabot

Title: Abandon

Author: Meg Cabot

Genre: YA Paranormal

Series: Abandon Trilogy (Book 1)

Publication Date: April 26, 2011

Format: Hardcover, 320 Pages

ISBN-10: 0545284104 (Scholastic/Point)

ISBN-13: 978-0545284103 (Scholastic/Point)


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.

Quick & Dirty: Unfortunately, Abandon starts out slow and continues to drag.  The narrative is stilted and confusing, and the character development is minimal.  Many elements of the story fail to satisfy.

Opening Sentence: Anything can happen in the blink of an eye.

Excerpt: Chapter 1

The Review:

Pierce Oliviera had a near death experience.  Her parent’s relationship completely fell apart and her life is in utter turmoil.  She moves to Isla Huesos, the Island of Bones, with her mother.  Pierce’s near death experience is pretty strange, even for a near death experience.  John Hayden, her Underworld captor, tells her that she must remain with him.  Even though Pierce was able to escape the Underworld, she can’t seem to get rid of John Hayden, who wants to take her back to the Underworld.  Pierce struggles with her new surroundings, attending a new school and making new friends, all the while wondering why she’s so important to John Hayden.

Abandon is the first book in a new trilogy based on the Hades and Persephone myth.  Unfortunately, Abandon isn’t the dark reimagining that I expected.  I love Greek Mythology, so I had high expectations.  Abandon has an interesting premise, but the story never lives up to its potential.  It’s repetitive, slow, and somewhat uneven in developing its characters’ motivations.

Pierce Oliviera, our narrator, doesn’t tell a compelling story.  The narrative voice is confusing, distracting, and many of the characters fail to make you care about them.  I think the story suffers largely because of its structure and its execution fails to deliver.  The story is told out of sequence, alternating between past and present events.  The bevy of flashbacks are hard to follow.  You never get a sense that you have a grasp on the timeline of events or their importance.  The flashbacks never seem to have a real ending or resolution, yet they move onto the next bit of sparse details.  Pierce isn’t a particularly bright, likable, resourceful or practical heroine.  She was always a day late and a dollar short in arriving to the correct conclusions.

Abandon also lacks real action.  I found myself wondering when something truly exciting or relevant was going to happen.  I was hoping for anything to move the plot forward, anything to keep the reader engaged.  The worldbuilding and mythology never quite gets off the ground.  There isn’t any real connection or romance between Pierce and John.  He has very little real presence in this book and what little exposure he did get in the book didn’t leave a lasting impression. John feels somewhat tacked on and underdeveloped.

Overall, Abandon isn’t a dark journey into or out of the Underworld.  Some readers might have a hard time establishing a connection with the characters, and this story is all build-up with no pay-off.  Many important plot elements are simply revealed too late to be effective.  As far as retellings go, Abandon departs so much from its source material that it ends up having little to do with the Hades and Persephone myth, leaving the reader feeling abandoned.

Notable Scene:

All I said was “Hey” in an attempt to get the rider’s attention…just as he was shouting at everyone in the other line to stay where they were — an order they seemed cowed by the harshness of his tone into obeying.

I had no idea such a brutal tone could come from the sweet man I remembered — the one who’d made a bird come back alive — from my grandfather’s funeral.  I stood there paralyzed with fright…

…until the next thing I knew, charcoal black hooves were slashing the air just inches from my head as the horse reared, snorting in outrage.

Then I ducked, afraid for my life, throwing my hands over my face to protect my eyes.  A second later, those enormous hooves came exploding down again, spraying bits of sand everywhere, and I was diving for safety.

That’s when a noise like the loudest thunderclap I’d ever heard filled the cavern.  I wasn’t sure if it was a real thunderclap or the sound of the horse’s body as it crashed onto the beach, one of its back legs having slipped in the sand beneath it.

A male voice shouted something.  When I looked up from where I’d crouched in an effort not to be killed, I realized the shout came from the rider.  He’d cried out the horse’s name — Alastor, as near as I could tell — and was kicking his boots from the stirrups as the horse scrambled back to its feet.

It was only then that I realized — with a physical shock that jolted me nearly as much as the horse’s violent reaction had — that this was no nightmare.  If it had been, I’d have woken by now.  I wouldn’t be tasting sand in my mouth.

And the man I’d met the day of my grandfather’s funeral wouldn’t have suddenly been standing over me, staring down at me with silver eyes that held not the slightest hint of recognition…or humanity.

The Abandon Trilogy:

1. Abandon

2. Underworld

You can visit Meg around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

FTC Advisory: Scholastic provided me with a copy of Abandon.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.  In addition, I don’t receive affiliate fees for anything purchased via links from my site.

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Review: Abandon by Meg Cabot, 8.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
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One Response to “Review: Abandon by Meg Cabot

  1. LizNo Gravatar

    I’m sorry to hear that this one is disappointing :( I may still give it a try, though, as I love Meg Cabot.

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