Release Date: April 16, 2011
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.
There's something definitely dramatic about Meg Cabot's writing! It's been a while since I've read anything by her, so it took a couple of chapters to accustomed to it again. I'm not the biggest fan of Meg Cabot's writing but I do prefer her style over those of some other authors. It may be dramatic, but it's relatively approachable and reads smoothly. I will say, however, that the vocabulary in this novel was really repetitive; the words "incident," "accident," "cemetery sexton," among others appeared over and over again.
The story is told predominantly in flashbacks, and I think this works for Abandon. As the story progresses, readers wonder what happened in Pierce's past and who is that John character? Readers are drawn in and kept interested by the flashbacks that present the readers with more insights to Pierce's past. Although I for one believe that the flashback style works for the novel, the actual story moved really rather slowly. It dragged at points, rehashing the past several times and nothing new happened for pages.
This book was marketed as a 'modern retelling of Persephone' of sorts but it hardly felt like that to me. I'm a big fan of mythology and spent plenty of time as a kid reading about them and I studied Latin (and to a lesser extent, Greek) in high school so I had an opportunity to re-visit and study the famous Greek and Roman mythology then. So when I heard about Abandon, I was excited! I love mythology from all cultures and I haven't read very many modern re-tellings of Persephone, but unfortunately, I was rather disappointed in this aspect. While Abandon has a few elements from the myth of Persephone (an underworld of sorts and a death deity) I would hardly call it a modern retelling of Persephone. Maybe it'll become more of a retelling in the later books in the trilogy, but book one, Abandon, definitely did not feel like a retelling.
The romance in the novel didn't seem very strong either; there was some mild chemistry between Pierce and John but John seemed really distant, a jerk at times, and inconsistent so it was hard to gauge the actual romantic interest between the two. But of course when the two finally kiss, the whole world is blocked out except for the kiss, everything else is forgotten, and he's so dark and mysterious but romantic, etc. etc. etc. which seemed cliche to me. I was hoping Meg Cabot was going to whip up a much stronger and steamy romance between the two leads, but alas, it was not so.
This last point might sound a bit nit-picky, but I for one was not very impressed by the name of Pierce's love interest, who also happens to be the aforementioned death deity: John. It sounds a bit, well, underwhelming and hardly impressive. With Meg Cabot's signature dramatic style of writing, I would have thought she would've picked a name that was a tad more impressive. Or at least one that matched the leading character (who's name was much more unique): Pierce.
I definitely have mixed feelings about this book; overall, I enjoyed it at points. However, none of the characters seemed very strong to me and not as memorable as those from Meg Cabot's other novels. Characters like Samantha from Meg Cabot's All-American Girl and Mia from The Princess Diaries definitely had a louder, more vibrant personality and Pierce seemed almost tame compared to Samantha and Mia. I'm not a fan of Pierce, though there are two more books left in this trilogy that could change my opinion! I found her a rather weak character who was careless, uncaring and not exactly the brightest bulb in the bunch. I'm hoping the trilogy gets better, though I'd have to say overall, I was disappointed with Abandon. I guess when you're already a best-selling author who is loved by so many fans, expectations are higher and unfortunately, I don't feel that Meg Cabot quite lived up to that expectation this time.
Overall: 3 out of 5
Plot: 3 stars
Characters: 2.75 stars
Writing: 3.5 stars
Cover: 5 stars