I will begin by stating that I’m not a paranormal romance fan. I actually kind of detest it. But I made an exception for this book because 1) I had reviewed the first book, Abandon, three years ago and found it okay. I haven’t read the second book, if it’s worth mentioning. 2) The series is a retelling of the Greek myth of Persephone 3) I’ve got a soft spot for Meg Cabot, since she’s the author of the Princess Diaries (though I didn’t read the book until I was older, the movie was every 6-year-old’s dream, wasn’t it?).
Awaken continues the story of Pierce Oliveria, a rich girl with a supposedly soft heart. Our modern Persephone is passionately in love with the ruler of the Underworld – the totally dark and mysterious John Hayden. However, tragedy happens when a classmate murders her cousin Alex and the Furies bring trouble to the Underworld. Most of the plot was jumbled, messy and predictable – I felt like the stakes weren’t really set up.
Cabot desperately tries to portray Pierce as a likeable character. She writes the book in first person perspective and wants the voice of an excitable teenage girl to make the reader feel familiar and closer to the story. But instead of feeling acquainted, I just felt annoyed. Annoyed by the voice. Annoyed by the plot. Annoyed by the relationship between Pierce and John. Annoyed by the portrayal of John as the stereotypical “bad boy” tamed by the “good girl” Pierce. Yes, the whole romance is irritating.
I think I might have liked the story if it was written differently…well, if it was completely different. My main problem with the story was how fake Pierce’s personality and voice seemed to me. Pierce’s POV is supposed to be that of a 17-year-old who’s the queen of the Underworld and mature enough to be in love with a king who’s spiritually 200 years old. To me, another 17-year-old, Pierce’s narration and thoughts feel too simplistic. There’s little depth to themes, action scenes, emotions and world building (I’m so curious about the Underworld; I want to know more – the Underworld is not just the love interest, John!) It’s almost like the voice would have been appropriate for a middle grade or chapter book. But then it couldn’t be for younger kids, because the romance is annoyingly passionate and unrealistic.
Everything I’ve written in this review is purely my own honest opinion. Some teenage girls might very much enjoy the premise and voice of Awaken. I don’t know if it would be considered a good book or not. Maybe it’s actually a very good book. But it just wasn’t the story for me. 1/5
***eBook provided by Netgalley in exchange for my honest review