Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Review: Solstice

SolsticeAuthor: P.J. Hoover
Release date: June 18th 2013
Publisher: Tor Teen
Hardcover, 384 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository

Piper's world is dying.

Each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles that threaten to destroy the earth. Amid this global heating crisis, Piper lives under the oppressive rule of her mother, who suffocates her even more than the weather does. Everything changes on her eighteenth birthday, when her mother is called away on a mysterious errand and Piper seizes her first opportunity for freedom.
Piper discovers a universe she never knew existed—a sphere of gods and monsters—and realizes that her world is not the only one in crisis. While gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper’s life spirals out of control as she struggles to find the answer to the secret that has been kept from her since birth.
An imaginative melding of mythology and dystopia, Solstice is the first YA novel by talented newcomer P. J. Hoover.

Well this was a rather pleasant surprise! In Solstice, P. J. Hoover fascinatingly combines Greek mythology with a natural disaster/dystopian scenario. Her idea is breathtakingly original and her execution, for the most part, superb. There were times when the transitions between the two worlds weren’t as smooth as they should have been and they required a bit more patience and good will, but overall, worldbuilding is Solstice’s strongest quality by far.

On the outside, Paige’s world is in ruins. The global warming has reached alarming levels and the world is in the middle of Global Heating Crisis. Nothing functions as it used to and protecting people from the sun is everyone’s biggest concern. Heat bubbles regularly form over cities and cause people to suffocate.

But Paige isn’t just a girl in the middle of a natural disaster. Her ties to Greek gods and the Underworld are strong, even though she doesn’t realize it. It isn’t until she finds out the truth that the story really picks up. She then takes us bravely into the Underworld, across the river with Charon and straight into Hell in Hades’ arms.

Once we arrive in Hell and Elysian Fields, we are overwhelmed by vivid imagery P.J. Hoover provides. She has a great talent for succinct but effective descriptions that have a certain cinematic value. Paige’s first arrival to the Underworld was by far my favorite part of the book.

At first, Paige seemed far too bland for me to really like her, but as she discovered the truth about herself and the people around her, she became stronger and her personality really shone through, which made it possible for me to like her. I did struggle a bit with how she reacted to Greek gods showing up around her. She just took everything in stride, believed what she was told without a hint of disbelief. Hades and Ares, Charon and Cerberus, she accepted them all in a heartbeat, never doubting that they were real.

I also honestly think Solstice would have been a much better book without the love triangle, but for those of you who despise them as much as I do, I should point out that this one wasn’t as bad as most. Things were pretty clear from the start, and the third person was more of a nuisance than an actual threat.

Refreshingly enough, Solstice is a standalone, and it has one of the most satisfying endings I’ve come across in a very long time. After a lovely epilogue, we even get a bonus chapter that will leave an even bigger smile on your faces. I love it when authors do this since there are very few things I love more than basking in the happy endings of characters I’ve grown to love.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinion expressed in this review.


  1. A stand-alone? I might pick this up just for that! I've yet to read a stand-alone novel featuring a love triangle, but I can't see it being quite as irritating as most. Also, I'm a huge fan of Greek mythology, so straight to my TBR this goes. Thanks for such a convincing review, Maja - I'd have probably disregarded this one otherwise!

  2. This one was awfully disappointing for me. I think I would've liked it more if I read the last half with more patience but it was pretty much a skim-read for me. :|

    Fab review, Maja! <33

  3. I read this when it was an Indie release years ago. I wasn't as enthused as you were because I found the writing unremarkably pedestrian. But then again, maybe the book has gone through much editing since then?

    Glad this worked out for you, Maja. I do love the Greek Mythology and the idea of a burning world, though.

  4. I really do like the combination that Hoover decides to go for in this book, it actually seems to work quite well too. I'm glad that the MC won you over in the course of the story, and that the love triangle didn't bother you too much either! Great review hun!

  5. This one is definitely on my to read list. I am so glad you liked it even with the love triangle. I don't hate them as much as some people do but they do get tiring after awhile.

  6. I do seriously despise love triangles. They're trite, overused and are a crutch. /rant
    If I recall, that's one of the reasons I didn't pick this up. And, with only 3 1/2 stars from you, I don't think I'll be reading this anytime soon. It's still on my possibilities list, though!

  7. I'm a sucker for mythology based books, and a combo of Greek myths and dystopia? It sounds great! I'll have to add this one to my TBR list!

    Thanks for a great review and the warning about the love triangle, Maja!

  8. I gave this one a few pages, but it really annoyed me how much she willingly accepted the Greek Gods and I thought it was pretty much obvious with the ties to the mythology. I hate playing catch up with the characters to figure out the "twist" before I do. I'm glad I made the choice to pass this one to other readers. It just wasn't for me.

  9. Lovely review!! This one has interested me for awhile now. I love that it's a stand-alone, and while there is a love-triangle, at least it's not TOO terrible. Sounds like an interesting mix of genres!

  10. Oh wow I had no idea what this one was about, I never would have guessed all the ties to Greek mythology from the cover. So happy that this one worked so well for you, I am going to have to read it when I get out of my "only-contemporary" funk!

  11. Oh dear love triangle - I haven't seen one of these in a while now. Anyhow I haven't heard of this book before but it sounds like a great read. It has a few flaws but I can live with that. Great review Maja :)

  12. Do you know what makes me not totally hate triangles? Cliffies! LOL I hate them so much that if a book has a triangle I can deal so much better. :) Even so, I don't like them either, but it won't make me shy away from a mixed genre book. I like the idea of mythology and dystopian. So need to read this one.

  13. There's so many times I wish an author had left out the love triangle. Especially since this one sounds like it definitely had enough going on without one.

    Regardless, this one sounds pretty interesting, especially since I'm a fan of mythology

  14. I don't get many standalone's these days. I do have this one on the list to get. Sounds interesting and a fascinating blend here. :) Thank you!

  15. That's a big bonus that it has a great conclusion. I have had this one on my radar but wasn't really in the mood for it. I have to admit that it's sounding much better now!

  16. I had so much fun reading SOLSTICE. I loved the combined elements of Greek mythology and the Dystopian setting. Glad you enjoyed the book, and thanks for stopping by Book Swoon. (:

  17. Good review. I'm still iffy about this one but one day i might give it a go :)


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