Author: 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.