(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)
Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.
Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera isn’t dead.
Not this time.
But she is being held against her will in the dim, twilit world between heaven and hell, where the spirits of the deceased wait before embarking upon their final journey.
Her captor, John Hayden, claims it’s for her own safety. Because not all the departed are dear. Some are so unhappy with where they ended up after leaving the Underworld, they’ve come back as Furies, intent on vengeance…on the one who sent them there and on the one whom he loves.
But while Pierce might be safe from the Furies in the Underworld, far worse dangers could be lurking for her there…and they might have more to do with its ruler than with his enemies.
And unless Pierce is careful, this time there’ll be no escape.
It’s not often that I don’t understand the plot of a book, especially a contemporary Young Adult novel. So I tried to figure things out with my friend and we had a conversation that went like this (SPOILERS!):
Me: So she hates John, then loves him at the end of the first book then goes back to hating him in the second book?
Me: Then in the second book she hates him in the beginning, then loves him again, hates him again and then has sex with him and decides she loves him and wants to spend the rest of her life with him?
Friend: Sounds about right.
Me: Meanwhile, Mr. Smith told Pierce that she and John were meant for each other in the first book then discourages their relationship in the second book? And what was with nobody having a problem with Pierce coming back from being ‘kidnapped’ two days later and showing up at Coffin Fest?
Between the two of us we probably read around 300 books per year. And yet no book has stumped us as much as Underworld. What the heck was Meg Cabot thinking? Her Airhead trilogy was amazing and had both strong male and female characters with a plot that took a lot of twists and turns but made sense. Her Abandon Trilogy feels sexist because Pierce can never figure anything out on her own and the characters are so inconsistent that it almost feels like a YA parody.
I hate Pierce. I really, truly loathe this idiotic main character. She’s supposed to be so kind, caring and delicate but she really just comes off as a Mary Sue who can’t do anything for herself. Pierce is so bad that I keep getting this strange feeling Meg Cabot wrote a satire piece without telling anyone. How could such a strongly feminist author create a character like this? Pierce always needs John to rescue her and she always flips between hating him and loving him. Something that always puzzled me was how she fell for John in the first place. He’s your stereotypical tortured bad boy who is supposedly ‘kind’ underneath but is really still a jerk that treats the heroine like garbage. In his case, it meant kidnapping Pierce, mentally abusing her, not telling her anything at all about himself or the Underworld and holding her against her will. Sounds pretty jerk-like to me.
I won’t even touch the fact that these two have all the chemistry and charm of a brick wall. That would provoke a rant all on its own.
I had read Underworld in hope that it would be better than Abandon because all of the backstory was out of the way. But no, it’s actually worse. Not all the backstory is out of the way and we finally learn something about John, after Meg Cabot hinting at it for 200 pages then revealing it to Pierce out of nowhere through luck (read: author intervention). There’s also the issue of all of the minor characters in the story. Their actions are meant to help drive the plot forward, but their actions don’t make any sense. Pierce shows up after being missing for two days and not only is Uncle Chris completely okay with it, everyone who sees her at Coffin Fest is too. Is nobody wondering where a seventeen-year-old girl went to for two days on a tiny island community? I live in a rural community; everyone would be so nosy that she wouldn’t get to breathe, let alone wander around before the cops were called.
Terrible, just terrible. That sums up the entire book. I don’t think I’ll be reading any Meg Cabot books for a long time now. Underworld just completely put me off my appetite for any more of her writing.
I give this book 0.5/5 stars.