*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!
YA urban fantasy readers who like Greek mythology, books set in the Underworld, love triangles, great female friendships, and mature YA characters.