Review of Solstice, by P.J Hoover

After eighteen years of endless summer, Earth is dying a slow, hot death. Oceans are wastelands of dead fish, deadly heat bubbles threaten to wipe out entire cities, and the soil is so desiccated that plants are in danger of extinction. This is Piper’s
reality, and her domineering,
overprotective mother makes it even more suffocating.

Piper’s best friend Chloe is her only outlet from the bleak reality within and without. However,when Piper rebels by secretly opening a mysterious birthday
present and getting a tattoo with
Chloe, she just exchanges her Global Heating Crisis
nightmare for a mythological one.

Suddenly, Piper’s world teems with murderous, deceitful gods, legendary monsters, and criminals damned to suffer eternal torments in hell. A
creeping moss that only Piper can see
coats the skin of the people around her, and a woman with fog-filled eyes stalks her, insisting that Chloe is about to die. As if all that isn’t enough, two gorgeous guys show up at her school,both claiming to know her, and they both pursue her. And, strangely, they might be the key to this mythical mystery.

The trouble is, Piper can’t resist either of them, even though they seem to be sworn enemies.She’s falling for brooding, passionate Shayne and for
seductive, rebellious Reese. Piper needs to
make a decision, and the stakes are high in ways she can’t even begin to guess.

Choose the wrong guy, and the uneasy boundary between the mythological world and the human world will disappear, Piper will never learn the truth about
herself or her family, and … all hope f
or the future will be lost.

I actually finished this one a few days ago and didn’t write
this review until today because I wanted to get my thoughts in order before I
started it.  To be honest, I began reading it a long time ago, put it down, and then rediscovered it.  When I picked it up the second time, I wondered why I had ever stopped. It was really an excellent read.  But there was something about it I couldn’t
read through.

The beginning of the book is hard science fiction. The world is post-apocalyptic in a way that my deep fears find horribly realistic.  Piper’s life is about heat and
fear, with her cloying mother choking her as much as the Global Heating Crisis.  When the book changes into a Greek myth based in the future, it happens with the same dreamy unbelievability with which such a turn  would happen to a real girl. The
setting is vividly built and the mythology is expertly woven. The way P.J used
myth to explain trouble in the future the same way people explained trouble in
the past was truly phenomenal.  I think my real problem is with the boys and Piper’s relationship with them.

At the beginning I could see the appeal.  Both gents were physically lovely and Piper’s mother was, to say the least, overprotective. A girl like that would love the freedom and attention such boys couldpromise.  It was obvious to the reader,
if not to the naive young protagonist, that these boys had something pretty unusual
going on. And for quite a while that was interesting and fun.  But when one boy was basically using magic to control Piper’s mind and the other one was blaming her for having her mind controlled, it left a very uneasy feeling in me.  It reminded me a little of a rape victim being blamed for her victimization by the one who should most empathize with her.  It is true that Piper got a little angry about that, but not as angry as she got about theoretically being cheated on. This whole thing should have, in my mind, been a lot darker and more outraged.  The way she was treated by the
villain was unforgivable, but the way she was treated by her “soulmate” was, in
my opinion, even worse.

I’m having a hard time scoring this book, and I’ll tell you why.  Without the romance plot I would have loved this.  I can’t think of another book that made a modern myth work so well.  The world was so, so good, and the twist ending was very well done.  But the romance plot and its dysfunction was just about enough to turn me off of an
otherwise great  read.  I want to recommend a talented writer to the
world, but I do not want to recommend a sexist message to young girls.  This kind of thing was rampant in Greek mythology, but why would we bother to set a book in a modern age if we aren’t going to drop some of those distasteful biases?  I’m going to give it three stars out of five because of my own internal
conflict.

In conclusion, I guess I will say this: if your kids are going to read this, please read it with them. There is a lot of value in this book, but it is missing one value that
is very important to me.  That value is a heroine with self-respect.  I’d like to
think that parental guidance will improve on the entertainment value I found
here.

If you are interested in Solstice, the Amazon link is here: http://www.amazon.com/Solstice-ebook/dp/B004ZF804E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317921362&sr=8-1

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