Saturday, July 2, 2011

Solstice by P.J. Hoover

Title: Solstice
Author: P.J. Hoover
Series: ???
Published: May 4th, 2011
Publisher: Andrea Brown Literary Agency
Pages: 378 (ebook)
I recieved this book as part of the Solstice Blog Tour.

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.

But when Piper discovers a world of mythology she never knew existed, she realizes her world is not the only one in crisis. While Gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper's life spirals into turmoil, and she struggles to find answers to secrets kept from her since birth. And though she’s drawn to her classmate Shayne, he may be more than he claims. Piper has to choose whom she can trust and how she can save the people she loves even if it means the end of everything she’s ever known. --


P.J. Hoover has created a kind of book I've never seen before, blending dystopian, fantasy, and historical themes together to create the world of Solstice. Set in Austin, Texas, in a futuristic world where 99 degrees is considered cool, the world, having been reshaped by the devastating effects of global warming, is now struggling to survive. Heat bubbles are becoming more frequent, and if something isn’t done soon, everything will burn up. But that’s not all; hiding among the ever-dwindling population are the Greek gods, who seem to have had a role in all of this. Mythological mystery set aside, I felt like the setting was very well developed, and even by the end of chapter one I understood the emergency and seriousness of everyone’s predicament. It had the kind of easy to understand world building I hope to see in a novel, and even if Hoover didn’t include mythology in her plotline, I would have enjoyed reading about about how society was going to deal with the increasing temperature.

I really, really, REALLY appreciated the fact that the gods in this novel aren’t represented like you’d expect them to be, with the obvious physical and emotional characteristics. For example, whenever I think of Ares I have a tendency to imagine a character that is always angry and looks similar to Disney’s version in the movie Hercules. But Hoover wrote her characters in a way that prevented me from falling back on my imaginative stereotypes, even though they are recognizable if you are familiar with Greek mythology. They are more human than you'd expect, and getting to know them like they were humans was actually my favorite part of the book.

Piper was a fairly steady and stable heroine, but it irritated me when she succumbed to what I now refer to in YA novels as “Instalove Syndrome”—where the main character immediately falls in love with one (or even two) mysteriously hot guy who mysteriously shows up in her school and mysteriously announces that they belong together (mysteriously). Those relationships don’t make sense to me, and I think I’m just tired of seeing them show up in fiction. But after Piper actually got to know her love interest I felt like they had chemistry together, so in the end it was all good. For those of you who are more into paranormal fiction than dystopian, you'll be pleased to hear that the book actually becomes less about the dystopian aspects of the world and more about the mythological/paranormal as the story progresses. The elements that provided suspense in Solstice were well done, and had me guessing the truth until it was actually revealed.

Solstice was a book that was easy to slip into, and hard to put down. With a dying world, mythological characters, and steamy romance—not to mention the fact that it crosses between genres, I see Solstice appealing to a wide variety of people. If you’re intrigued by the book’s synopsis, then chances are you’ll end up liking it! If a sequel is every written, I'm definitely going to pick it up.

For more information you can check out P.J. Hoover's website HERE!