Reviewer: Fiona Ingram, a South African writer who loves books, travel, animals, antiques, and adventures of all kinds! Read Fiona’s author site and find out about her recently published children’s adventure novel
Genre: Young Adult
Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Paperback: 308 pages
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Rating: 4 stars
(Available from Kalahari and Exclusive Books)
Imagine if your boyfriend is actually the ruler of the underworld, yep, that’ll be Hades. Now imagine that having died and been revived by him in the past, you’re back in Hades, faced with a choice of – do I stay or do I go? Keep imagining because things are going to get worse! Your grandmother is possessed by a Fury, yes, an evil creature from Greek mythology. She’s trying to kill you so as to punish your boyfriend. Hurting you will hurt him. Now imagine, your cousin Alex is going to be trapped in a coffin on the night when everyone in your hometown of Isla Huesos (which, by the way,means Island of Bones) celebrates a kind of Festival of the Dead tradition. This festival involves lots of coffins … and your cousin is going to suffocate in one of them. Oh, did I mention that a fabulous necklace, given to you by your hunky (dead) boyfriend actually contains the Persephone Diamond, which turns black when Furies are about.
Pierce Oliviera has an extraordinary life. Although she started out as a normal girl, family events took a strange turn. In Book 1: Abandon, Pierce died but was brought back to life by John Hayden, ruler of Hades. Now she finds herself half in the world of the living and half in the world of the dead. Underworld is the second book in the series and expands upon the Hades/Persephone Greek myth, where (if you’ve done your homework) you’ll remember that Persephone ate six pomegranate seeds while in the underworld. As a result, she must spend six months on earth, and six months with her dark consort.
In Underworld, Pierce finds herself more intrigued than ever by the mysterious John Hayden and his smouldering good looks. He is everything a seventeen-year-old girl could want … or maybe not? John has a guilty secret that’s eating him up because basically he is lying to Pierce. Pierce also finds out more about the convoluted and corrupt relationships between the aristocratic and wealthy families on the island. Their histories are intertwined with John’s previous human life. Unfortunately, the rich and powerful of Isla Huesos stop at nothing to keep their secrets safe and their wicked future plans on track. If this involves killing people, then so be it. John, Pierce, and their friends find themselves targeted at every turn by enemies, both human and eternal.
This enchanting and surreal reworking of the Greek legend will definitely intrigue romantic teens as John and Pierce develop their relationship. After all, it’s not every day that a girl says goodbye to the land of the living. The author depicts a plausible underworld, which also has a cast of eccentric characters to assist John as he ferries souls from life into death. Although this is the second book, the author filters enough back history into the story, enabling readers to get the picture. John and Pierce’s otherworldly romance continues in Book 3: Awaken.