TITLE: Awaken (Abandon Trilogy #3)
AUTHOR: Meg Cabot
SOURCE: Digital ARC via NetGalley, 355 pages
RELEASE DATE: July 2, 2013 (Scholastic Inc.)
Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera knew by accepting the love of John Hayden, she’d be forced to live forever in the one place she’s always dreaded most: the Underworld. The sacrifice seemed worth it, though, because it meant she could be with the boy she loves. But now her happiness — and safety — are threatened, all because the Furies have discovered that John has broken one of their strictest rules: He revived a human soul. If the balance between life and death isn’t fixed, both the Underworld and Pierce’s home back on earth will be wiped away. But there’s only one way to restore order. Someone has to die. (taken from Goodreads)
Confession time: I am a huge Meg Cabot fangirl. I have read almost everything she’s written and usually pick her books without even knowing what they are about simply because she wrote them. When I read the first book in the Abandon Trilogy, aptly named Abandon, I knew nothing about it and was delighted to realize is what a modern retelling of the myth of Persephone, one of my all-time favourite Greek myths! Needles to say, I loved the first book. I adored Pierce, the modern Persephone, John (the not-so-modern version of Hades) and the Florida Keys setting and cast of characters. So you can imagine how excited I was for the release of the concluding book in the series.
Awaken picks up pretty much where Underworld (Abandon Trilogy #2) leaves off: Pierce is Queen of the Underworld and helping John and his crew manage the ferry boat lines. Alex and Kayla are both safe from the furies in the Underworld. And the furies are still out to get them. The book doesn’t wait long and throws us straight into the action. Things aren’t going great in the Underworld, there’s a strange storm brewing, the boats to take the souls of the dead to their final destinations is late. Things above ground aren’t much better with the Furies on the hunt for Pierce and John and a hurricane is about to hit Isla Huesos. But things really take a turn for the worse when John notices that the Furies have managed to take control of 2 ferries and are about to crash them into the docks. WARNING SPOILER: John tries to stop the Furies and dies, for real. This triggers Pierce to take control of her fate and put a plan into action to save both her above and below ground from the forces that have been trying to destroy them.
I appreciated the fact that the last book is action packed. One of my big issues with Underworld was that nothing much happened. Unfortunately the pacing of the action here was really off. While there is a ton of stuff going on, the story still managed to feel sluggish. There was a lot of random conversations happening in the middle of what is supposed to be intense action. Pierce and other characters are constantly having long conversations about what is going on during what is supposed to be action/tension filled scenes. For me it killed the interest and sense of urgency.
I felt that certain plot points were figured out and resolved much too quickly. One key element of the story is figured out and taken care of by Pierce is the span of a few chapters! I was really disappointed by that because on one hand, why bother introducing and resolving something so quickly and making it feel off and sloppy while on the other hand, I really liked the premise of it and wished that it had played a bigger part of the overall story! That felt like missed potential.
I continued to enjoy the way Cabot writes dialogue and banter. I really enjoyed all the conversations that included John’s misfit crew, Mr Smith or Kayla. There’s a scene between Pierce, John and Pierce’s parents that I really enjoyed because of the honesty and also hilarious awkwardness of the situation. I really liked all the conversation between John and Pierce’s dad! I also loved how John kept not understanding references made and saying “I don’t understand”. It made me chuckle a lot!
I did like seeing Pierce come into her as the Underworld Queen and take charge of situations. She’s has finally become to the master of her own destiny. She is now where she wants to be, with the man she wants to be with making the changes and decisions she needs to be happy. John has really grown on me over the course of the series and I’ve liked how he isn’t the crazy unintentionally-but-still kinda stalker creepy boyfriend. He’s more “relaxed” (well as relaxed as he ever could be) and accepting of Pierce making decisions for him and her (instead of the other way around). The one thing I didn’t understand was the parallel that kept being repeated of Pierce being a kite that blows with anger that needs to be anchored and the connection to John’s father’s wip. It seemed like a key part of Pierce’s character arc yet it totally went over my head and by the end, I still didn’t really understand what the meaning/purpose of that was. Kayla continues to be my favourite character in the series. She is sassy and has a “don’t mess with me and my friends” attitude that Meg Cabot excels at giving her BFF characters. I really enjoyed being able to discover more about Mr Smith’s (the cemetery sexton) life. I felt overall that we got to learn and get a better understanding of all the secondary characters (though I wish this had been scattered throughout the series more). What I enjoyed less was the random introduction of new characters that ended up being key to the story. I find it always a bit jarring to have such key players be introduced at the end of a series, I felt like they should have been there since the second book at least.
By the end of the book, I felt like the characters and stories were are nicely resolved. Aside from the angry kit metaphor involving Pierce, nothing was left hanging and all the major arcs were wrapped up without questions. I could picture where everyone was heading towards and it’s a nice feeling to end a series on.
Awaken was a satisfying end to the Abandon Trilogy though I still feel like the series never reached it’s full potential. I think that it is a series best read back-to-back then staggered over the 3 years it took to publish. I feel like a lot of the pacing and resolution issues I had wouldn’t have been as bothersome to be if I had been able to read the whole series through. While this isn’t my favourite Meg Cabot series, I still remain a fangirl of hers!
Thank you to Scholastic Inc. for providing an ARC of this book!