Didn’t Like It
“This book started with so much potential, but stalled out a hundred pages in. As a dystopia, Hoover has created a solid world where global warming is a reality and the constant heat is giving governments increasing power to do as they please. As a spin on Greek mythology, this book did almost...”see full review » see other reviews »
“This book started with so much potential, but stalled out a hundred pages in. As a dystopia, Hoover has created a solid world where global warming is a reality and the constant heat is giving governments increasing power to do as they please. As a spin on Greek mythology, this book did almost nothing for me.
First of all, the Big Reveal doesn't come until page 290, making Piper appear exceedingly stupid. I know there were reasons why she couldn't (and didn't) know the truth, but those reasons were flimsy. Was Hoover hoping that her readers would be as in the dark as Piper, or were we supposed to figure it out and wait anxiously for Piper to come to the same conclusion? Even if it was supposed to be the latter, it felt like the former and one thing I hate more than anything is an author treating me like I'm stupid.
I also had serious issue with the romance in Solstice. I hate love triangles and instalove, and this book had both of those. While I did like Shayne, I had problems with Piper declaring herself in love with him after only a week of knowing him. She was prepared to throw her entire life away for him, and she barely knew him! What kind of message is that for teenage readers?
Despite that, my biggest problem with the romance was with Reese. I am honestly shocked by just how rapey Reese was, particularly towards the end of the novel. One whiff of his scent and Piper is willing to do whatever he wants - and he takes increasing advantage of that. Scenes with Reese in them pulled my rape trigger and made the book difficult to read.
Solstice had so much potential, but, ultimately, failed to reach it. The ending seems to set up for a sequel, but I will not be continuing the series. ”
“This was a young adult novel. I sometimes enjoy these and can see them as they come into the library where I work. I enjoyed the idea of the book, a dying earth due to global warming, the characters were written well, but since I have no real knowledge of mythology some of the story was confusing to me. but for those who are into myths and understand who was who, this will be more interesting to read.”Pat R wrote this review Wednesday, August 21, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“There's a special kind of sadness reserved for a book that starts out well, that you think you're going to be best friends with, but which, instead, goes somewhere that your heart and mind can't embrace. For me, Solstice is one such book. For the first hundred pages, Solstice was heading for a 3.5-4 star rating, but then the twist and the romance happened. Though not for me, Solstice does have good qualities and will no doubt be pleasing to a slew of other readers.
The first hundred pages of Solstice are solid post-apocalyptic, though I wouldn't really call the book dystopian myself, though really what a dystopia is has really lost all meaning for me by this point. The world Hoover has created is an eerily possible future earth, one beset by global warming. In Piper's world, one hundred degrees Fahrenheit is a cool day in Austin, TX. Going outside requires sunscreen pills and cool misting sprays at all times. Water comes in two temperatures: warm and hot. Air conditioning is used to cool buildings down to the upper 80s or 90s - any more than that is illegal. Governments around the world try to fix the heat with science, but the attempts are not proving promising.
In these opening chapters, Piper is cool-headed, thoughtful, and obedient to her overbearing mother. Other students look to her for advice and instructions during crises. Because of her mother's restrictions, she does feel a bit lonely, and wishes she were allowed to date like the other kids, especially since she's legally an adult at 18. For this reason, I wasn't bothered by her intense immediate attraction to the hot new boy at school who just happened to sit next to her in class and want to talk to her OR to the hot boy who came by her house claiming to be the son of one of her mother's colleagues. The girl has been toeing her mother's line for so long she was bound to crack eventually; she's entered her rebellious phase, as evidenced by the tattoo she gets with her best friend. That was all fine.
At this point, if you're concerned about spoilers, you may want to step away. I can't review this one without spoiling the big twist, because I have things I need to talk about to explain why my opinion changed about Solstice. The twist is discussed in the blurb above, but I generally ignore those and didn't know myself, so up to you.
Right around the one hundred page mark, Solstice becomes an entirely different book, a fantasy about Greek mythology. Unfortunately, the transition is marked with excruciatingly instalove-ridden romance, rather than action or good mythology. Hoover does bring the mythological elements to an interesting conclusion, but there was too much unfortunate romance before that got going that kept me from liking this book.
