Thursday, April 26, 2012

Review: Underworld

(Abandon Trilogy #2)
Meg Cabot
Paranormal Young Adult
336 pages
Scholastic Point
Available May 8th
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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.

Where Abandon introduced us to Pierce and catapulted us back and forth in time to help us piece together her relationship with a dark young man we really never got to know, Underworld grants us the extra time with John Hayden we were denied previously, allowing us to see glimpses of the man behind the Death Deity. Those who were slightly put off by the jumps in time in the first book will be pleased by the linear nature of this second installment, our time with John and Pierce spent entirely in the present as they attempt to sort through their feelings for one another as well as their roles in the Underworld. The focus of Underworld feels a bit more internal, the connection between John and Pierce moving to the forefront while the external threat of the Furies remains more static in nature, and as a result we’re given the opportunity to better know each of our protagonists as individuals.

Though it’s easy to like Pierce overall, her ability to take the fairly monumental changes in her life in stride something we can’t help but admire, our relationship with her can be rocky at times. She’s quick to speak her mind before fully thinking things through, often voicing a thought that hurts John by calling into question his life in the Underworld and the choices he’s forced to make as a result of his work, and she therefore spends a great deal of time apologizing to him for saying things she didn’t entirely mean. While anyone in her position would certainly have questions about John, his past, and his role in the Underworld, her continued inadvertent verbal cuts make the romance between the two of them feel extraordinarily one-sided on John's part, planting seeds of doubt in our minds as to whether or not they truly belong together. She says she loves him, but we don’t necessarily feel the intensity of those feelings the way we do with John, and we spend our time reading wishing she would provide proof of that love through gesture instead of word.

John shows a great deal of growth in this tale, finally allowing some personality to show through the brooding façade he’s so beautifully perfected as he charms Pierce and us with sweet teases and a rather dry sense of humor. He of course is still prone to rather volatile displays of temper when Pierce is threatened, but it’s obvious he’s making a concentrated effort to keep it in check as he fights every instinct he has and sends Pierce back to the surface despite the danger that awaits her there. He so badly wants Pierce to be happy with him, and while we can find fault with some of the methods he utilizes to protect her as well as his refusal to share too much about himself, we can understand his action-first talk-later approach given Pierce’s predilection for voicing her doubts about the two of them.

Overall, the plotline surrounding Pierce’s life in the Underworld and the battle with the Furies is secondary in this story to John’s history and his love for Pierce, giving us the feeling we’re not simply in the calm before the storm literally as a hurricane continues to make its way to Isla Huelos, but figuratively as well now that we know a little more about John himself.

Rating: 3.5-4/5

(I suffered from a bit of indecision when it came time to assigning a rating to this one. Some days certain things bothered me more than they did on others, so I'm giving a range:)


  1. Funny enough I was just as indececive when it came to rating the first book. I love Greek Mythology themed books and this one was no expection although I wished for more in the first book.
    I'm happy to see more of John in this book and now I'm actually eager to pick up the sequel.. (Which I had no intention to do, in light of my overfloating bookshelf!)

  2. I just skimmed your review because I still haven't read Abandon. 3.5 - 4 is usually the rating Meg Cabot gets from me. Try as I might, I usually don't love her books. Her characters tend to irritate me even though I like the plots.

  3. The range works PERFECTLY, Jenny! Sometimes it's just so hard to pick a rating for a book because there are so many depending factors, and you want to sort of compare it to other books at that level, but that's even HARDER (I've liked some books I rated 3.5 better than 4-rated books sometimes before!)... It's just so complicated! x) Abandon was only an okay read for me, but I'm actually still looking forward to reading this, even though Pierce was a little indecisive. John is such a sweetheart! ;)

    Beautiful review, Jenny! <3

  4. I have the first one in this series and I will read it some day. I do think they have the most beautiful covers.

    I totally think a range is a perfectly suitable way to rank a book. The rating the second I finish a book is often very different than the one it finally gets when I make my way to a computer.

