Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Underworld: A Review

I love Meg Cabot.  She is an amazing writer, you should know who she is (Princess Diaries, ringing any bells?) and read her books.

Her newest book is Underworld.  It is the second book in the Abandon Trilogy in which Cabot is retelling the Persephone myth. I am not a fan of second books in a trilogy.  It takes a lot to impress me in the middle of a story, this book didn't.  Don't get me wrong it is a good book overall, but the middle book just gets me down.

At the end of Abandon, Pierce is nearly killed by a Fury out to destroy her to hurt her "boyfriend" John (also known as the Keeper of the Dead, a new kind of Hades figure) and is taken to the Underworld for protection.  Now Pierce has to learn and understand the consequences of loving John and what her new life will bring.  Most of the story is Pierce's attempt to find and help her cousin Alex.  This part of the story happens in just a few days and really drags, in my opinion. I need more action!  This Alex kid better be important in the next book. 

John is a super possessive boyfriend.  I would not say that this romantic relationship is ideal.  John lies to her and keeps her away from things he thinks will hurt her.  Since John has waited over 200 years for Pierce and he is a demi-god-like, this is totally normal behavior (as Greek myths go).  Meg Cabot would not steer you wrong folks.  She doesn't want girls to have possessive boyfriends, she is not promoting this.  John is possessive because that is the character he is reflecting.  Hades is a much worse offender, so are all the gods. Read or watch Percy Jackson, or maybe watch Hercules or Xena, or perhaps read the actual myths? these gods are not great at behaving. Before you get upset over John and Pierce's relationship, remember this storyline is based on a Greek myth and is following many of those plot and character characteristics.

I am not sure I am convinced that every relationship in a young adult book needs to be a healthy relationship that teens should want to emulate.  People need to read about all different types of relationships.  They need to learn that possessive relationships exist and how the make people feel and how to overcome the obstacles and make the relationship better (whether that is breaking up or become less possessive, etc.).  I would say that John and Pierce's relationship is not something to emulate, but it is very realistic.  Cabot does a great job of writing Pierce's desires for John.  Spoiler alert: there is a sex scene, but it is tastefully done and the act is a total mutual decision and that is something that teens should emulate. 

I gave this book 3/5 stars on Goodreads.  I would say it was 3.5 stars.  I definitely think the final installment will be great.

1 comment:

  1. We should chat about this topic. In the book I was telling you about, Time Enough For Drums, the relationship is a bit uncomfortably paternalizing at times, but it's probably fairly accurate for the historical setting. Sounds like that is what's going on here (except it's a myth, of course). I agree that not all relationships need to be perfect--that can become very didactic, very fast. I think the danger lies in pointedly unhealthy relationships (Twilight, duh) being idealized. I am most comfortable with relationships where the characters maintain their individuality, no matter what the relationship itself looks like.