After months of reading various Young Adult paranormal series, I am happy to say that the one of the most prolific and popular writers in both the adult and young adult genres has written a series that is fresh, intriguing and exciting. Slowly, in chapters that alternate between the present and the past, the previous horrible year and a half of Pierce Oliviera’s life unfolds. She has not had an easy go of it, considering she died and all. A tender hearted girl, Pierce falls quietly into the family swimming pool trying to save a bird. In Connecticut. In the middle of winter. And no one hears her. And she drowns.
Finding herself in a crowd of thousands of people in a cavern near a lake, Pierce is heartened when she sees a man on horseback she recognizes – a man she first met at the funeral of her grandfather, ten years ago. Strangely, though, he appears not to have aged a day. When Pierce reintroduces herself, he offers to take her away from the pressing and confused throng of people. Thinking she is getting to go home, she is horrified to learn that this place is now her home. Wherever “this” is. The man, John, is so happy that she has agreed to stay with him. He gives Pierce a necklace with a large gray diamond and tells her it will protect her from evil. That’s when he tells Pierce the story of her death.
The Furies will have severe consequences for ignoring the rules, so John tells Pierce that he can’t allow her to leave. Pierce manages to escape, however, and that’s when really bad things happen. Forced to leave her high school in Connecticut because of an incident with a teacher, Pierce and her mother return to Isla Huesos where her grandmother, uncle and cousin live. Her parents have divorced, Pierce’s sanity is in question, her grandmother is acting very strangely, and there seems to be a storm brewing, both literally and figuratively. The constant in her life? John, who has rescued her more than once, though he doesn’t seem happy about it. Why won’t he just leave her alone? And when he does, why does Pierce wish he hadn’t?
The blending of the story of Persephone and Hades with modern-day characters updates and invigorates the standard bad boy meets sensitive girl story. I found the Greek mythology, the legend surrounding Isla Huesos and the decidedly anti-linear telling of the story very compelling.
4 of 5 Stars.
Ages: 14 and up.