Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Underworld, by Meg Cabot- Review

From Goodreads:
Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera isn’t dead.

Not this time.

But she is being held against her will in the dim, twilit world between heaven and hell, where the spirits of the deceased wait before embarking upon their final journey.

Her captor, John Hayden, claims it’s for her own safety. Because not all the departed are dear. Some are so unhappy with where they ended up after leaving the Underworld, they’ve come back as Furies, intent on vengeance…on the one who sent them there and on the one whom he loves.

But while Pierce might be safe from the Furies in the Underworld, far worse dangers could be lurking for her there…and they might have more to do with its ruler than with his enemies.

And unless Pierce is careful, this time there’ll be no escape.

Like Abandon, Underworld did not end up telling a story I expected.  And although it had some mysterious elements and several new characters I didn't enjoy it as much as Abandon.  My main issue with Underworld was the way John and Pierce's relationship was developed.

Where in the first book Pierce stood her ground with John and refused to have him make choices for her without her consent or knowledge, in Underworld she is much more doe-eyed and forgiving.  She makes token complaints but is constantly turning around and cooing over him in a very love sick way.  And I'm talking serious relationship infractions involving life altering lies.  It became hard to believe Pierce didn't want to spend her life in the Underworld when every time John sudo tricked her into staying, she forgave him.  

John became further dis-likable to me with small details like how he "dressed" Pierce in clothes she didn't like but which he found her attractive in, and filled her closet with the same.  And I haven't even gotten into the whole locking her in her room thing, or demanding that none of the other occupants of their home speak to her.  Controlling much?

Although I gather from hearing Cabot speak about the books, that she was going for Bad Boy with John, I feel like she missed the mark in book two and started making him a full blown  Ass Wipe.  Words like abuse and unhealthy come to mind, and although the domineering man fantasy has its place in Romance for many women (I mean how many copies of 50 Shades have been sold by now?  Its starting to feel like one of those old school McDonald's signs "5 trillion sold!) I cringe at it being used in YA romance.  Teens who are actively imagining a torrent love life, if not already embarking on it hardly need to start idolizing unhealthy relationships.  God knows they have a life time to make those mistakes, why suggest they're normal and something to be coveted?

Besides it make Pierce 100% less unlikeable to me (and John too of course), she becomes so wishy washy, namby pamby.  Not at all what I'm looking for in my girl characters.  I like some backbone, sense of self and independence.

In the end, despite a hurricane bearing down on them, reveals about John's past and how it ties into the island, and the return of characters who continued to be enjoyable (Mr. Smith, and Kayla), I couldn't get past my issues with John and Pierce and enjoy the story.  As it stands I won't likely read the last part of the series, but I still recommend Abandon.  It works as a one off, and for me, was more enjoyable on its own.

Underworld, by Meg Cabot
Published by Point, May 2012
My copy kindly provided by Scholastic
Buy Underworld on Amazon

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