Meg Cabot's Abandon trilogy is like candy, or soda, or popcorn absolutely smothered in butter and salt. What I'm getting at here is that it's good, but it isn't good for you. I really like Meg Cabot's paranormal romances (I adore the Mediator series, and I've also enjoyed the 1-800-Where-R-U books) and this trilogy was no different. The idea of a modern retelling of the story of Hades and Persephone appealed to me, so I was eager to pick this up. In some ways, it disappointed. In others, it did not. So, here is a brief summary of what I liked and did not like about the three books (Abandon, Underworld, Awaken) in this series.
I liked the setting of Isle Huesos. This should not surprise me, because Cabot based the setting off Key West, which is one of my favorite places in the world. Am I sure she captured the spirit of Key West? I'm not really sure, but since she lives there part of the time, I'm going to assume she knows it much better than I do and put my faith in her basis. I liked the characters, generally. Some of them were a little one-dimensional, but the main characters were all pretty well-done. I generally liked the plot, which revolves around the heroine, Pierce, coming to terms with her position as the queen of the underworld and battling against the evil forces of Furies. I liked parts of her relationship with John, but certainly not all of it.
So, what did I not like? Well, the first book in the trilogy is almost entirely setup, and the whole "relationship" aspect doesn't exactly make much sense. Pierce says at the beginning that her heart is "broken," presumably by John, but she doesn't spend much of the book acting like she likes him. In fact, she spends most of it terrified of him. Which makes the sudden romance later a little weird. The parents in these books also show a remarkable lack of involvement, considering their children are skipping school, disappearing from town entirely, and getting involved in murder investigations. Seems unlikely to me, even with the "supernatural" aspect. Also, for a series that is always going on about "consequences," there are remarkably few. There is a controlling, possibly emotionally-abusive relationship. There is unprotected sex. There is an "imbalance" that never actually seems to get fixed, and what the hell is up with Pierce's necklace being purple, anyway? That's never explained. And half the plot of the third book appears to have been thrown in because Cabot had nothing better to write about for the first half of the book. And the syrupy-sweet ending kind of made me sick. All of these things are things that make these books not good for you. You should not really encourage teenage girls to run off with guys they met when they were dead, especially when those guys have been stalking you and plan to keep you hostage in the underworld for the rest of, well, forever. You shouldn't encourage the rampant lying to parents, the investigations into drug trafficking, the fear of the police.
But all that said, I still liked it.
3 stars out of 5.