Meg Cabot The first book in the brand-new dark and dangerously seductive trilogy from bestselling teen author Meg Cabot. Last year, Pierce died- just for a moment. And when she was in the space between life and death, she met John: tall dark and terrifying, it’s his job to usher souls from one realm to the next. There’s a fierce attraction between them, but Pierce knows that if she allows herself to fall for John she will be doomed to a life of shadows and loneliness in the underworld. But now things are getting dangerous for her, and her only hope is to do exactly what John says…
I began this read with a shiver of anticipation, it’s been a while since I read a book about death and it did sound a little creepy! However the story sounded fascinating and the cover (on my copy it is very simple silver and black, no pictures) was fantastic. And, even better, I wasn’t disappointed. I was hooked from the first page, one of those books that I carry round the house in case I get an odd minute to read a little bit more!
Pierce is a refreshing heroine, sometimes, naive, sometimes slow to catch on, sometimes brave, sometimes wise. It is gripping to watch her try and come to terms with all that has happened in her life and, believe me, dying and coming back to life is only the beginning!
Her story is told in a mixture of ways, we start when Pierce has moved to a small island for a fresh start, so we go with her as she moves forward, and also hear about her past as she remembers and retell it to us. This moving backwards and forwards means I constantly wanted to know more as little snippets of information are revealed, but we often have to wait for the rest of the information to come later. Throughout the book the pace kept going, with only a couple of slower parts to catch your breath. There are twists and turns aplenty and the ending was fantastic.
Then, of course, there is John. The blurb on the back of my cover describes him as a “boy”, but I would have to say he comes across as all man! A dark, brooding, moody, attractive young man, who Pierce realises she has met more than once before. As we learn more about him we discover that he has a history like no other and that makes him all the more intriguing, and seem much more grown up than Pierce. The ups and downs of his relationship with Pierce definitely highlight his dark side, but often mange to have a hint of humour as Pierce grapples with her feelings and her inability to say the right thing at the right time. This provides her a share of teenage angst, but his link to the Underworld and her experiences there are a real driver to their relationship, and initially at least, to her relationship with him as she tries to understand how the things that are happening around her now are related to what happened when she died.
The story holds a great degree of mystery and secrets. Pierce is trying to keep everyone in her life safe, crazy things keep happening to people in her life since she has returned to the world of the living. I also enjoyed thinking about the ideas she grapples with as she feels the burden of knowing that the Underworld doesn’t seem to fit with common ideas about an afterlife. The connections to Greek mythology are evident throughout the story, and it is obviously linked to the story of Hades and Persephone. As this is a story that I only know the bare bones of I do not know how closely, or what is going to happen next. One thing is for sure though; I will be waiting with impatience to find out until the next book comes out in Autumn 2012. Verdict: Gripping, enthralling and fascinating. A great read. Reviewed by Helen