Solstice - P.J. Hoover 2.5 to 3 stars

Love the premise of Greek gods causing a global disaster, but I could have lived without the tiresome triangle between Piper, Shayne, and Reese.

Full review


When I discovered that Solstice was a post-apocalyptic novel with Greek gods, I was all over it. I love mythology, and the thought of Greek gods meddling with human affairs during an environmental disaster sounded so cool, I couldn’t wait to sit down with this book. Ultimately, though, I was disappointed for one main reason - I didn’t like the love triangle, and found it trying, to say the least. Technically I guess it wasn’t even a love triangle, because Reese uses magic to get Piper to love him, so she’s basically a mindless love zombie whenever he’s around. His scent enchants her, making her believe he’s the sweetest boyfriend in town, which is quite a feat considering that he’s a god of war. Though I guess if you can fall for a god of the dead, you can certainly fall for a guy who lives for conflict, warfare, and bloodshed.

Piper is a high school student in Austen, amid the Global Heating Crisis. Temperatures are far beyond the red zone, rain is rare, and deadly heat bubbles threaten to kill thousands. Raised by her overprotective mother, Piper yearns for her 18th birthday so she can get out from under her mom’s suffocating control. Homeschooled until recently, they have spent her entire life moving from town to town, hiding from her father, a terrorist. Her mom refuses to tell her anything more about her father, and she seems to be terrified of him, so Piper doesn’t push the issue. Much. When handsome Shayne enrolls in her school, Piper discovers that everything she has believed about herself is a lie, and that her mother has never been honest with her.

While I loved the premise of Solstice, I didn’t care for the execution. Most of the major characters knew the truth behind Piper’s background, and none of them would clue her in. I know, I know, Shayne was bound by a curse to not tell her or they would be condemned to the worst pit of Hell, but still. Every time it came up, it seemed like he was saying Neener, neener, I know what’s going on and you don’t, AKA, I can’t tell you the truth because it’s too dangerous. Really? Shayne is a Greek god, for cripes sake, surely he could come up with some clever way to clue her in without breaking the rules of the curse. Instead, off Piper goes, into mortal danger, to find the answers for herself.

The other sticky point for me was Reece. He’s an evil guy, and for the most part, he doesn’t even try to pretend to be nice. He knows what’s going on, and since it’s in his best interest to keep Piper ignorant of her past, he obviously does his best to keep her that way. When she repeatedly resists the spell he casts over her to make her love him, he resorts to violence and attempted rape instead. Ick – not a favorite plot device, so your mileage will vary here.

As far as my feelings for Piper, I liked her a lot. She wasn’t content to just sit around and be a brainless puppet like everyone expected. When she wasn’t getting any answers from the people who supposedly loved her, she was taking the bull by the horns and trying to find the answers herself. This, of course, put her in terrible danger, which gave Shayne the opportunity to prove how brave he was by saving her. And still not telling her the truth. Ugh.

While I found Solstice to be a mixed bag, the beginning and the end made it hard to put the book down. It’s the relationships that I didn’t care for, but if manipulative relationships don’t bother you, you should enjoy this book more than I did.

Grade: C+/B-