Monday, July 04, 2011

Abandon by Meg Cabot

As insanely popular as Meg Cabot is, I honestly can't remember ever reading a book by her (with the exception of a short story in Prom Nights From Hell, which I enjoyed) although I did love the Princess Diaries movie. I was finally able to remedy that gap in my life with Abandon, Cabot's most recent release and the first novel in a trilogy which is a contemporary retelling of the Greek myth Persephone. I was particularly excited to begin Abandon because Persephone is probably my favourite myth, so I instantly curious as to what Cabot would do with the classic tale. 

Abandon begins after Pierce has moved to a new town, ready to begin a new life following her accident, living in the wealthy place where her mother grew up. Still even here, reminders of what happened to her lurk, and as the story of what happened is told through flashbacks, the reader quickly realizes one thing: Pierce have been to the Underworld, and the Underworld wants her back.

Although the premise attracted me, the actual storytelling of Abandon disappointed me. I loved Cabot's details and characters and the glimmers of the worlds she created, but all of that exterior falls flat when the storyline itself creeps along. Most of the actual action in the novel happens in flashbacks, so it is clear that Pierce survives otherwise how would she be telling this story? And that ruined a lot of the suspense for me. It also means that Pierce and the leading man, John, get very little time actually interacting (even less in the present) but the reader is supposed to be convinced by their romance, and honestly, I wasn't. My last complaint is pretty minor, but, honestly, "John"? Not the most enticing name for somebody who is supposed to be swoon-worthy, especially since Cabot was very creative in naming her main character Pierce, it just didn't fit well in my mind. There's technically nothing wrong with the name, it's just not a very exciting choice.

In addition to the original details of the story, I did find Cabot's writing smooth and easy to read. Although slow-moving, Abandon was still entertaining and I really loved Pierce as a main character and thought she was fantastically written and easy to relate to. Cabot is clearly a seasoned writer with a style that gets just the right amount of information in without overwhelming the reader, resulting in writing that is crisp and clean.

An interesting aspect that I'm still unsure how I feel about, is the fact that Pierce is actually quite familiar with the Persephone myth. I realize the novel is set in contemporary times, but it felt a little odd for her to be so aware of the story that inspired her own. I guess I'll find out if it's mentioned again and how far Cabot diverged from the original in her sequel, Underworld, which I'll certainly be picking up when it is released in 2012. With the next book in this trilogy, I can't help hoping to get one continuous story instead of alternating with flashbacks. While I don't feel Abandon was the best introduction to Cabot, it definitely offered bites of personality and creativity which I hope to see more of next time I pick up a novel by her.

Release Date: April 26th, 2011
Pages: 304
: ARC from Publisher

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