The romance elements have the unfortunate gender dynamics present in other young adult Persephone adaptations, like Abandon and The Goddess Test. Reese (Ares) and Shayne (Hades) are fighting for Piper's love, though she cannot figure out why (even though she's OBVIOUSLY Persephone from when the Greek myth stuff first starts, she won't figure that out until page 290). She instaloves (one week, people!) with Shayne, who refers to her as the "spoils" of his position in the Underworld and refuses to tell her anything, though, to be fair, there does end up being a reason for that later (though my opinion was set by the time I learned that). Whenever Piper gets near Reese, though, his intoxicating scent fills her with memories of their time together, fictional ones, and she cannot help making out with him. Only at the very end does she actually make any sort of informed choice about romance, mostly being led about by the men. The logical, thoughtful heroine of the beginning of the book disappears never to be seen again. Neither love interest ever gets personified beyond on nice strong guy and evil strong guy respectively.
Much as I can't personally get past the romance, I can appreciate the way that Hoover resolved everything. She does put an interesting twist on the relationship dynamics of the myth. Piper's relationship with her mother echoes the original tale, but puts a different spin on Demeter's desire to keep Persephone with her.
I'm torn on the resolution to the whole global warming plot of the beginning. Hoover does come back to that and deftly ties it into the mythology by explaining that it's always summer when Persephone's with her mother. That's pretty awesome on one level, but also really annoys me on a couple of others. From a mythology standpoint, I just don't think that her mother being happy would equal an increasingly hot summer, because it's not like the world was an arid desert until Persephone started spending six months in the Underworld every year. Also, I find the idea that global warming has been turned into a side effect of the squabbles of the gods, rather than of humans completely fucking up the planet, distasteful. I know it's just been done for the fictional value, but I still can't get completely behind it.
If, like me, you're not a fan of poorly characterized instalove romances, you may want to give Solstice a pass. However, if you're curious and not as easily frustrated by such things, there are a lot of cool things in Solstice for you to appreciate. I really like what Hoover did in theory, and I do think that she shows a lot of promise as an author; her writing is good and the concept is fantastic. Though Solstice didn't work for me, I'll be open to reading more of Hoover's books in the future.”
“like the Austin setting; nice use of mythology to explain global warming; my background in mythology helped me guess what was happening; fun to see some of the Greek characters in their afterlife; nice romance with a slight triangle. ”Read Junkee wrote this review Sunday, May 5, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
Okay so, I definitely have to give Hoover credit for her high concept ideas here. The way she's mixed global warming ("Global Heating Crisis") and Greek myths is no less than impressive, and I really have to doff my hat to her on that one. However, the rest of the execution...well, let's just say that our ideas drastically differ on how this could have been done with the exact same emotional payoff for the reader. Regardless of my nitpicking, "Solstice" is still a really interesting read and a different take on some of the most well-known Greek myths we have, and deserves the read. If you're looking for something somewhat different in the paranormal/PNR department in YA, definitely check out "Solstice".
Okay, biggest issues I had with this book: LOVE TRIANGLE/INSTALOVE. Seriously. didn't need to be used, and could have been so much better without it. I see why she did it - it was the easiest and most direct way to get Piper into the place Hoover needed her to be to start dropping her Big Reveals. Which, to be fair, were pretty awesome. But the love triangle just felt really unnecessary, and it took up a good chunk of the book that I felt could have been edited out as well, because all it did was chart Shayne and Piper's dates. Seriously. That was it. And I understand that was needed to bring them closer together, but...all of those pages just weren't needed. I hope by the time this book goes to pub it gets one, good, clean final edit.
Plus Reese? Totally rapey. Totally. And while that fits his true identity/persona, Piper going along with it? It made me nauseous. And while she fought it (to a certain extent) - she went along with it way too long. And I honestly don't think that's a great message to put in a YA book, however unintentional it may be. As for the instalove - while Hoover very cleverly uses it to her advantage to help along one of the Greek myths embedded within this story, it's still instalove for about 75% of the book - for both boys.
What I loved: the worldbuilding. Hoover definitely has this well in hand, and I definitely can't wait to see what she does next with her craft in this area alone. The idea of the Global Heating Crisis being connected with Greek myths was really, really creative, and the world built around it was awesome. The sensory imagery and language also helped develop this world quite a bit, and the showing to telling ratio was blessedly more on the showing side. The idea of the protective domes really kinda freaked me out, but in a good way. The fact that humanity was once again tinkering with technology it fully didn't get was great, and I felt that once everyone's true identities were outed (including Piper's) and all of those links made firm, obvious, and explicit it all made a lot of sense with the backstories that also came to light with these Big Reveals. This is definitely Hoover's greatest strength (along with that intricate plot) within the technical area of things.