  5. I adore that cover. I remember really liking the first one so Ill probably like this one too....likes usually fall in the 3 ratings anyway so cant wait. Glad you liked most of the book....and Ill be glad to get to know John a little bit more...:D

  6. I loved the first book - I read it on vacation so it was the perfect mindless read and guilty pleasure. I am excited to see where book two takes us. I'm glad there is more growth with John in this book. Oh, and I hear you about a hyphenated rating. I am forever second guessing myself with that. Anyway, thanks for the great review, Jenny!

  7. Danny - I really liked that we got to know John better in this one, I just wanted to feel Pierce's attraction to him a bit more. I was told it was there, but I didn't see it from her the way I did him:(

    Alison - This series is the first I've read by her and I really enjoy the books overall. Pierce frustrated me a bit in this one, but I love Greek mythology so much that it didn't detract from my enjoyment too much.

    Mimi - I just couldn't decide. Some days Pierce's actions got on my nerves more than others, so I couldn't choose a rating:) And I love John!

    Felicia - I've definitely changed my mind with ratings before:) The more I think about a book the more my opinion either strengthens or changes:)

    Tina - Isn't it gorgeous? Love. 3 ratings and 3.5 ratings are definitely books I liked as well, and ones I would recommend, just not as enthusiastically as a 4 or 5.

    Christina - I did too! And I still really enjoyed this one, learning about John was fantastic:) I just wanted more from Pierce in this one.

  8. Yeah, beautiful cover art. I don't think I've read anything by Meg Cabot yet, but this sounds cool. I'll have to keep it in mind when I finally get around to reading her. I used to be obsessed with Greek/Roman mythology when I was little, so I think I may enjoy these.

  9. Gah! Don't you hate it when there's that one book you just can't rate? Drives me a little insane(r). ;)

  10. I don't think I would mind that the plot takes a slight backseat in this book if it meant appreciating the characters more. Sometimes great character development is much more important to me. Awesome review, Jenny! I still have to read this first book but this sounds like a fairly good sequel. :)

  11. I can't wait to read this one Jenny! I was hoping that the next book would give us a bit more insight about John and that we could finally get to know him a lot more! Pierce comes across as slightly infuriating in your review I really hope she doesn't mess things up too much because I adore the enigmatic John even though he comes across as over protective a lot of the time! Great review!

  12. I love greek mythology themed books and I hope to study English Classics (mythology) in a few years time so Abandon really prompted me to read it. I did but I was disappointed but the premise of Underworld promised me more so I'm determined to see where this leads us.

  13. Jenny I agree rating a book is so subjective. I am always conflicted. I love the gorgeous cover of this one. Second I love mythology so I know I will like that aspect. I am glad that this is better than book one. I know Underworld wasn't highly rated.,Perhaps after reading this review I am inclined to pick this series up.

  14. I still need to read the first book in this series. I totally forgot about it until the other day when I realised the second book was about to release already! I can't keep up with all the books!

  15. I liked the first book but I definitely wanted to know more about John, so I'm glad we finally get to see some of his personality! I wasn't 100% on their relationship either though, they seem more volatile than anything. Hope that starts to change.
    Great review!

  16. Pam - I'm completely obsessed with Greek mythology, I was so happy when it seemed to be the new trend in YA books! We've moved on to mermaids a bit now, but there are still so me fabulous Greek mythology-based series out there.

    Amanda - It does. I struggled with it for a little while and then said screw it, I'm just giving a range:)

    Sam - I really enjoyed getting to know the characters better. It was a quieter read than the first book and I liked that about it:)

    Jasprit - Yay! Pierce could be frustrating at times in this one, but I loved John. He just wants her to be happy even though he doesn't about trying to earn that happiness in the right way:)

    Hazal - Me too! Looking forward to seeing what you think of this one!

