Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Everneath by Brodi Ashton - Book Review

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath. Now she's returned--to her old life, her family, her boyfriend--before she's 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 precious months forgetting the Everneath and trying to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack, the person most devastated by her disappearance--and the one person she loves more than anything. But there's just one problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath in the first place, has followed Nikki home. Cole wants to take over the throne in the underworld and is convinced Nikki is the key to making it happen. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time on the Surface draws to a close and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she is 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 queen.

Everneath is a captivating story of love, loss, and immortality from debut author Brodi Ashton.

Every so often, I read a book that I love for reasons I can’t really define.  Everneath was one of those books for me.  It has virtually every YA cliché that usually makes my head hurt, but they were executed so well that it was impossible for me to hold to my usual prejudices.  Instead of feeling like overly-used plot devices and hooks to attract readers and boost sales, Brodi Ashton managed to do the impossible and write a novel with such an obvious good-guy/bad-guy love triangle that didn’t feel contrived or forced in the slightest.  I spent the entire novel going back-and-forth between rooting for Jack and Cole, which is incredibly rare for me.  If I can stomach a love triangle at all, there is always a clear-cut favorite.  Though Jack managed to win me over by the end, there was nothing clear-cut about it.

 But I’m doing this novel an injustice by focusing so much on the romantic aspect of it.  Yes, it definitely has very strong love themes, and it fits right into the category of “paranormal romance”, but what makes Everneath really shine like a diamond amid coal is its effortless blending of ancient Greek mythology with a modern, contemporary setting.  A loose retelling of the Persephone/Hades myth, Everneath is an original story in a genre overflowing with reused plotlines.  Nikki is an easily relatable character, far from perfect, who managed to cling to her old life during her century in the Everneath – a century that occured in just six months on the surface – by keeping her ex-boyfriend Jack’s face in her mind, clinging to what they had together even when everything else was sucked out of her to feed Cole’s immortality.  When she arrives back on the surface for the six months allowed her, she finds herself yearning for the normal life she so willingly gave up decades earlier, a life denied her due to the debt she owes to the Everneath.

The way this story is told is through flashbacks and time-jumps; before the Feeding, and after.  The whole story is revealed like a puzzle in this way, questions answered and characters and relationships developed in non-chronological order.  I can understand how this might turn off some readers, but for me, it added depth and mystery to the story, making me love it even more.  There was a very slight learning curve to get used to the style, but it doesn’t take long at all to become immersed in the story.  All too soon, you’re going to be turning those last pages that lead up to one of the most torturous cliff-hangers I’ve read in recent years.  Thankfully, the wait for Everbound is almost over, so I won’t be panting and chewing my fingernails in anticipation for long.

 One last thing; the cover.  I’ll fully admit to being a cover-whore, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been lured in by a beautiful cover only to be eye-raped by the pages inside.  Everneath, thankfully, was not one of these books.  The beautiful cover is done justice by the beauty of the story.  This is the kind of book I love to display on my shelves; gorgeous to look at and oh, so addictive to read.  Highly, highly recommended.
Everneath - 4.5 out of 5 stars

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