Book Review: Underworld by Meg Cabot

Everything that first seduced me when I read Abandon by Meg Cabot is back and then some in the new sequel, Underworld. Cabot’s sexy and imaginative retelling of the Persephone story gets intensified, with higher stakes, more romance, more risk, and more to love.

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 is being held against her will in the dim, twilit world between heaven and hell, where the spirits of the deceased wait before embarking upon their final journey.

Her captor, John Hayden, claims it’s for her own safety. Because not all the departed are dear. Some are so unhappy with where they ended up after leaving the Underworld, they’ve come back as Furies, intent on vengeance…on the one who sent them there and on the one whom he loves.

But while Pierce might be safe from the Furies in the Underworld, far worse dangers could be lurking for her there…and they might have more to do with its ruler than with his enemies.

And unless Pierce is careful, this time there’ll be no escape.

The life-or-death stakes in Underworld are elevated, as Pierce and John navigate a tricky romance — and the even trickier plot laid before them by a group of Furies bent on revenge, and the added complications of her family’s turmoil back in the realm of the living. As much as I adored Abandon, the first book in this trilogy, I loved Underworld even more. Cabot has raised the stakes brilliantly, and in such a way that the added drama feels organic and not forced.

The sexual tension between Pierce and John oozes off the page, seducing the reader at every turn. And when these two aren’t heating things up, they’re busy dodging enemies, piecing together a potentially deadly problem for Pierce’s cousin Alex, and trying to figure out how to make their relationship work. After all, John’s lord of the Underworld and Pierce is a human girl. Not exactly an easy pairing.

And once again, Cabot has cleverly woven in tales of Greek mythology and the influence of Dante’s Inferno in a brilliantly complex way that is both entertaining and educational (my favorite combination). You will swoon with every page turn in Underworld  — up until it’s cliff-hanger ending that will have you clamoring for more. (Literally, I started screaming into my pillow when I got to the last page. My boyfriend was concerned.) Even the agony of such a twist is well-worth it, and I can’t wait to find out what happens in the final book, Awaken, when it comes out next year. In the meantime, grab yourself a copy of Underworld and prepare to be seduced.

Underworld is in stores May 8th.

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