Monday, December 3, 2012

Book 9: Abandon

Book 9: Abandon
Abandon, by Meg Cabot

17-year-old Pierce just wants to start the new school year at her mom’s alma mater in Florida as easily as possible. She doesn’t want to ruin her mom’s life any more difficult that it already is, but that’s hard when nothing has been the same since Pierce died. Two years prior, Pierce died in a freak swimming pool accident in February. It led to the end of her parents’ marriage – and to being claimed as the consort for a minor death deity, John. Pierce escaped from John’s castle in his underworld and returned to the land of the living. But from that moment on, bad things kept happening around her because the Furies are after her, and John shows up in the nick of time to rescue her from them.

Back in Florida, Pierce deals with trying to get off on the right foot. Unfortunately, the Furies and John are still right there with her. She navigates her new high school with Alex, her cousin who has lived with their grandmother since his father went to prison. But the popular kids try to befriend her so that they can use her gated community for an illegal school tradition, and when she goes along with it she alienates Alex. In the midst of this normal-high-school behavior, the cemetery sexton finally explains to her who John is. She makes the connection between their situation and that of Hades and Persephone, and learns that the Furies want to kill her to pain John because they hate him. Shortly after learning the truth, Pierce realizes that she loves John.

But knowing doesn’t help Pierce. The Furies kill a school official because she was in the cemetery when and where Pierce usually was, and Alex’s father is blamed. Then, Pierce’s grandmother shows up at the school to take Pierce home. She knows something is wrong, though, and discovers that her grandmother had been an embodiment of the Furies for a few years. Just in time to save her, John appears, and whisks them down into the Underworld. This time, though, Pierce can’t escape, but she desperately wants to.

Use of Myths:
Unlike anything else I have read for this blog so far, Abandon focuses on death deities, specifically the story of Hades and Persephone. John is a minor death deity, in charge of the Underworld in the Florida Keys, and represents Hades. Pierce is a living girl who dies for a short period of time and then John keeps showing up, going back for her. However, since John has fallen in love with Pierce, the Furies want to kill her to make him miserable. Their love in the afterlife reflects the story of Hades and Persephone, which Meg Cabot refers to regularly.

Their relationship demonstrates the starcrossed lovers archetype. They cannot stay away from each other, as if fate is drawing them together. At the same time, their relationship appears doomed. In this case, the Furies wish to kill Pierce in order to get to John. The Furies play the archetype of the villain, as we know that they are bad but they use cunning to remain hidden until the end.

Past novels have featured the Greek gods, but none have done anything seriously with death deities, even Hades. The death deity point of view differs, but they still focus on the universe of the Greek gods. When Pierce learns about the death deities, she hears all about the stories of the Greek gods. They serve as the basis of Abandon, demonstrating the connection between this book and the other stories of Greek myths.

Despite being significantly darker and more mature than what else I have read, Abandon is a fun read. The tale of death – and love in the afterlife – stands out from other stories with a myth basis and would appeal to those readers who are attracted to the idea of an immortal man inextricably drawn to a mortal girl. Like all of Meg Cabot’s books, the writing is top quality, and the story unique. 

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