Book Review: Abandon

Narrated By: Natalia Payne
Format: Audiobook
Published By: Recorded Books
Publication Date: April 2011
Length: 9 hours, 15 minutes
Buy it at Amazon or IndieBound
Source: Library
Audience: Young Adult

The Story & Writing:

This is yet another example of how my expectations for a book ruined the read for me. I love Greek mythology and I have enjoyed seeing the interesting spins on the old tales that have started popping up in YA literature recently. I was slightly nervous about this one due to its connection to Hades and Persephone since I had already read The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter earlier this year. I didn't want to be influenced by the previous book, but the two authors take things in such different directions that it wasn't an issue. I typically love Meg Cabot's writing, but overall Abandon did not live up to the hype or my expectations.

One major problem I had with this book was the main character, Pierce. I didn't like her at all. She came across as whiny and entitled. She is a far cry from the heroines of past Cabot works. I also never understood where her learning issues stemmed from - did it have something to do with the whole death experience? Did she have trouble with her classes before the episode? Plus, her relationship with John seemed like the insta-love that haunts the pages of so many YA novels these days. I couldn't support their feelings because the relationship didn't make sense to me - at least on Pierce's end of things. She spends the entire book gripping about how much she dislikes John only to start randomly making out with him next to her pool. Yes, he's a hot death deity and that's enough to make any girl momentarily lose her mind, but it went from a make-out session to full on love me forever devotion within the next few chapters.

Secondly, this novel felt like it had major holes in its development. I feel like there were some crucial aspects of the plot that I missed somehow or that were just glossed over. Pierce alludes to something horrible going down as Coffin Night approaches, but the climax of this book consists of a near fist fight. There was so much build up and foreshadowing for nothing. I am assuming the showdown will occur later in the series, but it was disappointing after waiting for it for so long. Also, I really disliked how the book jumped from the past to the present. It made for a very disjointed, confusing reading experience.

On the other hand, there were elements of the book I did enjoy. The mythology and history that went into the creation of this story was fascinating. I loved the parts of the book about the island's history and culture. Learning more about Pierce's necklace was also a highlight of the book for me. Cabot's writing was able to shine through these elements and her description of the setting. This would have been a much better book in my opinion if there had been even more of these elements and a likable main character.

In spite of the issues I had with this one, I am curious to see what will happen next. Mainly, I want to know what is in store for John and I want to see the action. There has to be action at some point, right? I will read the remaining books in the trilogy at some point.

The Audio:

I think my listening experience was not only hindered by the structure of the text, but also by the narrator. Perhaps on paper Pierce isn't quite as whiny and annoying, but the way Natalia Payne read made her seem that way. There are some narrators who I just don't enjoy for some reason. Perhaps it is their cadence or the way they pronounce certain words. I'm not entirely sure why Payne's voice bothered me, but I think it did contribute in some part to my mediocre response to this book. My advice - skip the audio on this one.

One Last Gripe: Why couldn't this story have been told from John's perspective? It would have been a lot more entertaining for me.

My Favorite Things About This Book: I really liked the element of Coffin Night and its history. I also liked the excerpts from Dante's Inferno.

First Sentence: Anything can happen in the blink of an eye.

Favorite Character: John

Least Favorite Character: Pierce

Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back. 

But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid. 

Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away... especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most. 

But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.


  1. I read the book, and I didn't find Pierce to be as whiny and annoying as you did (she definitely was at times, but she won me over), so I wonder if the audio was what killed it for you. Also, I haven't read The Goddess Test yet, so my expectations were not in any way related. I really enjoyed it. I am looking forward to Underworld for sure. Also, the cover is reason enough to read book two. It's stunning!

    Sucks that you didn't like this book that much. Hopefully, Underworld will be better for you! Great honest review!

  2. @Karis - I think the audio was a lot of the problem. I typically love Meg's stuff, but the narrator made Pierce sound like every single thing was an excuse or a whine. For the next book, I'm going to read it on my own and leave the audiobooks alone.

  3. I still really want to read this one.... I know what you mean about expectations ruining a read dude! I hate that!

  4. It's terrible when one of the main characters is a turn off. I borrowed this from the library, but was unable to get to it. Hopefully, when I get a chance again, I'll pick it up. But, you're absolutely right. Sometimes it's better when the perspective is written from an entirely different character! Thanks for sharing!


Post a Comment

We love your comments!