The Bookish Brits Book Club read for November was The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot.
Posted by Caroline
Last year, Pierce died – just for a moment. And when she was in the space between life and death, she met John: a devilishly handsome boy who ushers souls from one world to the next. Pierce tried to fight her attraction to John but has now accepted her fate and gone to live with him in the dark realm between heaven and hell. She may finally be safe from the Furies – the angry, vengeful souls of the dead – but is she safe from John? When she discovers that she’s a prisoner and her family are in danger she must escape even if it means risking everything, even her life . . .
I have been waiting for this since having the ARC of Abandon and I haven’t been disappointed.
Underworld begins right where Abandon left off. Pierce wakes up in the Underworld with John. She has to try and process everything she has just found out; her grandmother is a Fury and has just tried to kill her, she has tried to kill her before (!), the Furies are after her as a way to hurt John and they won’t stop until they get what they want. Phew, on top of all this she is now in the Underworld for safety and because of all the above can’t really go home. Being with John might be a dream come true, but life in the Underworld? Pierce doesn’t feel ready to let go of her Mum and her cousin Alex just yet.
So with all that in the background Pierce begins to explore her knew home and her relationship with John as she realises there is a lot about him she doesn’t know, and she wants to find out. She discovers he has some ‘undead’ friends living in the Underworld with him and her. Curiosity continues to grow, not just about John as the head of the entrance to the Underworld, but about his life, his family, the ship he sailed and most of all his death and how he came to be undead. Being the second book in a trilogy not all the answers are revealed, but over the course of the story we do get to know more about the enigmatic John.
Pierce is also worried about her cousin, Alex, who she sees on her phone trapped in a coffin. Her phone shouldn’t work in this other realm so Pierce is desperate to make sure he is alright. John is worried about taking her back, not only because of the danger from the Furies but because now Pierce lives in the Underworld she might find visiting her family a bit difficult. Pierce’s insistence that they go leads to all sorts of drama and it reveals more about the history of Pierce’s own family and the links it might have with John’s history.
In addition to all this is the development of John and Pierce’s relationship. Pierce is unsure if she wants to be stuck in the Underworld, although she is sure she wants to be with John. The connections to Hades and Persephone come to the fore as Pierce grapples with whether or not she will be able to leave the Underworld for good at all. We finally discover the significance of those pomegranate seeds!
Verdict: There is loads going on in the novel and I was hooked. There is plenty more action I haven’t covered. Its a real page turner and I still want to know more and see how it all works out. Hurry up book 3!
Samantha Madison is an average, cool Washington, D.C., teen: She loves Gwen Stefani (who doesn’t?), can draw like nobody’s business, and enjoys being opposite to her sister’s annoying ultra-social personality. But when she ditches art class one day, she doesn’t expect to be jumping on the back of a wannabe presidential assassin. Soon the young hero is receiving worldwide acclaim for her bravery, having dinner with her family at the White House, and is even being named teen ambassador to the UN. As if this weren’t enough, she and David, the president’s son, strike up a friendship that everyone wants the dirt on, which starts to give her romantic “frisson” feelings. Unfortunately, Sam thinks her sister’s boyfriend, Jack, is the true love of her life, and she makes a few wrong turns that could screw up what she’s developing with David. Will she ever stop following what she knows and start following what she sees?
All American girl is about a girl called Samantha Madison and she has bad luck on her side. She was born to 2 parents with red hair so her older sister Lucy gets the nice strawberry-blonde hair while she gets the copper wire coloured hair. She is also the middle child, the one stuck right in between Lucy and Rebecca (her weird younger sister, Sam suspects she’s an alien but no-one else backs-up her theory) which means she doesn’t get the new clothes or anything. But recently she’s got a new wardrobe by dying all her clothes black because she’s in mourning for the world (she really mustn’t get out much these days!).
Sam is good at drawing so she has no idea why she got sent to art lessons which are run by this strange lady Susan Boone who looks like an elf queen or something along those lines. Well when she arrived she saw this boy who comments on her converse high-tops which she had decorated with daisies drawn on with a yellow highlighter and Tipp-ex. She thinks she likes him but the art lesson was a bit of a fail as she ‘drew what she saw but not what she knew’ Sam was really confused! But to avoid humiliation next time she thought she would bunk off. So she did, and in the meantime saved a crazy guy from killing the President of America. Now Sam is an instant world famous celebrity and doesn’t like it as much as she thought the, only exception is David the President’s son…
Verdict: This book was AMAZING!!! Whoever doesn’t read this will regret it forever! The book was clever and really captures the life of a normal teen. Definitely 10 out of 10. For girls 11-17 I would say. I recommend Meg Cabot’s other books like the Princess Diaries, Teen Idol and Jinx, vey good! Don’t forget to read all American Girl: ready or not, the sequel to this book!
Reviewed by Daisy
The first book in the brand-new dark and dangerously seductive trilogy from bestselling teen author Meg Cabot. Last year, Pierce died- just for a moment. And when she was in the space between life and death, she met John: tall dark and terrifying, it’s his job to usher souls from one realm to the next. There’s a fierce attraction between them, but Pierce knows that if she allows herself to fall for John she will be doomed to a life of shadows and loneliness in the underworld. But now things are getting dangerous for her, and her only hope is to do exactly what John says…
I began this read with a shiver of anticipation, it’s been a while since I read a book about death and it did sound a little creepy! However the story sounded fascinating and the cover (on my copy it is very simple silver and black, no pictures) was fantastic. And, even better, I wasn’t disappointed. I was hooked from the first page, one of those books that I carry round the house in case I get an odd minute to read a little bit more!
Pierce is a refreshing heroine, sometimes, naive, sometimes slow to catch on, sometimes brave, sometimes wise. It is gripping to watch her try and come to terms with all that has happened in her life and, believe me, dying and coming back to life is only the beginning!
Her story is told in a mixture of ways, we start when Pierce has moved to a small island for a fresh start, so we go with her as she moves forward, and also hear about her past as she remembers and retell it to us. This moving backwards and forwards means I constantly wanted to know more as little snippets of information are revealed, but we often have to wait for the rest of the information to come later. Throughout the book the pace kept going, with only a couple of slower parts to catch your breath. There are twists and turns aplenty and the ending was fantastic.
Then, of course, there is John. The blurb on the back of my cover describes him as a “boy”, but I would have to say he comes across as all man! A dark, brooding, moody, attractive young man, who Pierce realises she has met more than once before. As we learn more about him we discover that he has a history like no other and that makes him all the more intriguing, and seem much more grown up than Pierce. The ups and downs of his relationship with Pierce definitely highlight his dark side, but often mange to have a hint of humour as Pierce grapples with her feelings and her inability to say the right thing at the right time. This provides her a share of teenage angst, but his link to the Underworld and her experiences there are a real driver to their relationship, and initially at least, to her relationship with him as she tries to understand how the things that are happening around her now are related to what happened when she died.
The story holds a great degree of mystery and secrets. Pierce is trying to keep everyone in her life safe, crazy things keep happening to people in her life since she has returned to the world of the living. I also enjoyed thinking about the ideas she grapples with as she feels the burden of knowing that the Underworld doesn’t seem to fit with common ideas about an afterlife. The connections to Greek mythology are evident throughout the story, and it is obviously linked to the story of Hades and Persephone. As this is a story that I only know the bare bones of I do not know how closely, or what is going to happen next. One thing is for sure though; I will be waiting with impatience to find out until the next book comes out in Autumn 2012.
Verdict: Gripping, enthralling and fascinating. A great read.
Reviewed by Helen