So I finished Abandon by Meg Cabot.
Really, I finished it several days ago, but I had to let things simmer for a bit.
I wanted to love Abandon, I really did. And for the most part, there wasn’t much keeping me from loving it. The novel is part one in a trilogy (or a series but I’m pretty sure a trilogy…) and it does a fantastic job of getting me to crave more. It’s not so much a retelling of the Persephone myth (you know the one: she gets stolen away but Hades into the Underworld and her Mom has to come and save her. But wait! Her lovely daughter ate three seeds and has to spend three months in the Underworld every year…thus we get Winter) but it is heavily influenced by it.
Pierce is our narrator. She is in high school, a senior, and is starting at a new school. Only, Pierce comes with a good bit of baggage. She died. And then came back to life. And while she was dead she kinda formed a bond with this guy named John, who seems to be in charge of the Underworld. She is drawn to him like a moth to a flame (and it’s so much better than Twilight in the whole forbidden love thing – like really, I hate to even mention Twilight but yeah…) but he’s somehow intimately involved with death so that tends to send up some red flags for most girls. Even the ones who have died.
And I feel like if I tell you too much more I’ll ruin something that Cabot excels at. She is amazing at creating suspense. Of getting you to turn the page. Of going on to the next chapter. She gives you just enough to keep you sane, and then moves on. It’s very artful. Like better than Lost because we actually get answers.
So good things: I like that Cabot has taken an awesome greek myth and given it new life. Also, I love Pierce. She seems so real. She makes mistakes and knows she’s doing it, but hell, she’s a teenager. It’s what they do. And the attraction between her and John is electric.
Okay… so here’s what keeps me from totally LOVING the book.
I’m not sure how many of you have read Avalon High (a moden day “retelling” of the Arthurian legend myth where Ellie/Elaine is the reincarnation of the Lady of Shallot and must keep the reincarnations of Lancelot and Gwen from hooking up and destroying the Arthur of our age), another book by Cabot, which I totally love (but I’m not as big a fan of the graphic novel/manga and I refuse to watch the Disney Chanel movie version of it…they made too many changes). So, as I was reading Abandon I started to notice something. Abandon and Avalon High are freakishly similar. By the end of Abandon it was almost disappointing and annoying how much it was like Avalon High. Here is all the ways that I noted that the two novels are similar…
- Both narrators are girls who have names very close to the characters that they are the “new version” of. Pierce –> Persephone and Elaine/Ellie –> Elaine of Astolat
- In a way, both girls are caught up in a destiny that they aren’t really sure they want to be in
- “Retelling” of myth/legend: Greek and Arthurian
- Older man who at first seems to be a threat of some kind, but turns out to be a guide. Oh yeah, and he’s also a member of a “secret society” Abandon: Richard Smith and Avalon High: Mr. Morton
- Pool plays a noticeable role. Pierce drowns in a pool while Ellie likes to flot in hers
- Magical object that assist the heroine in some way, shape, or form… Pierce has a necklace and Ellie gives Will (her Arthur) a sword that saves them all
- Both Ellie and Pierce are the new girl in town. Pierce has to leave her old school after the “incident” (to get you interested the “incident” does not refer to her death/coming back to life) and Ellie follows her parents who are on a sabbatical
- Drawn to guy but knows it’s a bad idea: Pierce –> he’s involved with death/is dead and Ellie –> he has a girlfriend
- AND finally! Both stories’ climax during an intense (notable) storm
Really, I’m not making up how alike the two are. It really bummed me out in a way. I mean, at first I thought it was a coincidence how alike they were… but then the similarities just kept coming. I will say this though. Cabot actually has some “on screen” deaths in this book compared to Avalon High (where the deaths were just part of the back story).
So, do I recommend this book? Yes! While it is SUPER similar to her other book that I love, it’s still fantastically written and totally worth the read. Besides, if you haven’t read Avalon High (even though I really recommend that books as well) then really, there’s no problem.