Death. One of the few things we can be certain of in our lifetime. Death is a natural part of the cycle and doesn’t have to be seen as a bad thing. It’s all a matter of perspective. We are energy and energy can’t be destroyed so it must go somewhere. – Immortal Monday.
I’ve been a bad little blogger and social friend this summer. Please bare with me until I get the kids back in school. I honestly do care. My time just hasn’t been available.
Since the beginning of time people have built belief systems and religions around life and death. The Greek god Hades is a prime example of one such philosophy. Ruler of the Underworld, he really isn’t as bad as some make him out to be. He simply had bad luck of the draw and got stuck with a not so desirable address. It’s his job to rule over the dead, maintain balance, and make sure the unruly souls stay put and don’t succeed in cheating death in any way. Because cheating death really isn’t fair, is it?
Now the Underworld is the final destination, but suppose there were stops along the way. Processing centers maybe? Places where the souls were sorted and separated by their intended end design. And in the fashion of Hades, each of these locations was ruled by their own death deity. It’s a curious concept, don’t you agree?
It’s the underlining framework in Meg Cabot’s Abandon. A unique young adult tale about a young girl who steps over the veil into death and meets her personal death deity only to be revived back to the world of the living. She returns changed and with attachments.
You may be wondering what a death deity is. Many cultures have different names and titles for them, but in general they are the ones that either rule over the dead and/or collect them at their passing. They are not involved in determining how or when one will die.
If you are familiar with the myth of Hades and Persephone, Meg Cabot takes that myth and beautifully weaves it into a modern day tale. She masterfully includes events and locations that she is kind enough to talk about at the end of the book. And of course, no tale is complete without something evil. There definitely is evil. I don’t want to spoil it, but they also come from the underworld and are immortal!
If you aren’t familiar with the Hades and Persephone story, the cliff note version would go something like this: Hades fell in love with Persephone. Because he loved her so much, he kidnapped her and stole her away to the underworld, holding her there despite her unhappiness. Her mother was angry and wanted her back. Hades and Demeter, Persephone’s mother, struck a bargain. As a result, Persepohone’s time was split between the underworld and her time on earth with her mother.
So, who is our immortal in this tale for Immortal Monday? The equivalent of Hades – John Hayden. Our heroine, Pierce, describes him as, “[A] wild thing… badly in need of someone’s aid, even if he didn’t agree.” He’s definitely lacking in the warm and fuzzy category. *insert laugh here* But you still can’t help but fall for the guy somehow. Being a death deity is a lonely job. It might make one a little anti-social over the centuries. To fall in love and then have love ripped away – well… No spoilers. Personally, I felt John didn’t get enough face time and I would have liked to get to know him better. But you’ll have to read the book and judge for yourself. Hopefully that will be rectified in Underworld, book two.
Pierce is our Persephone. According to reviews, some found her to be selfish and a snob. I didn’t read her that way. I did find her indecisive, and I didn’t care for the frequency at which she cried. But you have to remember she is a teen. Even though I didn’t cry much when I was a teen. Not till the hormone change with pregnancy. But that’s what makes her human and individual. She first met John at her grandfather’s funeral. She was seven. He was kind, yet she was unsure of him. Death, dying and visions of the underworld could put someone in a bad frame of mind. So they may not get off to the best start the next time they met. That’s what YA books are for, right? Working on the relationship? 😉
If you enjoy a touch of immortal, love the young adult reads, and get a thrill out of new and interesting twist on Greek mythology, I would recommend this book for a quick, intriguing read. Of course, be prepared to read three books as this is the first in a trilogy.
I was blessed to receive this book at the RWA Conference this last month and I flew through it in a matter of two days. It’s a fast fun read. Thank you Meg Cabot and RWA. I’m off to the book store for the next installment.
Have you read any good book recently that involved immortals? How about the young adult market, have you read any books that you would recommend?
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