On Reading

"When you read a book, you don't just read, you journey. This is why at first, one is always regretful upon nearing the last page, thinking that it all ends there. But it is when we look into our minds after reading that we find the new world we discovered and with dawning realization see the truth of the matter:
...that the journey never ends."

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Review: Abandon by Meg Cabot

To be honest, I was putting off Abandon until the last possible minute. Like Sweet Evil, I was wary on starting it when I had solid preconceived notions in my head. It’s a reimagination of the Persephone myth, and I’ve recently just read something quite similar, The Goddess Test and Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter which were both lovely and were still stuck in my head. Unlike what happened with Sweet Evil, however, Abandon wasn’t completely different with the previous two books I’ve mentioned. Sure, there were some elements that set it apart, but to me John Hayden resembled Henry’s broken personality a bit too much, and it was just hard to go on from there without mistaking one book for the other.

Abandon is the story of Pierce Oliviera, who moves to Isla Huesos with her mom for a new start. Pierce has quite a hard time doing so, however, because Pierce has died and escaped death only by a narrow margin. As it turns out, the place they’re moving to—her mom’s hometown—has a cemetery that serves as a doorway to the Underworld where John Hayden, the guardian and keeper of that particular gate resides. From the moment Pierce comes back from the dead she’s haunted by Furies who are determined to hurt John through her.


I know Meg Cabot from her Princess Diaries works, which I haven’t read but I have, however, watched. Basing from how those went according to the movie, I was curious to see how Cabot could make a dark fantasy work, which was so different from her staple teen realistic fiction for which she is well known. And I was glad to see that she COULD make it work. She was able to formulate a plot that sounds familiar, that makes sense and is interesting. I also liked the way she starts her chapters, opening them with excerpts from Dante Alighieri’s Inferno and I was excited to find out how the particular excerpt comes into the chapter. See, there are some authors who have a way of making the ending of a chapter a cliffhanger, and that would encourage you to read onto the next, but Cabot’s writing style was a bit disorienting in that she ends the chapters without necessarily a cliffhanger, but she starts her chapters so well you just want to keep reading on. You know sometimes, when you finish a chapter and go, ‘Oh I’ll just take a look at this next chapter and stop’? The thing with Abandon is, I constantly found myself starting another chapter which was weird considering the last one’s ending didn’t leave me hanging anyway. Lastly, I thought Pierce’s character was refreshing and new in that she isn’t like other YA heroines who doesn’t have qualms going to places as long as the boy they like is with them. With Pierce, it isn’t like that. She fights John head-on, not wanting to go with him to the Underworld for the sake of her family her friends and herself. I thought that strength showed that she wasn’t about to give up everything in her life for a boy, and I’m really grateful to see that there’s someone in YA books who still actually does that.


Aside from the issue I had with Abandon not standing out all that much, I have to say that although the chapters start with interesting scenes, it just dies down from that. There are scenes which seemed a bit draggy to me, and it doesn’t help that the writing style is wordy, too. Granted, it gives you a pretty well-described scenario, but I think parts of the plot were sacrificed for that. It’s a short book, and there could’ve been so much that was going on, and instead we get all these lengthy descriptions about the weather and the hurricane that seems to me has no connection with John or the story. I think all it did was give the book a darker and gloomier feel, which is good, but it didn’t have to come with very detailed explanations. I felt like it wasn’t needed. Also, some characters, like Uncle Chris and her mom, were underdeveloped. I think there was more to them than what was actually explained, and I kept waiting for the developments that unfortunately didn’t come.

Overall, Abandon still worked for me, because for some reason I like dark fantasies these days, and because the plot is actually interesting. I just felt that maybe Cabot could’ve gone deeper and given us more about it. It’s quite different from the Persephone myth and there were elements that were strictly its own, which, I realized, is why it’s considered a reimagination and not a retelling of it.

No comments:

Post a Comment