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'Abandon' promises more than it delivers

Tanya Ghosh, |

Updated: May 18, 2012, 3:54 PM IST
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'Abandon' promises more than it delivers
The story attempts to recreate the myth of Persephone and Hades but falls short miserably.

Long-winded and just never getting to the point, while the book cover promises a fantastic mysterious and intriguing story, the actual narrative doesn't even come close to it.

The protagonist - Pierce Oliviera describes how although she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, she can't help but feel a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone, because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

Cabot tries to keep up an air of secrecy for so long that in the end it has no effect on the reader and only ends up being irritating. The book actually sounds like a poor man's Twilight with Pierce being a vapid, shallow, self-sacrificing character who blames everything on 'the accident'.

The story attempts to recreate the myth of Persephone and Hades with Pierce being the one who's 'kidnapped' while her love interest John appears to be responsible for the Underworld. According to the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades, Persephone's beauty attracts the unwanted attention of Hades who kidnaps her and takes her as his bride. Her distraught mother Demeter searches for her and stops all foods from growing until she is returned. The earth opened up before Hades' chariot and the god drove the jet-black horses down into the chasm. John too appears before Pierce on a chariot driven by black horses.

I never looked at Persephone of the original Greek myth as "weak"; naive, perhaps, but she must have had some strong and capable qualities that made her someone Hades wanted to keep for eternity. After all, Hades could have easily cast her away just as Zeus did with his conquests; it stands to reason that this could have easily been a possibility due to the fickle natures of the gods. Instead, Persephone became a figure who is regarded as the Queen of the Underworld, dividing her time between earth and the Underworld.

However, none of them are things I can attribute to Pierce. Over the course of 300+ pages, Pierce proved herself to be a spoiled, self-absorbed brat who blamed everything, everything, on others or her near-death experience.

Cabot's writing style is the form that that she can never just say what she wants to. Her dialogue is such that she has to have a running thought attached to it and it feels like she draws everything out in really long explanations, and while one would call it being mysterious and dramatic, I would call it making the reader dizzy and impatient.

While the book has its moments and the description of the Underworld is beautiful, I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone. Parts of it remain unexplained like how a necklace which John gave Pierce got lost but the next morning appeared mysteriously around her neck again. To say I was disappointed in Meg Cabot for this novel is an understatement. Better luck next time.

Title: Abandon; Author: Meg Cabot; Publisher: Macmillan; Price: Rs 299

First Published: May 18, 2012, 3:54 PM IST
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