Overall Impression: Completely underwhelmed, this book failed to capture my imagination.
Pierce knows what it’s like to die.
Last year she flatlined following an accident.
During that time Pierce saw a dark world and met a mysterious, irresistible boy.
Now that boy, John Hayden, has turned up at school. Every time she sees him Pierce finds herself in terrible danger. Yet she’s still drawn to him.
John wants to take her back to the place she fears the most: the Underworld.
The question is, why?
This story begins when the main character Pierce, moves to Isla Huesos with her mother and they throw a party in her honour. Pierce’s mum works with animals and her father is part of a well known company that is often responsible for oil spills. The reason for their move was Pierce’s near death experience. One day when leaving the house Pierce see’s a bird struggling, she attempts to save it but instead bangs her head and falls into their pool where she stays, until she is discovered by her mother. While dead she finds herself in a mysterious place, she is asked for her name and then assigned to one of the two lines to wait for a boat that will take her to her final destination.While waiting she see’s a man that she recognizes from a mysterious memory from her childhood. He is a death deity. (Someone who collects or looks after the dead. And of course, he is extremely good looking and exactly the right age for her. Phaa) She gets his attention, and he takes her to a beach which means that she misses her boat. The mysterious guy named John, explains to her that because of this, she is stuck here forever. Pierce refuses to believe this, and somehow manages to escape.
The rest of the book follows what happens to Pierce after she’s back with the living, the consequences of escaping, and the mysterious events that keep happening in Isla Huesos.
I find Meg Cabot’s writing tends to be hit or miss. Some of her books I have really loved, such as The Mediator series and The Airhead Trilogy, but others as hard as I try, I just can’t get on with, such as The Princess Diaries and All American Girl. Most of the time, I find the reason for this is the characters, and whether they are likable, or have enough depth to them.
This book could have been really good, but instead it just fell flat, on so many levels. The narrative in this was very different from Meg Cabot’s other books. In the first two or three chapters it was very confusing and jumbled, as it constantly sent the reader back and forth in time. I found this very frustrating and annoying, as it was done in such an awkward way and it made it hard to really sink your teeth into the story.
There was also very little character development which Meg Cabot is usually very good at. By the end of the story I still felt like I didn’t really know who Pierce was and I didn’t warm to her character at all. The only thing I feel I know is that she’s was an animal lover. Cabot developed the character of John very slightly better, but I still feel that I don’t really know who he is.
I also felt like the entire plot was very rough and undeveloped. None of it seemed to really gel together, so it felt like lots of little stories and random events in one book, and it didn’t even have a big dramatic ending.
The only thing I did enjoy about this book, was the mythology behind it, on Persephone and Marie Antoinette as I found this very interesting and it was something I’d never heard about before.
Would I recommend this book? No