Sunday, January 11, 2015

[Review] Underworld (#2) - Meg Cabot: Greek Mythology and Abuse

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In UNDERWORLD, Pierce Oliviera finds herself stuck in the Underworld. Again.

What intrigued me: Liked the first!

Abuse isn't cute

I'm going to start off by saying that the Pierce and John love story is probably the mother of all toxic relationships. There's nothing romantic about a dude that stalks you from your childhood on and one day out of the blue decides that because he's fallen for you, you have to stay with him forever, no matter what you think about that. 

And yeah, even after Pierce fell in love with him, just taking her into the Underworld and not telling her about the whole "if you eat or drink here that's it, you're immortal and staying here forever" thing - not cool. He's manipulative, he's creepy, he's selfish, he's a control freak and probably also a bit insane. The fascination I had with him in ABANDON completely poofed into nothing, he's absolutely and utterly creepy as hell.

Not sure whether our protagonist Pierce is any better. From being strong-willed and in general a character that's easy to identify with, she transformed into a whiny, clingy girlfriend who bursts into tears at even the thought of her boyfriend ever leaving her. Her world only revolves around being with John and after initial half-hearted "but I wanna see my mom" protests, she's all his. Sorry, Pierce, but you just lost all sympathy points. 

The only person who's in their right mind would be the cemetery sexton Richard Smith, who constantly tells those idiotic teenagers that they're being unreasonable, but doesn't get much recognition. It's very frustrating to see how Richard sees through everything immediately and Pierce still thinks she has to close her eyes to the obvious, because, like, omg, her boyfriend is sooooo hot.

Not really a necessary sequel?

As a sequel, UNDERWORLD isn't really what I expected. I wanted action, I wanted tears and blood, I wanted all hell to break loose, maybe the deceased all escaping the underworld at once, because Pierce thought it was a good idea to release them. 

The way Cabot arranged this, it's merely a high school alternate universe retelling of Persephone and Hades. Plus a whole lot of Stockholm-Syndrome on top. It genuinely feels like it could have all been in the first book, because we only get a lot backstory but very little new plot lines. 

The enemies remain the same, some new bad guys quickly appear and are quickly killed, nothing special. I had a hard time getting into this. Also the relationship between John and Pierce is very, very frustrating. They don't seem like a newly-in-love couple but like an old married couple that has already enough of each other. They're constantly bickering, there's absolutely no romance aside from this whole "omg I'd die without you, I'm going to take a bullet for you" thing. Eh. 




Overall: Do I Recommend?

Because I liked the first novel so much, I obviously had very high expectations of UNDERWORLD. To me, it focused to much on the Oliviera family and their intrigues instead of actually continuing the story of the protagonists Pierce and John.

As an extra for devoted fans of the series this would be nice to know, but not as an official sequel. It failed in all points to me. No recommendation. Read the first novel and stop right there.

Additional Info

Published: March 8th 2012
Pages: 336
Publisher: Pivot
Genre: YA / Greek Mythology
ISBN: 9780545415071

"Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

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."(Source: Goodreads)

Have you read books by Meg Cabot?

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