Book Review: Unhinged (Underworld Book 1) by Chani Lynn Feener

 
 
Spencer's boyfriend, Micah, died months ago and came back as a ghost only she can see and who only exists when she's home. Still mourning the loss of their future together and unable to move on, Spencer tricks a ferryman into giving her a ride to the Underworld where she makes a deal with Hades (AKA Hadrian). She just has to spend six months with him, and then she gets Micah back as a living, breathing human, but the Underworld is nothing like she expected, and neither is Hadrian... and neither is her attraction to him.
 

 
Book Review: Unhinged (Underworld Book 1) by Chani Lynn Feener | reading, books, book reviews, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, young adult, mythology, hades and persephone retelling, ghosts, gods
Title: Unhinged
Series:
Book Number: Book 1 of TBA
Pages: 336
My Book Rating: 4 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Smashwords
 

Review:

*I received a free ecopy of this book from the author via Lovers of Paranormal in exchange for an honest review.*

I admit I had some concerns before starting this book, which I’ll get to in a moment. It sounded like it could be good though, so I gave it a shot, and I’m so glad I did! There were actually a lot of things I liked, so I’m just gonna list this out.

– Number one, I’m very wary of YA books in which the characters are in high school (as opposed to stories set in dystopian, post-apocalyptic, or fantasy worlds) because I can’t handle immaturity or the typical high school tropes, like the “mean girl.” (I think I must’ve had a vastly different high school experience than most authors.) Thankfully though, this book wasn’t like that. The characters were never too immature, but they were still realistic as high schoolers, and all the parts that took place in the school were realistic, not cliched or filled with ridiculous tropes.

– Two, I like love triangles, but I was worried about this one because I wasn’t sure how Spencer could be so in love with Micah that she’d travel to the Underworld to get him back but then turn around and fall in love with Hadrian. Thankfully, this book wasn’t like that either. For one thing, even by the end of the book Spencer wasn’t in love with Hadrian, just interested, and the rest of her reasons for doubting her relationship with Micah weren’t even about Hadrian, they were about character growth and finding herself. The other reason the love triangle worked was because the author did an amazing job of portraying the progression of feelings so that it never felt sudden or unnatural. Spencer’s situation and emotions were all portrayed so well that I understood and I too felt what she was feeling for Hadrian and why she needed to do what she was doing.

– Three, speaking of emotions, the author just did an amazing job of portraying the whole Micah’s death situation period—how impossible it was for Spencer to move on since the person she loved was still hanging around as a ghost, her depression/grief, how she pushed everyone away, the way Spencer’s parents were affected, how her friends were concerned about her, how Brodie started drinking, etc.

– Four, there was so much character growth!

– Five, I just liked the characters themselves too. Spencer made irrational decisions when she was consumed by grief, yes, but she was actually intelligent and rational otherwise. For example, when she was home alone and suddenly heard something that sounded like a window shattering, instead of going to investigate like most characters would, she was basically like, “Screw that,” grabbed her keys, and ran out the front door to get away. As for Hadrian, he was just plain entertaining with his general godly cockiness and the way he liked to rile Spencer up, but he also had emotions and scars of his own. I think some other reviews mentioned that he ran hot and cold a lot, but I thought his moods always made sense. Sometimes he’d start opening up, but then he’d realize his vulnerability and put his metaphorical mask back on. Or he’d be enjoying his time with Spencer, but then she’d say something that hurt him, so he’d get angry and lash out.

– Six, I adored the female friendships in this book! They were realistic, supportive, and shown in such a positive light.

– Seven, last but not least, I really enjoyed getting to see this author’s version of Greek mythology and the Underworld. It wasn’t exactly a retelling of Hades and Persephone, but it shared some aspects, and obviously Hades was in the story.

See? So many things I liked. The only issues I had were a few continuity errors, like a phone being dead but then a character using the flashlight app a minute later. But those were never big things that would’ve impacted the story anyway. Certain things also felt a little too sudden near the end, and I wasn’t sure I quite agreed with some of Spencer’s thoughts.

Overall though, this was a great YA story with a bit of humor, some emotion, great friendships, a unique take on Greek mythology, and lots of character growth!

