Sunday, 3 November 2013

Review: Awaken (Abandon #3) by Meg Cabot

I accidentally read Underworld (Abandon #2) first, before reading Abandon, but luckily Meg Cabot makes it easy for readers to jump into the series without being totally lost on the plot. Funnily enough, I then somehow got confused and then read this book next, when I fully intended to read the first book. Sleep deprivation was really going against me this week...

Awaken is the third book in the Abandon series and is the exciting, action-packed conclusion to this story inspired by the Persephone and Hades mythology. The atmosphere throughout is dark and dangerous as a hurricane sweeps through the mortal realm and things in the underworld have turned chaotic.

The beginning of the novel opens with a shocking turn of events as John "dies." Common sense dictates that there's no way he's ACTUALLY dead and I don't think Pierce really actually believes he won't come back because her grief wasn't all that real to me. More than that, there's no way in hell (or the underworld haha) that Cabot would kill off her leading man in the beginning of the novel. So even though we know that John will come back, it was an interesting change in the pace of the book as we get to see Pierce become stronger, more independent, and her character development allows her to become really ready to take her place as Queen of the Underworld. She carries a whip as a weapon and leads a group of people into the mortal world to find and destroy Thanatos and to wage war on the Furies. Pierce is empowered, and these days, it's all about the strong female heroine. It was a good change of pace to see Pierce handle the chaos for once.

That being said, Pierce is still very emotional (hey, she's 17, I don't hold it against her). Her emotions (specifically her temper) are pointed out by supporting characters as being dangerous to her overall mission to save John. While it's not expressed outright, her anger is her tragic flaw, which is a VERY ancient-Greek-story way to spin things. I loved this. If she can't control her anger, bad things will happen--and John will die.

Having Thanatos as an important new character was an interesting choice. I'm all for using more mythology in YA books because whether teens know they're learning or not, the Greek myths are there for readers to take in and learn from. Thanatos was quickly defeated though and I was a bit put out by this. Minor Greek deity or not... he was basically defeated at the seduction of a 17-year-old girl. I don't know if I'm still too excited from reading House of Hades by Rick Riordan. Perhaps 500 pages from Riordan of his main characters roaming the underworld made me expect a bigger battle between Thanatos and Pierce, but oh well. Pierce has 99 other problems to take care of after Thanatos.

The book is filled with obstacles and challenges--it's just one problem after another for Pierce to solve, but it keeps the action moving and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. The book is suspenseful from the first few pages when we learn that things in the underworld are chaotic and out of whack, then John dies, then Thanatos throws a wrench into things, there's family issues, her parents hate John, the Furies, Alex is annoying, and so on.

John is very protective and while I love when he's all macho and devoted to his girlfriend, sometimes it's too much. When Edward John refuses to let Bella Pierce do something/go somewhere that's even a little bit dangerous, I'm like: calm down, buddy. His demeanour sometimes is unhealthy when it comes to protecting Pierce, but I'm quicker to forgive this because Cabot makes it clear John isn't always logical because of his childhood and his history with his father. I'm always quicker to forgive if there's a legitimate psychological reason for his behaviour.

This book is darker and has an exciting climax and conclusion to the book with an all-out battle between the Furies and Pierce/John. Pierce kicks ass and takes names--maybe even going a little bit overboard by choking her Fury-possessed grandmother and then shoving her Persephone Diamond into her. Whoa.

Christianity also plays a large role in the plot (hello ancient pagan Greece...what religion happened to you again?). I loved this quote about why a Fury was able to possess Grandma and why she was so easily corrupted into believing that John, a pagan death deity would have needed destroying:

"As a religious woman...the discovery that there exists a world beyond ours that isn't the traditionally taught heaven and hell must have been deeply disturbing to her... and so that world would have needed destroying" (Cabot 304)

Overall, Awaken is an epic conclusion to an exciting teen paranormal romance series. It's thrilling, dark, and full of danger--and sexy men from Greek mythology. It's good versus evil on an grander and mythological scale. It's sex, drugs and death deities.

It's a great teen/paranormal romance series and you should read it.

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