On a stopover in the Underworld, Pierce once again meets John Hayden whom she first met when she was 7 years old at her grandfather’s funeral. Hayden is charmed by Pierce and wants to keep her around so that she will be safe from evil. He even gives her a necklace that is said to ward off evil.
Instead, princess Pierce escapes and returns from the dead where everyone thinks she has major issues like PTSD, Attention Hyperactivity disorder, and inattentiveness. She’s then involved in the attack on a teacher that ends up costing her father money in a civil suit because nobody can find evidence to the contrary that Pierce wasn’t to blame for her teachers attack.
Pierce is pretty much thrown out of school in Connecticut and put in the middle of a costly divorce between her uber wealthy father, and liberal leaning mother who blames the father for everything, including Pierce’s brush with death.
As the story opens, 17 year old Pierce and her mother Deborah Cabrero now reside in Isla Hueso (Isle of Bones), Florida alongside her Grandmother, Uncle and cousin. Pierce is forced to start her senior year off in the trouble maker wing of Isla Hueso High School where one of the traditions is a Coffin find.
Later we learn that the necklace that Pierce wears around her neck was in fact made by Hades, the god of death, for his love Persephone. It also saves the wearer from the so called Furies who are actually spirits of the dead who are really unhappy with where they ended up after they died.
Since I haven’t read the Goddess Test, which is pretty much based on the same story, I can’t compare the stories. I did find myself disconnected with Pierce as a character since she pretty much gets whatever she wants. She needs money; she calls daddy deep pockets. She needs help getting out of trouble; her father pays off the civil suit. She's not the brightest light bulb in the pack most times.
Pierce is kind of a mess as main character. She has no clue about who Homer is, or what the story was between Hades and Persephone. One of the sub characters had it right on the money in saying schools these days don’t teach students anything of importance. I've been reiterating that fact for the past 20 years!
As for John Hayden, I would definitely call him a stalker pure and simple. He pretty much stalks Pierce from the time she’s 7 years old, until she ends up in Isla Hueso where his cemetery is located 10 years later. He has the ability to be anywhere Pierce is in a blink of an eye, and has more than a few times, assaulted anyone who has tried to harm her.
I think the most interesting part of the story was when the cemetery caretaker was explaining to a blank eyed Pierce about the whole situation with Hades, Persephone, and Hayden and how different religions have different ideas about where a soul ends up after it leaves this plane of existence. I found myself wanting to learn more about the 5 rivers of the Underworld (Acheron, Kokytos, Phlegethon, Lethe, and Styx) as well as the 5 prongs of Persephone’s necklace (Sorrow, Fire, Hate, Lamentation, and Oblivion.)
One of my major beefs with this story is the consistency of the story. It was all over the place. It was like attempting to follow an individual who is totally disconnected from reality and expecting readers to understand that the hell was going on. Now, look, I’m a fan of Cabot’s writing so it’s nothing personal.
Naturally, since there are two more books in the series, this book is left with a cliffhanger after John spirits Pierce away to the Underground. No spoiler here. It’s as obvious as reading the synopsis for the next book called Underworld.
I liked the setting for the story as being the real life Isla Hueso. I love when writer’s use an actual settings to tell their stories especially Key West that has a very long history. The part about the bodies not being buried underground because they continually raise to the surface after Hurricane’s hit the Isle was based on factual evidence, and not myth.
Overall, a decent start to the series with all sorts of improvement and avenues to explore from here on out.
Author: Meg Cabot
Released: April 26, 2011