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'Only a fool is never afraid, Frank. Heroes are the people who carry on despite their fear, because they know the job's got to get done.'
At the end of Abandon, the first book of this series, Pierce Oliviera was taken back into the Underworld by John Hayden, the keeper of the dead, for her own safety. Pierce's world is crawling with Furies; departed souls that aren't satisfied with where they were sent after they died. They're intent on punishing John, and in order to do so, they attack the thing he loves most, Pierce.
John's plan is to keep Pierce in the Underworld, where it's easier for him to protect her, but when Pierce is shown visions of her Cousin in danger, she persuades him to take her back to her own world to rescue him. As she desperately tries to find her Cousin before it's too late, she soon learns the truth about how John became keeper of the dead, and why he didn't just die like most people.
Pierce will uncover shocking secrets about John; but as her only hope of survival, can she see past what he's done, and continue to love him for who he is, or will she refuse to live with him in the Underworld for eternity?
I picked up the first book in this series in the library, and decided to pick this one up at the same time, in case I liked the first one. Luckily, I loved the first one, and as soon as I finished it, I was able to start reading this one. I found that the way the story ended in the first one, and how it started in this one, flowed incredibly well together. At the end of the first book, Pierce was taken back into the Underworld for protection, and at the start of this book, she's dreaming about John, and wakes up in the Underworld. The timescale was realistic, there weren't days or weeks gone by between books, since the second book starts the day after Pierce was taken to the Underworld.
The timescale of the whole story was done really well. There's a real sense of urgency to find Pierce's Cousin, and this is reflected by the whole plot being played out in one day. Sometimes in books, when there's somebody in danger, and loved ones looking for them, there's often delays before they can get to them, and sometimes this isn't realistic, because in the real world, it would often be too late for the person in danger.
The relationship between John and Pierce grows stronger in this book. They learn more about each other, Pierce especially learns a lot more about the mysterious John. I found it very interesting to learn how he became keeper of the dead, since this was touched upon in the first book, but we don't actually find out the reasons until close to the end of this book. I think this worked really well in the story line, it kept the suspense about John going until the end, drawing me into the story and not wanting to put the book down until I found out. Since Pierce is the main Protagonist, we already know a lot about her, especially because the story is told in the first person, so to find out more about John was incredibly interesting for me.
We really get a sense of John's feelings for Pierce in this story. He came across as a bit arrogant, and a bit forceful with her before, turning up when she appears to be in danger, and dragging her away. He could also come across as slightly aggressive with her before, but as we get to know him more, we realise that this is because he cares for her, and wants to protect her, and perhaps, since he's not had any female company for over a hundred years, he's not entirely sure how to go about showing his feelings for her. I think that this was important to the story line; we know he's been living in the Underworld for over a hundred years, and this should mean that he's a bit rusty when it comes to showing his feelings, since he hasn't had any practice in that area. So I felt that the way he was portrayed; quite aggressive, unsure how to show feelings for another person, was done realistically.
I've been pleasantly surprised by this series so far. A dark romance series from the Author of The Princess Diaries seemed a little strange to me before. But after reading the first two in the series, I'm really looking forward to the release of the third installment 'Awaken.' Once again with this series, I really enjoyed the concept, and think that Meg Cabot did a fantastic job of executing it.
About the book
Underworld is the second book in the Abandon trilogy by Meg Cabot. The book was published by Macmillan Children's Books on 27th September 2012 and the book is 256 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.
Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com)
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.
What I thought
I remember not completely loving the first book in this series, Abandon, but really liking the idea of the story, which is why I wanted to read the second book.
Underworld begins right where Abandon left off, with Pierce in the Underworld with John after her Grandmother overtaken by a Fury tried to kill her... again. However, last time Pierce was in the Underworld, it didn't go too well and she managed to get away. There isn't an option of leaving this time though because John has locked doors and now Pierce also realises the danger she is in. I really liked the beginning of the book, it reminded me of what happened previously but without going over it too much. It also set the scene well for Pierce and John and where their relationship was heading.
Strangely, I also really liked the setting of the Underworld. Meg Cabot has created somewhere quite magical and creepy at the same time. Things happen in the Underworld which cannot really be explained and John doesn't hesitate to give Pierce vague answers when she asks about things. The Underworld actually sounded like a pretty cool place to be - as long as you were nowhere near the dead people of course. The setting also brings with it more explanations about some of the mythology aspects which I enjoyed reading about.
Underworld was actually more exciting for me than Abandon, even though that was a book where a lot happened. Pierce finds her mobile phone in a bag and then sees her cousin Alex is real trouble. This begins the excitement of the story with Pierce and John heading back to the human world to make sure he's ok. There are quite a few new characters introduced in this book too so there is excitement surrounding them too because there is so much to find out about them. I loved the mixture of action with new characters and introductions.
My only problem really with this book was the way it was written. Cabot's writing style seems a little confused at times. In some parts, the book read like an essay because of the choice of some words or the way that some things were worded e.g. the way in which. This is probably just me being picky but it made some parts of the book sound more serious than it was and also not as fun as it could have been.
I did really like Underworld though and can't wait to read the final book in the trilogy.