 
 
Book Blurb

Spencer Perry lost everything the day her boyfriend died. Even when he came back as a ghost, she was never able to return to her old self. Determined to find a way to bring both of them back–him from the dead and her from her depression–Spencer hops a ride with a Reaper across the river to the Underworld where she meets the god of the dead. Hadrian isn’t what she expected Hades to be like, but when he agrees to a deal that can get her Micah back, she puts all caution aside and accepts. Too bad she didn’t realize that she’d also just accepted a lot more than one gorgeous yet frustrating god. Bad things are happening all around her, and now she not only has to worry about keeping Micah’s ghost status a secret from their friends, but also figure out who’s behind all of the accidents. All signs point towards Hadrian, but something about that just doesn’t feel right to her. Something that she hopes has nothing to do with her growing attraction towards him.

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Strong Language:

 
 

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  1. Lola

    I think I read a Persephone retelling a long time ago once and this one does sound like it can be interesting indeed with her dead boyfriend who she can get back if she spends 6 months in hell. So it’s basically a love triangle with Hades and her dead boyfriend? I don’t mind love triangles when well done and they can add something great to a book. The love triangle in this one sounds well done with how you describe it as her feelings progressing and her finding herself more.

    And she actually ran away when she heard a sound, bonus points for that! It’s sometimes so unbelievable that everyone would go investigate. And the characters growth in this book and the character depth sounds really good! It sure sounds like a promising read. Great review!

    1. Kristen Burns

      This one ended up being more inspired by than a true retelling, so I still want to read a real retelling, but I liked this book nonetheless. And yes, the triangle is between her dead boyfriend Hades, which sounds really funny lol. But I liked how it was handled.

      And seriously! Why does every character go investigate??? And yeah, the character growth was great. Thanks!

  2. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    This one sounds interesting. I was put off by the prospect of a love triangle (they don’t always go well and I end up disappointed) but you may have convinced me. Not only that, but it’s inspired by mythology. I love that, especially as it’s not a straight up retelling (which can make it a bit predictable) but more inspired by it. I can’t decide if I’ll check it out because it’s book 1 of however many and I hate falling into the trap of a series.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I mean, I can’t promise how you’ll feel about how the love triangle turns out or anything, but I thought her feelings in this book were believable. I actually like straight up retellings, but anything with Greek mythology does catch my attention. I don’t know how many books there will be though, so I can’t help you there. At least 4, but the 4th isn’t out yet, so I don’t know if it’ll end there.

  3. Bookworm Brandee

    I went to one-click this only to find I’d already one-clicked it. ;) I love mythology in stories – especially when an author puts their own spin on a particular mythology. I also love a book with strong female friendships because I think that is invaluable…we girls need to stick together. ;) I’m also fond on love triangles when they’re done well. I love strong characters and character growth….basically, this book ticks a lot of my boxes, as it seems to have done for you. ;) So I’m putting it on my schedule for October reading. Then we can chat about it. :D

    1. Kristen Burns

      Haha, I feel like you somehow already own every book that I review. I agree though, I love mythology in books, and strong female friendships are so hard to find in books but are so important! And I think we are in the minority with actually liking love triangles lol, but what can I say? That’s just my taste :-P And do tell me if you end up reading a book I’ve read, I’ll definitely want to chat!

  4. Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity

    It’s awesome that you ended up liking this one, even though you were wary about it in the beginning!

    I have to say that even though the majority of the books I read are YA, I am never really in love with the typical high school drama stories, because I left that behind when I graduated, you know? So it’s great that this story didn’t have any of that.

    I am actually in love with the story of Persephone and Hades, and even though you said that this isn’t exactly a retelling, I am still super interested! If you want another retelling, the Abandon series by Meg Cabot is one I really liked :D

    Great review, and I hope you like the next book in the series as much as this one!

    Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity recently posted: Five Reasons To: Watch The X-Files

    1. Kristen Burns

      It’s always nice when books can surprise you, right?!

      For me, it’s more that I didn’t even have that kind of drama when I was in school lol, let alone since I graduated, so it just feels unrealistic and/or unrelatable. But yes, that’s why I was so glad this one didn’t have all that.

      Ooh, thanks, I’ll look that one since I am still looking for something that more of an actual retelling :-)

      Thanks!

  5. Daniela Ark

    I do like dead people. Stories about dead people. The places were dead people go: afterlife, underworld, heaven, hell, the whole post-mortem universe! :) so I was immediately interested in this book. :) [omg my soul needs saving] Then the fact the characters are not cookie cutter and their is a good character ARC.. BONUS! one day when I can read again I’ll read it. Great review Kristen! :)

    1. Kristen Burns

      Haha, I’m not sure if I should be concerned about your liking dead people… ;-) I too love books about the afterlife. They’re always so interesting! And yes, the character arc is great! But seriously, when you comin’ back to the reading universe?!?!