    Heidi - It definitely is:) I enjoyed Abandon quite a bit, but I'm partial to Greek mythology.

    Leanna - I know! There are so many series out there I've wanted to start for months and I just keep getting distracted by new releases:)

  17. Laura - You definitely get a lot more John in this one which I was excited about! I still feel like their relationship is one sided and John's feelings are stronger, but maybe in the next and final book that will change:)

  18. I haven't read any Meg Cabot books. I've heard great things about her books, so I really want to read one soon.

  19. Great review! Ok I can't wait to learn more about John and seeing his love for Pierce will surely make my heart clench.

  20. A range is good, some days I feel like that too. One day it's one grade, another day another grade. I guess it just depends

  21. Home on the range...

    Well, if it had you thinking that much, it still was pretty entertaining! Oh and growth? I love character growth. Just for that, I know I want to read this one too. I still need to get a hold of that first book...

    1. LOL, Mel. Now I have that song stuck in my head. Thanks a lot! ;)

  22. Can you believe that I've never read anything by Meg Cabot?! Yes, I'm that lame.

    But I totally know that feeling about certain things bother you more, then less. I felt that way about The Immortal Rules. LOL

  23. I haven't read a Meg Cabot book in quite a while, but it looks like this will be the next one I'm going to read! Looks good. :)

    Check out my book blog/follow me sometime!

  24. It took me a bit to remember the plot of the first novel... I liked her take on the whole Hades & Persephone story and particularly liked John (though that name! So blah for such a cool character) so I'm excited about the story focusing more on John and his growth and love. The dynamics between John and Pierce--hum. Interested to see how that plays out.

  25. I am so behind Jenny! I still need to read the fist book! And I have it too! Thanks for sharing. Since it is a Hades and Persephone story I will definitely read it.

  26. I love Meg Cabot but I still haven't read the first book in the series which is why I skimmed this review. A 3.5-4 range is pretty solid for a sequel. Usually the middle books in the trilogy are more boring compared to books 1 and 3.

  27. "The focus of Underworld feels a bit more internal, the connection between John and Pierce moving to the forefront while the external threat of the Furies remains more static in nature."

    FINALLY. I like the idea of the Furies and all, but what did a girl have to do to learn more about these two?

    "...her continued inadvertent verbal cuts make the romance between the two of them feel extraordinarily one-sided on John's part, planting seeds of doubt in our minds as to whether or not they truly belong together."

    GREAT. Am I going to have to CHOKE a bish here? Pierce really doesn't need anymore reasons for me to dislike her.

    "...we can understand his action-first talk-later approach given Pierce’s predilection for voicing her doubts about the two of them."

    UH, YEAH. I'm totally sensing why holding back is necessary.

    I'm just so excited to learn more about John, and, in that, YOU HAVE REASSURED ME, Jenny!

  28. I got this book for free at RT! (Well, it only cost an almost $500 registration and a trip to Chicago I guess ha ha).

  29. I was hoping this one would be a little stronger than the last one. That's quite a range of liking it. What bothered you so much for a 3.5? Pierce? And was the whole real world dropped completely in this story? Because there was quite a bit going on in her life as I recall.


  30. I have Abandon but haven't read it yet. Ive heard such mixed things about it. But your mostly positive review of this has me thinking I oughta give it a try. Glad it was mostly good!

  31. I have to read this now! I liked Abandon, but not a big fan of it and now that you've gave a 3.5 rate it gives me more reasons to read this. Great review! =D

  32. Glad that this book lets readers get to know John more, and that the story has a more linear structure! Although, I think I might wait for my library to get this one.

    Nice review :)

  33. It's strange, Meg Cabot was one of my most favourite authors growing up (her Princess Diaries, Mediator, and 1-800-Where-R-You series will always have a part in the heart), but I have yet to read any of her recent stuff- I really must, because from the sounds of it, this series is not one to miss!