Let’s face it, I’m in love with Meg Cabot.
For as long as I can remember, she’s been my literary idol. I spent my early teenage years on her message boards, chatting with her other fans, waiting for new books, and trying to be just like Meg. I think I’ve had this post bookmarked for an obscene amount of time, because somehow I was convinced that reading it would automatically help me write a book.
I think I first found out about her because of the Princess Diaries movies. You know, the first one with Anne Hathaway and that guy from Rooney. (Except that no one knew he was from Rooney then, but that’s beside the point. He was also replaced with a hotter, less hipster version in the next movie, a.k.a. Chris “You Will Always Be Fine” Pine, but that’s also not the point…) Then I started reading the Mediator series, fell in love with my first fictional character, Jesse, and I was a goner.
So naturally, since I’ve been a Meg Cabot fan for oh… over 10 years, I was thrilled when the sequel to Abandon (Meg’s series inspired by Persephone and Hades), Underworld, came out May 8th. I finished my finals that day and had pre-purchased it on amazon to read on my kindle because I was so excited. (Except that I kind of forgot that I needed to move this week too, so that got delayed…) and I just finished it once I finally got the time to actually sit down and read it.
Here’s the kicker: I think I may have outgrown Meg.
It breaks my heart, it truly does.
But lately, I’ve been reading so many other books that are written so differently, including the Fifty Shades trilogy, so maybe my brain just isn’t in the right mode to be reading Meg Cabot books.
***(Spoilers about this book below, stop reading now if you don’t want to know! If you have read it, keep reading and please let me know if you agree/disagree, I’d love to hear your opinion!)***
Things I’m not sure I liked/Things I found questionable:
1. I found the characterization to be a little bit lacking. I think I’m used to more complex characters. Although John’s back story was elaborated upon more in this book, I still thought there was something wrong with it.
2. I’ve read a lot of books where the characters just “fall” for each other without a whole lot of reason. With this one, they also did that, but I couldn’t quite place my finger on what I didn’t like, but I think it had something to do with the fact that they didn’t really show any emotion towards each other when they weren’t full on macking on each other… which only happened like three times in the entire book, all un prompted. It was almost as if Meg had been like “oh whoops I need to make sure I have them be sort of intimate here” and put it in. I mean, the intent that they do love each other is clear and it’s nice that they’re not quite as creepy as say, Bella and Edward (gag me for even referencing them, I’m sorry, but it’s what first came to mind) but all the connection we get is like “John was protective of her” and “I wanted to stay with John despite the fact that I had an entire family not in the underworld… and my dad has set a million dollar reward for finding me but I don’t really care because I’m just so excited to hang out with John and his dead crew of miscreants… wait, Pirates of the Caribbean, anyone?)
3. Meg’s signature wasn’t there. She always has such a biting wit that really gives her characters a kick, but for some reason, I found it a little bit dry in comparison with her previous work.
4. I was in shock that the characters had (non-explicit) sex. No, I am not twelve, but for some reason I feel like Meg has always skirted the topic SO much in books like this. Yes, the characters have chemistry. But all of the sudden we’re talking about demon baby possibilities and then having underworld sex after they basically miscommunicate the entire book? It was confusing. I literally had to read the passage and surrounding chapters twice to grasp that yes, the sex happened. (Update: Someone commented on my Amazon review of this book about this part, and how if I’ve read Fifty Shades, the sex wouldn’t be shocking. Let me re-state: these books are COMPLETELY different. It was the situation, the characters, and the author that shocked me. Not the sex.)
Things I did like:
1. The Setting: Isla de Huesos is based off of Key West, or so Meg said in an interview about the book. I really like the back story on how the island is “cursed” and “full of sin” so therefore John is needed to sort out the dead.
2. The Greek Mythology references. I’m a sucker for this. I mean, I’m a history major. Well, that’s one of my majors. I know that’s really more classics, but I’ve taken the Greek Mythology class. In college. I feel like that says something for my love of Greek Myths.
3. John. Who wouldn’t like John? He also sort of reminds me of my character, Olivia, but in male form because he’s so connected with death, and what comes after life.
4. Pierce. I loved and hated Pierce at the same time. I still can’t decide if I like her name, or if it irritates me. I think I like it? I’m not sure. Sometimes she has such strength that I really like in a lead female character, because I hate when they just whine and follow the guy around all day. Not interesting to read. The concept of her character is really intriguing I think. Also, I’d like to know who Meg based her father off of.
5. John and Pierce’s past. If their present relationship was anything like their past, it would be electrifying. WHY does it seem to not be continuing in the way that it was explained in Abandon!? I don’t understand. I just really hope it gets back to that in Awaken. Clearly, I’m a sucker for characters who have a past together. (CoughCharlieAndOliviaCough)
Despite my complaints, I did really like the book. It’s published, which is far more than anything I’ve ever achieved thus far, clearly, and it was written by Meg. So therefore, even though I was a little bit confused about why this wasn’t what I was expecting, it was still a very decent book, FAR better than tons of books on the market. It continued the story, and left me hanging and wanting to know what happened with John and Pierce. Even though I don’t think it was her absolute best, I will still be reading Awaken when it comes out. Happy reading!