This steamy apocalyptic-fantasy-romance novel reads like the product of a committee formed specifically to design a YA best-seller.
First-person narrator Piper Snow has spent her 18 years in a dying world, parched by the Global Heating Crisis. Piper, however, is more preoccupied with her overprotective mother and the two hot guys who suddenly exhibit passionate interest: the suavely seductive, golden hunk Reese and the gorgeous, brooding, bad boy Shayne. While the former tempts her into rebellion, it’s the latter whom she feels she has known and loved forever and who reveals that the gods of Greek mythology still walk the Earth—and its depths. Most of the story is spent with Piper touring the Underworld, fretting that no one answers her questions (for no reason other than that the plot requires it), and watching her parents and admirers squabble over her, lie to her, manipulate her and occasionally assault her. It’s hard to fathom her appeal; Piper’s most apparent personality traits are peevish passivity and spectacular self-absorption, and her interactions with her suitors consist of brief, banal conversations, scorching kisses and screaming for rescue. The slightest familiarity with classical legends will render the meant-to-be-shocking revelations obvious, and the moderately interesting science-fiction setting falls apart when forced into a literal mythological framework. Although Piper exerts some agency in the final chapter, enough major conflicts are left unresolved to guarantee a sequel.
Generic, unthreatening, popcorn summer reading; ideal for those readers looking for more of exactly the same. (Fantasy. 14 & up)