|Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Published by HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray
Publish Date: January 24, 2012
My Source: Borrowed
Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she’s returned-to her old life, her family, her friends-before being banished back to the underworld…this time forever.
She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.
Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.
As Nikki’s time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she’s forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s… -(summary from Goodreads.com)
My Thoughts: I loved this book so, so much. After I started reading, it took me a few minutes to get my bearings and figure out exactly the structure, but within a few pages I could not put the book down.
1. Mythology. We all know it: I’m a sucker for mythology done well. Here we have a re-telling of the Persephone and Hades myth (with some other very important mythological names thrown in there). Folks, this is one heck of an amazing story. Beautiful, dark, and unique, the author not only took classic mythology and retold it, but she created her own mythology within the story as well. The Everneath is a unique, intriguing place and the Everliving are an interesting immortal group with a mythology of their own. All of these mythologies–the classic and the new–blended together so wonderfully to create something marvelous. When the story was over, I almost went into mourning because I needed MORE… To me, there is nothing like a story that has a unique mythology of its own, and this is one of the best I’ve read. Adding the classic mythology to it was like icing on that cake: so yummy. (Bonus: Persephone’s story is one of my favorites.)
2. Nikki Beckett. Nikki has been stuck in the Everneath for a hundred years with Cole during the Feed but now she is allowed six months back on the surface of the earth before she returns below forever. Nikki is still in love with Jack, but has a difficult time explaining to him why she was gone for so long (one hundred years in the Everneath equates to only a few months on earth-try explaining that to your friends and family). She also has a tough time healing old wounds in her immediate family that were left when she vanished without a trace. Nikki handles her time on earth the best way she can–she is conflicted about her otherworldly problems while simultaneously going through the regular stuff of teenage life–and she is a great protagonist. I love the way Nikki is written and I especially love her character development throughout the story.
3. The Boys: Jack and Cole. Jack is Nikki’s true love, the one she left on earth. Nikki misinterpreted a situation involving Jack and made a very rash decision–a poor decision that involved her eternity. She left with Cole because he made her promises to take away all of her pain and make life better. When Nikki left so suddenly, Jack became a broken shell of who he used to be and he never fully recovered. When Cole took Nikki into the Everneath for the Feed, he made a deep connection with her and ended up falling in love. This certainly constitutes a love triangle, but it is done well. While I never wavered in my personal choice for Nikki (I’m looking at you, Jack!), I DID feel an emotional connection to both of these guys. The fact that they both realize that they each have a pure and real love for Nikki makes for interesting interaction between the three at several points throughout the story.
4. Supporting Cast. There are some very interesting secondary characters. Bright and colorful, to say the least. Some are human, some are not. I love them all. So very well written. I adore a great supporting cast.
5. Story Structure. Everneath skips around in setting with regard to both time and place, but this was never a problem for me, and I do not think it will be confusing for readers. Each time the setting (time OR place) changes, it is made very clear to the reader with a paragraph breaks and headers. Again, I was not confused by this structure at all. In fact, I think that it added depth to the story and I loved that. It worked in this instance because the story was written so well, and I attribute that to the author and great editing. This structure really set up the timeline for the story’s conflict and resolution very well, and in a very detailed way. Very, very nicely done.
6. The End. I barely know what to say about the ending. I can’t say much without spoiling. So I’ll just say this: I am/was familiar with all of the classic mythology used in this book and I had an inkling or two of what was ahead and…I’m very eager–VERY EAGER–to read the next book. The ending was wonderful.
Everneath is a story that I fully expected to enjoy; I just didn’t realize how much I would fall in love with it. Immediately when I finished it, I wanted to read it again. My heart was swollen with love for the characters that I felt so connected to, and I cannot wait until the next installment in this series is made available. I do apologize if I seem overly gushy about this book, but a wonderfully done mythology re-telling tends to do that to me. This is a wonderful time in YA literature for this particular subgenre, and I just can’t contain my excitement!
Even if you are not very familiar with the story of Persephone and Hades, I know you will love Everneath. You don’t even need to be aware of the rest of the mythology involved to enjoy this book. It has its own mythology that unfolds within the story, and that is enough to have you hooked. If you are a fan of mythology re-tellings, it is a given that Everneath needs to be on your to-be-read list. If you are a fan of paranormal romance, you will love this one. It is beautiful and dark and heartbreaking and just plain lovely.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts and opinions. I received no compensation for my review. Thank you HarperCollins!