A review by Nalini Haynes
Underworld is the second book in a trilogy. As usual, read my review of the first book, Abandon, because otherwise this review may not make sense. Also, this review will include spoilers for Abandon.
At the end of Abandon, John swept Pierce away to live with him in the Underworld so he could protect her from the Furies, of which her grandmother was one. Pierce dreams John drowned at sea while she tried to rescue him, then wakes to find herself in his arms.
Pierce, still somewhat conflicted about their relationship, wants to go home, to finish high school and to be with her family. As a second choice, she’ll settle for saying goodbye and ensuring her family is safe.
After she eats breakfast, John tells her she can’t leave the Underworld because she’s eaten the food. Then John takes Pierce home to rescue Alex, talking to the cemetery sexton and seeing family members along the way. Things get complicated from there.
John’s impulsive violence starts to recede or at least be less violent, due to Pierce’s influence; thus Pierce assumes responsibility for domestic violence. John lies to Pierce repeatedly but Pierce makes excuses for him. As narrator, Pierce comments on John’s controlling tendencies yet she works within this abusive relationship, even taking responsibility for John’s behaviour.
A familiar story unfolds with regards to centuries’ old hazardous shipping lanes, small communities and secrets; in my experience it’s unusual to couple these tropes with Persephone and Hades’ myth, which sets this trilogy apart.
The final chapter in Underworld is overly melodramatic, detracting from the story. As it doesn’t actually add to the story, I recommend skipping that final chapter.
I enjoyed the archetypes, fast pace and revelations although I feel conflicted over relationship dynamics. I expected specific revelations; if the plot hadn’t taken certain turns, I would have been disappointed. I expect these novels will be enjoyed by fans of Twilight although Pierce is more active in her own destiny than Bella.