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Review: Awaken (Abandon Trilogy series #3) by Meg Cabot

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot, the dark reimagining of the Persephone myth comes to a thrilling conclusion.

Death has her in his clutches. She doesn't want him to let go.

Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera knew by accepting the love of John Hayden, she'd be forced to live forever in the one place she's always dreaded most: the Underworld. The sacrifice seemed worth it, though, because it meant she could be with the boy she loves.

But now her happiness -- and safety -- are threatened, all because the Furies have discovered that John has broken one of their strictest rules: He revived a human soul.

If the balance between life and death isn't fixed, both the Underworld and Pierce's home back on earth will be wiped away. But there's only one way to restore order. Someone has to die.

Kicking the bucket, biting the dust, meeting the grim reaper, and resting at peace are all expressions commonly used to describe someone who has died and passed on to their final resting place. It is ironic that death is the most complicated and fearful event of a person’s, but people use humorous and exaggerated expressions to describe an event that is uncontrollable and irreversible. Death itself is a creature with wild and dark actions and reasons that cannot be explained and cannot be questioned since there is no way to question it or find out what happens once one dies and leaves the living, forever.

Pierce Oliviera is a young woman who has not only met death and lived to tell the tale, but is dating a death deity or lord of the Underworld and now he is dead. Now Pierce is left with more than a sense of loss when losing John, the love of her life. She is left with an Underworld full of souls that are trapped because they cannot pass on without guidance to their final resting place, a family in the real world that is facing criminal charges and personal destruction, and the possibility that she cannot protect herself, the ones she loves, and bring John back all in time…before the Underworld becomes one with the living.

Pierce is a young woman who is faced with more challenges than the average girl and the fact that the novel is able to incorporate the normal adolescence experiences with that of the exaggerated experiences of dating a boy that has already died and is a permanent fixture of the Underworld. She is a young woman in love who has run away from her parents, is currently living as the consort and queen of the Underworld, and is faced with trying to find the balance between a life with her family above her boyfriend’s Underworld kingdom and a life permanently with John.

As if Pierce doesn’t have enough on her plate between the living and the dead, she is faced with Furies. Furies are evil spirits who take possession of the living who are weak minded. The problem is not that Furies have taken her boyfriend’s spirit through killing him, but that Furies possess the ones closest to her and she does not know how to save everyone including herself. It all comes down to the war between the Furies and the Fates.

This finale to the Abandon series is my personal favorite of all three books simply because the relationships between the main characters is extremely emotional as they are faced with the possibility that not everyone is going to be able to survive the storm that is approaching between the living and the dead. Cabot is able to write a series based on the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone without making the logic sound as if it is unbelievable or unrealistic; rather she transforms Pierce and John’s love into a romantic tale that follows the concept of love vs. death. Not only is this a unique concept that is battling for control over the fate of Pierce and John’s relationship as well as the fate of everyone they truly care about, but the plot is not about life vs. death, but rather the living and the dead fighting for a chance to be loved without consequences.

This book was incredibly detailed, fast paced, and deeply written in terms of the consequences that continue to haunt a person once they have made choices they cannot fix or take back. A sense of foreshadowing develops in the plot of the book as Pierce and John work together in the beginning to sort the souls of the dead and make sure they pass on to their final resting place while they are forced to live with their own decisions and remain as permanent members of the Underworld. The love between Pierce and John is intoxicating, while their issues in the Underworld are extremely unpopular and unusual for people Pierce’s age, but their circumstances in the world of the living are quite normal and expected for teenagers who are in love as much as Pierce and John.

I recommend this book as well as the trilogy to anyone who finds a complicated love story intriguing and enticing, especially when the challenges the main characters face are those that are not possible in most situations or expected. Cabot allows the reader to follow the in depth thoughts of Pierce’s mind and how she balances the difficult decisions between her teenage emotions and the emotional reactions of those around her, living and dead.

It has always been said that love conquers all. For Pierce and John that is the truth, but in the end, someone always has to die.

Reviewed by Nicole Williams

Book Information
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 7/2/2013
Pages: 336

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