I confess, it was the gorgeous cover that first attracted me to Meg Cabot’s Abandon, the first in a new trilogy, but it was the concept — a modernized retelling of the Persephone story — that really had me intrigued. When I finally cracked open the pages of this book, I was not disappointed. Not only did I discover a thrilling new paranormal YA, but I found a smart book that drew on both Greek mythology and Dante’s Inferno.
Abandon tells the story of 17-year-old Pierce, who is struggling along nearly two years after she died and came back to life. Because when she died, Pierce didn’t see a “white light” like so many other Near-Death-Experiences report. Instead, she found herself in the Underworld, whisked away by the mysterious and handsome John Hayden. When she escapes — and returns to life — John follows her. And then, bad things start happening. Her rocky history with John makes Pierce even more nervous when she moves with her mother to an island off the coast of Florida, with hopes of making a new start — and John shows up there, too. So what’s his deal, anyway? And is he really the one she’s in danger from, after escaping the Underworld?
Cabot has a true gift for keeping her readers engaged. The way she’s written Abandon, with layers of mystery about Pierce’s past unfolding as events of the present move forward, makes it difficult to put the book down. As each chapter ends, it becomes harder and harder to stop reading — even the very ending of the book, which sets up nicely what’s to come in book 2 & 3, makes you long for more. True, it felt as if a few moments were rushed or glossed over — but not enough to detract from my enjoyment of the book as a whole.
Another thing that really makes Abandon such a delightful and addicting read is the cast of characters. Pierce is a refreshing heroine, with a unique past and an even more unique outlook on life, considering what she’s been through. Sure, she’s not perfect — she has some “dense” moments — but those imperfections make her a more believable character. As her potential paramour, we have the equally intriguing and frightening John Hayden. Much like Pierce, the I’m never sure if I want to make out with him or run away for my own safety. Nonetheless, I’m hooked and I can’t stay away. And though their appearances are far more brief, the supporting characters are equally engaging: Pierce’s family members, her classmates, the cemetery sexton, etc.
Enriching the text throughout the entire novel are the passages from Dante’s Inferno at the beginning of each chapter. Seeing Dante’s influence, and the influence of the Persephone myth, worked into the plot made Abandon an even richer and more rewarding reading experience.
As a whole, Abandon is a darkly complex and addicting mystery, filled with suspense, intrigue and romance — all elements sure to keep readers up into the wee morning hours until they, too, have fallen under its spell.
Abandon, the first in a new trilogy, is in stores TODAY!