But, once again in the editing department, there were a few dangling threads left even after the Big Reveals are finished revealing themselves. As in, okay, yes, we understand this one councilman's true identity and how that makes him want to shoot rockets at everything, but nothing is given further than that. One-sentence explanations, seeing as this guy, even while minor on the main cast, is still on the main cast and needed further explanation. There are a few of these areas all over the book, but mostly in that final 25% after everything has been revealed. Once again, I'm hoping one final edit will help tie up those dangling threads.
Piper and the rest of the characters are crafted well, though Hoover could improve (and not make her MC a doormat - sorry, it had to be said) in this area. Most of them felt 3D, but not the entire main cast. So, I'd rate this good, but could be better.
Final verdict? For those that love love triangles/instalove, you're going to really dig this one. But I'd say even if you're like me and are pretty sick of those two plot devices, give this book a try anyway - it's definitely entertaining and interesting to say the least. "Solstice" is out from Tor Teen/Macmillan June 18, 2013 in North America, so be sure to check it out then!
(posted to goodreads, shelfari, and birthofanewwitch.wordpress.com)”
“What can I say about this book other than it is one of my favorite books of 2011!! It's definitely one of the best books dealing with mythology that I have read. I never thought I would say this, but I really want to meet Hades, the King of the Underworld! PJ Hoover makes the Underworld sound like the best, most happening place in the world!
From Goodreads: "Piper’s world is dying. Global warming kills every living thing on Earth, and each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles which threaten to destroy humanity. Amid this Global Heating Crisis, Piper lives with her mother who suffocates her more than the chaotic climate. When her mother is called away to meet the father Piper has been running from her entire life, Piper seizes an opportunity for freedom."
Piper has always been controlled by her domineering, uber-overprotective mother, and now that she is 18, she has had enough. She starts to rebel, with the help of her best friend Chloe, starting with getting matching Greek tattoos that Chloe picks out for them both. And then things start getting really weird, really quick. She meets two very hot guys (both of whom have apparently been at her school all year, although she has never noticed them before), and they are both vying for her attention. She has no idea that they are both Gods, and while Earth is suffering from global warming, the Underworld is in chaos as well. She has some part to play in all of this, but all she is interested in is finding out who she really is and why all of this is happening to her. Everyone else seems to know, but nobody will tell her.
This is a truly awesome book full of mythology and a girl trying to discover her own identity in a world that is dying. PJ Hoover has a way of giving you everything that you want, and tons more that you didn't even know you wanted! This is a quick, easy read because it keeps your interest from the very beginning, and it moves from one thing to the next seamlessly. The pace is perfect, and the characters are very well developed. There is definite character growth, which is missing in a lot of books that are quick reads. The characters are not sacrificed for the plot, which is a definite pet peeve of mine. There are some great twists and turns, and I was constantly kept guessing about what was going to happen next.
In summary, this is a really great book that I highly recommend to all lovers of YA, fantasy, and mythology. I give it an enthusiastic 5 stars :D
Of note, there is one part of the book that mentions the male genitalia, something to keep in mind for the younger readers out there.”
“Solstice was a great read!
The mythology in Solstice was wonderfully woven into the plot and cleverly modernized. I guessed who Piper was around the twentieth chapter, but that was the only part of this story I was able to figure out. I loved how the gods were depicted in Solstice. There are so many ways to twist the Greek myths, and I enjoyed a new perspective on the characteristics, personalities, and ages of the gods.
One thing about the story that annoyed me was how Piper could never resist Reese. Yes, there needed to be a love triangle and some conflict, but after the first couple times she lost the struggle not to kiss him I was half rooting for her to gain control of herself and half just waiting for the scene to end or Shayne to interrupt them. I was happy Shayne didn’t bail her out all of the time, and she redeemed herself somewhat in my mind when she finally left Reese. The other thing that bothered me was the sexual activity and references to it.
The secondary characters were good too, I liked Chloe’s rebellious nature and Charon’s friendliness. They tied as my favorite character. The underworld was very interesting, and the villains very hate-able. I could see how P. J. Hoover had so much fun writing them.
I was given this review copy by the author for a Pump Up Your Book virtual tour”