Published by: Tor Teen on June 18, 2013
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology, Romance, Science Fiction
Source: Finished Copy From Publisher
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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.
Excuse me, folks, black sheep coming through.
The first quarter of Solstice left me in a constant state of confusion. Very suddenly, the main character is develops not one—but two—insta-love relationships. I figured there was some bigger picture at work, but it was annoying because the relationships reminded me of those books where there’s the plain, ‘normal’ girl and every guy in a 2 mile radius is obsessed with her. Because in Solstice Piper had never dated ANYONE, and suddenly the two hottest guys she’s ever seen are asking her out and fighting for her affection, and she’s so madly obsessed with both of them. I was just like, “Really?” And this went on for so long that I was starting to seriously wonder if this was going to be the entire book (and in a way it kind of was).
More than anything, I’d say that Solstice is a romance book, with mythology and sci-fi twisted in (rather than the other way around). Once you get to the end of the book, you realize that everything revolves around the romance. And for me, that became a huge problem because I wasn’t sold on the romance. I didn’t feel the chemistry between Piper and View Spoiler » [Hades « Hide Spoiler] and the other love interest was such a massive douchebag. I think the biggest problem was that the nature of the romance made it very un-relatable. View Spoiler » [Piper and Hades had been in love and married for years and years. But the Piper’s true identity (Persephone) was lost and she became reborn, with no memory of Hades. So when Hades finally finds her again, he’s still madly in love with her, but Piper doesn’t remember who he is. But since they have all this history, they are sort of madly and ‘instantly’ in love.. but as a reader, I never saw that past relationship so when they started developing strong feelings for each other really quickly, I just saw it as annoying and dreaded insta-love. « Hide Spoiler]
I also think that Piper accepted the existence of the Underworld and the reality of Greek Mythology way too easily. It’s like she got taken into the Underworld and just turned to Hades and said, “Oh I’ve heard myths about this place! It’s real? Cool!” And that was it. View Spoiler » [Maybe in some way it does make sense, because deep down she already knew about the existence of the Underworld… but still. « Hide Spoiler]
And then almost every part of the story of Solstice was just so predictable and obvious. Like once we figured out that Reese was View Spoiler » [Ares, the God of War « Hide Spoiler] , I thought it was so obvious that View Spoiler » [Piper’s mom knows him (and Shayne). « Hide Spoiler] But it took so long for Piper to catch up to that fact. When she finally did, I was just like, “Way ahead of you, girl.” And then there’s the whole thing with View Spoiler » [Piper truly being Persephone. Once again, I figured that out WAY before Piper did. As soon as I realized Hades was the main god in the book, I guessed that Piper was Persephone. Because let’s be honest, a story with Hades in it is going to be about Persephone as well. But Piper didn’t figure that out until the last quarter of the book. « Hide Spoiler] I just felt like I was constantly waiting for Piper to catch up to me.
Overall I’m massively disappointed by Solstice. It sounded like a fantastic book and got so many great reviews, and I’m so bummed that I’m a black sheep here. I wanted to love this book, and I thought I would because it combines so many elements that I love (Greek mythology, global warming, sci-fi, romance..). But I think the whacky insta-love-y triangle just ruined the book for me. It started so suddenly and was way too strong, and then dominated the whole book. I was put off by it from the very beginning. I literally think my face was contorted with confusion for the first half of the book, as I tried to figure out why we were dealing with two crazy cases of insta-love.