Review: Awaken by Meg Cabot

Rating: 4/5 stars
Pub Date: July 2,2013
Publisher: Point (A Scholastic imprint)
Genre: young adult, paranormal romance, mythology (Greek)
Format/Source: ARC from the publisher
Status: Book 3 of the Abandon trilogy

Summary: 
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.


Review:
Disclaimer: I received this arc from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

When the good publicists at Scholastic offered me a copy of Awaken at TLA, I'm pretty sure I blacked out for a moment in a fit of pure fangirliness because I totally love this series. Meg Cabot is one of those authors whose books I preorder the moment the links go up, and I'm very rarely disappointed in her work. Meg's writing is kind of like the same voice as the voice in my head so her writing is very compatible with me. PLUS, she's always giving me, the superfan, what I want. For instance, sequels to her lovely Mediator and Insatiable series. Woohoo! Two years ago, I fell in love with Pierce and John in Abandon, last year I bought Underworld and it was one of the few books that was allowed to journey with me from Tennessee to Texas, and now, I had an early copy of Awaken AND I just found out that Meg Cabot follows me on Twitter. WHAT?!

*dies*

Okay, fangirly moment over. Back to Awaken, which picks up only a short time after Underworld. Pierce and John are back down under...and they're not alone. I will elaborate under the cut for the sake of anyone who has not read the first two novels. To you people, I say, "GO READ THEM NOW." Ahem.
Right, Pierce + John + band of Merry Men + Alex + Kayla + Underworld = madness. One thing that I love so much about Meg is that she has no problem adding new people to a series, even in the final book. I think it's great. Abandon introduced all the people on Isla Huesos, while Underworld introduced John's crew (and kind of ignored the people introduced in Abandon, tbh), and you think that's gonna be it. But no, suddenly there are new people who get plenty of page time. Meg is a master at pulling in new characters up to the eleventh hour and using them to the greatest effect while simultaneously bringing back characters from the first book that weren't as prominent in the second. Brilliant.

Also, Meg has no problem causing plenty of drama. Like, oh, the love interest goes away (I won't say where, but ohhh, I thought I was going to die reading that part). And suddenly Pierce is making out with the bad boy. And there's a secondary character love triangle. Oh, yes, and a massive hurricane in the real world and a weird supernatural storm raging in the Underworld. Perfect. Let it be said that Meg Cabot juggles drama with more ease and with greater effect than the casts of every rendition of Real Housewives, The Hills, Jersey Shore, and Real World combined. Guys, this shtuff be crazy.

By far, Meg's greatest strength is writing relatable heroines and matching them with insanely and ridiculously good looking love interests and giving them heart. Some of the language used by other characters was a bit much, but basically the gist is that Pierce and John balance each other out. They can both be pretty volatile and as un-levelheaded as one could possibly be, especially when it comes to the other or at least, their safety, but somehow they manage to calm each other. Their relationship is flawed and imperfect, but they truly love each other, which is clear from the sacrifice and hard work they put in to keep it going. There's one lovely scene in Awaken where John and Pierce sit down and basically act out Relationship Compromise 101. The young adult genre is a lot about the getting together, but not always about the staying together. Often, the love interests don't even kiss until the last chapter. The entire Abandon trilogy walks the reader through the history of John and Pierce's relationship and proves that they want to stay together, even when faced with, well, everything going to hell. Literally. It's messy andfrustrating, but it's also tender and loving. I am in love with John and Pierce together, which is rare for me because usually I'm too busy lusting after just the guy to entirely care about the characters' actual relationship. Hee hee.

I feel very at peace with the conclusion of the series; I really feel like it was the right way to go. Did I know what was going to happen? Nope. Another good thing about Meg is that while I feel so familiar with her writing, she still has a lovely capability to surprise me. It keeps her stories fresh. I'm very impressed with the research and time Meg put into the series. This trilogy is beautifully written and features some fantastic new characters in a really cool mythologically-inspired world. Meg has written so many wonderful books and series that sometimes I wonder if she'll be able to keep it up with the new stuff. The answer is unequivocally, yes.

Recommended for: Anyone looking for a fresh take on the Hades/Persephone myth or a good romance book
Not recommended for: Honestly, I can't think of why I wouldn't recommend this book. Check back later.

Book Links:
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About the Author:
Meg Cabot is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of books for both adults and tweens/teens. Born and raised in Bloomington, Indiana, Meg also lived in Grenoble, France and Carmel, California (the setting for her bestselling Mediator series) before moving to New York City after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Indiana University.

After working for ten years as an assistant residence hall director at New York University (an experience from which she occasionally draws inspiration for her Heather Wells mystery series—two new books in the series will be out in 2012 and 2013), Meg wrote the Princess Diaries series, which was made into two hit movies by Disney, sold over 20 million copies, and has been translated into 38 languages.

Meg Cabot (her last name rhymes with habit, as in “her books can be habit forming”) currently lives in Key West with her husband and two cats.
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