Oh goodness… what happened? I know this book was only 290-odd pages of story, so I wasn’t expecting a beefy read, but it could have been executed so much better. Needless to say, I will not be getting the other books in this planned trilogy.
As I’ve said before on the blog, it’s about a girl called Pierce(sephone) who meets a Grim Reaper named John, who is barely in the story. Seriously, the guy shows up when she’s 7, when she’s 15, and in the present narrative of the book, but he’s mostly out of the plot unless it’s a flashback or a fleeting encounter. This was refreshing at times since the book isn’t about some kind of doomed star-crossed romance… But more about a few allusions to Greek mythology here and there, some passages at the beginning of each chapter from Dante Aligheri’s Inferno that made no canonical sense in the context of the book, and a lot of dilly-dallying before Pierce actually did anything.
So here’s the deal: Pierce meets John, a Grim Reaper, at the cemetery in her hometown when she is 7 years old. John makes his first impression on her by bringing a dead bird back to life. So far, so good. Then, Pierce dies after falling into her swimming pool, and ends up in the Underworld, in the queue for the boat that will let the spirits pass on. John takes her out of it like some gloomy bouncer and brings her to his chambers, where she promptly throws a cup of tea in his face and manages to escape back to our plane.
Now, John is just quietly… stalking her. And making sure everyone who could pose harm to her dies. And giving her a, no, the mythical diamond of many colours that Hades gave to his darling Persephone to protect her from the Furies, vengeful spirits who possess weak-minded individuals. John is just a silent presence throughout the book, and because of that, there is no chemistry between him and Pierce. The cemetery sexton explains in the rather hurried third act of the book that John isn’t Hades… just one of his lackeys who brings souls to the afterlife. (Oh, poor Hermes, you’re working overtime – did you somehow clone yourself or something?)
Pierce is also rather vapid, and I find kind her of selfish. She stomps over everyone with her ‘I HAD A NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE AND BECAUSE OF THAT I’M A TROUBLED INDIVIDUAL AND I’M SPECIAL AND I HAVE NIGHTMARES AND I’M ON MEDICATION AND I LEARN IN DIFFERENT WAYS’ thing with little dignity. Even her cousin Alex calls her out on it halfway through the book, and I silently applauded him. She’s just a spoiled rich girl who constantly whines about her issues at the end of the day.
The pacing in this book wasn’t too great either. It starts off slow as heck, then picks up a bit, and then towards the end everything becomes a bit of a hurried mess as Cabot tries to thread together all the important plot points and leave the rest for the sequel to explain. Rather than kill Granny Fury (gasp, you’d never have guessed, considering the minute role she plays) forthwith when she’s revealed, they escape and John reveals that Furies cannot be killed no matter what you do to them. So he basically teleports her back to his room in the Underworld and puts her under house arrest so he can protect her. Great. I’m guessing Pierce does a lot of stomping around the room and watching from afar in the second volume.
It was interesting in some places, and the language was very relaxed and easy to read, just your normal American high school novel with a touch of morbidity and the supernatural. But the characters just didn’t click, the pacing was rather haphazard, and the Greek mythology just didn’t really connect with the plot. A shame, really, because the concept is great… 2/5.