Awaken (Abandon Trilogy Series #3)

Awaken - Meg Cabot Find this review and more at Whitley ReadsThis book was provided for free by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I have not read the first two books of the series.My Reaction: For all the promotional material tried to assure me that this was a “dark” retelling of the Persephone myth, I didn’t see any darkness to it. Just because the myth deals with the Underworld, that doesn’t make it de facto dark, especially when most of your dead souls are just perfectly pleasant to be around and Good and Evil are clearly marked, thus eliminating anything resembling a difficult choice for the cast.Discussions of darkness aside, I did enjoy this book’s version of the Underworld. It left a lot of room for interesting hijinks, both above and below the surface. I wish we’d spent more time in the Underworld this novel, instead topside. The characters were engaging, and it had plenty of Meg Cabot’s signature humor. The plot had promise, but was a little to scattered to really hold the book together. Overall, it was pleasant way to spend a few afternoons, in spite of a couple of major errors. Highlights:• The plot was a little too scattered to really hold things together. The bit with Thanatos, especially, stuck out like a sore thumb. It read more like she was just checking off a box, setting it up for something later. The whole idea of him was introduced very randomly, then solved just as randomly, then everyone just sort of moved on. The climax of the novel was not the accumulation of the entire plot, but rather a bit of crisis that just…sort of happened. Everyone was running around, trying to fix the main problem, and all of a sudden, whoops! Time for a big fight! Good thing that big fight that popped up out of nowhere happened to fix everything! …Somehow. For all I actually enjoyed the idea of the plot, there wasn’t enough cause and effect to make it seem cohesive. Instead, things just happen.• The book suffers greatly from “Comic Book Pacing,” in which people are able to spend great huge lengths of time chattering away in the middle of some other action, and the action is just…paused. Waiting. It seemed nothing could be done, no matter how urgent or time-sensitive, without at least 10 pages of dialogue first. Most of the dialogue was actually decent, but that doesn’t make it any less out of place. (At one point, in the middle of a fight, everyone gathers around Peirce and they talk for a while. Halfway through, she mentions the sounds of a battle continuing to rage. Who were the bad guys fighting? All the good guys were in the conversation huddle!)• There were quite a few points where pure factual mistakes threw me out of the story. Like how every bolt of lightning started a fireball instead of a normal fire. Most of it came from times the author tried to do a clever turn of phrase or imagery, but the mistakes negated it all.• New characters are introduced! Randomly. Seriously randomly. They’re just random people in line at the start of Chapter One, and by the end, turns out they’re important characters now. Why? Um…because Peirce happened to be standing next to them when something important happened. That is literally the only reason for why they got speaking parts in the first place, and for some reason this elevated them to cast members.• I ended up liking the new characters, though. And the side characters. Pretty much everyone except John and Peirce. That’s par for the course for me; I rarely like main characters, so take that with a grain of salt.• There’s a comment about Peirce being a “kite without strings, blown by anger” that…I guess is supposed to be part of her character arc for this story? It gets repeated a lot, like it has some sort of meaning, but I didn’t get it. It’s really hard to have a message about anger management in a story where people are trying to kill the main character. Of course she’s angry; people are hurting her! Do you want her to not be angry about that?