I finished book #2 of Meg Cabot’s Abandon trilogy last week and have to say one thing – thank God for Meg Cabot. And I’m not saying that because she wrote a story that kept me turning the page, despite its events only spanning one day, or the fact its heroine is yet another 17 year old girl attracted to a man with supernatural powers. But because said man is a tall, dark and handsome stranger she can’t get out of her mind and THE ultimate bad guy – the lord of the Underworld.
I was intrigued by Cabot’s retelling of the Persephone myth when I was drawn to the first book of the series Abandon. But imagine my delight when I discovered the first person narrative from the story’s main character Pierce Oliviera was the most natural writing I’d read in a long, long time. Not to say I haven’t enjoyed the writing of recent YA reads. I have. But so often it’s the stories I love, not the characters because they are more often than not, so blinding in their naivety I find it hard to believe their emotions are real because they in themselves hard to see as anything but. I want my characters to pull me into their mind and into their stories, and take me for a ride. I want to crawl into the pages for just a look at the world they see, because the way they see it is so profound and compelling. That’s what The Host was like for me – a world that was so complex, so full of pain and fear, that despite its setting on a post-alien taken over Earth, I wanted nothing more than to take a walk in the caves alongside main character Wanderer and just hang out for awhile.
I guess I’ve seen this in adult fiction as well – non descriptive characters that are nothing more than a vessel to tell the story. (Hello Anastasia Steele, Fifty Shades of Grey. Could she really have fallen for a guy who is into BDSM, even though she never had boyfriend or sex before?) But as of late, I’ve been missing a narrator that even though she may be young, is still believable because despite the age, she possesses a sense of self, a sense of self- awareness, and a sense of believability. Even though there is some language that appears awkward (the main character referring to “checking herself, before she wrecks herself”), the way Pierce carries herself, the way she is connected to others, and the way she comes to terms with her feelings, is very symptomatic of a 17 year old girl. I mean hello, I was one once, and I remember every emotion, as complicated as they were, and Cabot does an incredible job of hitting those emotions on the head.
I shouldn’t be surprised. Cabot has been able to master creating stories and characters loved across a diverse audience, from teen/tween, teen/YA, and adults for over a decade. But I am pleasantly surprised by the Abandon trilogy and can’t wait for its conclusion to come out next year so readers of the series finally get the answer to the question they have been asking since the beginning: what happens when you’re alive and in love with the ruler of the Underworld?