Courtesy of Smash Attack ReadsInterest in the book: Greek Mythology! Persephone and Hades! I also met Meg Cabot, which only increased my need to read this series. She was very entertaining, as most writers are. She doesn't write stories I'm typically drawn too, so I was happy to learn of this series. As a fan of Greek Mythology, I've been disappointed in some of the YA attempts. I'm happy to announce that this book entertained me from start to finish. I read it in two sittings.First Impressions: "Once, I died."That opening line definitely grabs your attention. Pierce (LOVE this name for a chic by the way, and it's a great twist on Persephone) recalls the story of how she flat lined for an hour after drowning. You are given bits and pieces of her otherworldly journey throughout the story, but that first line hooked me.Characters: Pierce Oliviera is having a bad year. Hell, a few bad years. Let's see...she died. Once revived, she was not the same Pierce. She had difficulties that resulted in her being expelled from her private school. Her mother moved them to her hometown of Isla Huesos in Florida, leaving her father behind in Connecticut. Mom blames dad for Pierce's accident, so there is definitely parental conflict. Pierce's grandmother is shrew-like, her cousin is all over her about the details of seeing "the light" and her uncle's recently been released from a long prison sentence and is quietly trying to acclimate back into society. Pierce gets a little crazy throughout the book, trying to figure out which way is which. She is a pretty strong but utterly confused. Does she love John or does she want to run away screaming? I get it. He's otherworldly and pops up every single time she gets into some kind of trouble, but really. Choose your path or move out-of-the-way and let me at 'em.John Hayden. Um, hello sexy! John is very mysterious at first, as Pierce does not yet realize who and what he is. It may be obvious to the reader, but I enjoyed learning about him through Pierce's eyes, as well as her surprise and disbelief about him. I think John is drawn to Pierce because of her selflessness. He is constantly pointing out that she is always thinking about another animal or person, and forgetting to think about how her actions will affect herself. While I understand John's motives near the end, I definitely have beef with him over it. It obviously goes along with the myth so it was expected. It doesn't detract from my affection for the guy. He's been dealt a shitty hand and is only doing what he feels is the best thing for Pierce. A little selfishness may be involved, but hell, he's done his best to stand back and let the chic figure shit out on her own.World-Building: The story is told in both past and present, so you have to pay attention. I actually loved this because we are given bits and pieces throughout the novel to piece together. The world is slowly built throughout this first installment, as we learn about the Underworld, John Hayden and the Furies right along with Pierce. I enjoyed the author's spin on the different mythological elements, especially the Underworld. We don't get a lot of time down there, so I am excited for book 2, Underworld.Lasting Impressions: Color me impressed. I enjoyed the storytelling, the way it was told (flashbacks), the characters, the realizations, the emotions, the decisions. I especially loved the interactions between John and Piece. They are head-to-head through most of the novel because she is absolutely terrified of him, but there are touching moments via flashback and real-time. I am excited to see where this story leads.Favorite Scene: "Because no life - if it was led by a decent person - should go unremembered. So if, for instance, a soldier was betrayed by people he thought were his friends, his body tossed from a ship and abandoned to the waves, his family left to winder forever what happened to him, never knowing if he was alive, if he was well...That is a certain kind of hell all its own."