Review: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Publication Date: January 24th, 2012
Harper Collins / Balzer + Bray
Format: Hardcover, 370 pages
RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars
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…

A broken heart.

A deal with the lord of the Underworld.

A chance for a do-over.

Nikki’s six-month long disappearance from the Surface equated to a hundred years in the Everneath. It will take another six months for the Shades to come and take her away again. And all those times, even with her memory gone, there was one face that lingers in her mind; a boy whose name she couldn’t remember. He tethered her to her former life, never forgetting what she has up there. She made a choice to come back up to the Surface and spend the next six months making up for lost time, asking forgiveness and saying goodbye…this time perhaps, forever. The redemption she wished for is next to impossible; especially if it lay in the hands of Cole. She would give anything, do anything to stop Cole – an immortal who feeds off the emotions of the people around him and a satan incarnate. But he’s set on bringing her back down to Everneath, to rule the Underworld by his side. As time ticks by, her longing to be free of the cursed fate she unknowingly chose for herself grew stronger and with it her realization that she can’t leave, not again.

This is my second Hades/Persephone modern retelling and I can readily admit this one was much more infused with the myth. I’ve never read the original Greek Mythology nor of Orpheus and Eurydice, so I can’t say how close to being accurate the author was. But for this reason, I can say that I was able to appreciate it more.

The world of Everneath was a mild version of how I’d pictured hell in my head. It wasn’t exactly as terrifying but creepy, nonetheless. As was Cole, being who he was, didn’t exactly make me want to clutch on to my children with a death grip. To be honest, I was a bit taken by him upon his introduction to the story. Sure, those feelings waned as I learned more about him, but he’s still not as frightening as I’d thought someone of his character would be. And again, I’d like to point out that I don’t know the original story. Perhaps Hades wasn’t really as bad as how we’ve always known him to be. Cole is tricky; he seems harmless on the surface but you know he’s got evil rooted deep inside him.

Nikki killed me a little with all her selflessness. She was decided upon not hurting Jack again by staying away from him. But when will our heroines learn that by staying away, they’re only fanning the flames of our heroes’ wanting? It never works, ladies. Their relationship is as solid as any of our favourite literary couples and Jack could induce an endless supply of love-sigh with all his hero-good-guy-romantic tendencies. I’m just a bit uneasy with his past relationship with Nikki’s best friend. I feel that there wasn’t an eventual resolution. He did admit that they could never be, but I’m still left feeling antsy.

I also like to point out another element in which the author didn’t deviate from the other YA novels we’ve been reading nowadays: the lack of Nikki’s personal interaction with her family, which sadly only consisted of her father and her young brother. I’m a bit disappointed. This was her chance at a do-over. But it seemed like she distanced herself away from her family more. How are you to say a proper goodbye when you keep them at an arm’s length? Or was that really her way of padding the hurt when she says adieu? Also, do not expect a lot of warm feelings from her father upon her return. There was none. He’s a cold fish whose main focus is to be re-elected in the mayoral seat. Their family dynamics is definitely in a sad state.

For a book of 370 pages, I found myself gobbling up the pages in no time. The author has a way of telling her story in such an addicting way. It’s in the culmination of Nikki’s past and present – it’s almost as if I was reading two stories at the same time. In a way I was; Nikki was a different person pre-Everneath – everyone was a different person before her disappearance. The beginning of her demise were stories which involved Cole. It was a series of transparent premonition that I really wanted to skip but couldn’t because they were necessary. You’d know what Nikki’s mindset was, what prompted her to sell her soul.

The ending killed me. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

My conclusion: Everneath is a tightly-woven tale of love, loss, and second chances, wrapped up in a bundle of legends and myths. The author was particularly successful in showing good vs. evil in its basest form, where the likely hero was forced to make a difficult choice in the end. I can’t wait  for the next book!

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