Author: Brodi Ashton
Publisher: Balzer + Bray, HarperCollins
Release Date: Jan 24, 2012
Brodi Ashton has delivered a modern book with an engaging twist on the Hades and Persephone myth. Her unique spin on this myth makes the story her own. This is the story of Nikki Beckett, a Forfeit for a smoldering Everliving named Cole, who had been drained and robbed of all emotions and energy during the Feed - an event which she had been trapped in for the last century. Now that Nikki has Returned to the Surface - to be once again reunited with the boy whose face was the only memory she could cling to in the Everneath - she is counting down the days till the Tunnels come to claim her. Her only other choice: to join Cole in the Everneath as Queen, feeding on others like Cole had fed on her...
This book was really enjoyable for a number of reasons. Firstly, the premise for this book reminded me why I love YA Fantasy so dearly. The idea of the Everneath was intriguing, even more so that a century in the underworld equates to only six months on the Surface. Nikki's friends and family were led to believe she had run away and been placed in rehab, because, well, frankly, who would believe she had been dragged down to an impossible realm to act as an energy snack? I enjoyed the chilling idea of the Tunnels reducing a person to essentially nothing as they become an almost 'battery' for the Everneath and its inhabitants. The mythological aspect of this book made it all the more captivating. Not only was there Greek Mythology in this book, there was also a touch of Egyptian. Now, I am hardly well versed in any type of mythology, but I was surprised by how well Brodi Aston managed to incorporate these ideas into a YA fictitious setting. It actually intrigued me more than I thought it would and even had me researching into these myths to find out more.
I also really admired Nikki's character, thinking she added quite a bit to the novel's readability, and also admiring how much of an emotional growth she makes throughout the course of the book. We meet her as a shattered and broken character at the beginning of the story, where the only hope she has is from Jack's face. Once back on the Surface, she is still somewhat vulnerable, and I couldn't help but feel sympathetic for her. It is only from Jack's strength that she is able to find her own - this really being the key idea behind the plot. It takes a while for it to resurface, but Nikki does have a very likable personality. By the end of the novel we see her dedication, her loyalty, her strength, and even her sense of humor. She is a well-rounded character and makes a wonderful protagonist.
The other main characters include Cole and Jack. Time to talk about the love-triangle, I think. Anyone who knows me will know how much love-triangles make me cringe. They do annoy me, but YA fiction tends to be inundated with love-triangles these days - and sometimes even love-squares! - and seeing as though YA fiction is my favorite reading genre, I've learnt to grit my teeth and bear... Guess what? I actually LIKE the love-triangle in this book! I never thought I would approve of such a thing, but Brodi Ashton has managed to convince me that it works. In Everneath, at least! I'm still quite surprised actually by how much it didn't bother me. I guess that is down to how amazing both Cole and Jack are. Yes, Cole is a bit, well, evil, but I really do like him. He isn't quite the hard character he probably wants to be and it was genuinely heart-warming to catch a glimpse of his vulnerability every once in a while, especially when it came to his feelings for Nikki. Jack also has his appeal. He is clearly perfect for Nikki and I adored his dedication to her.
And speaking of his dedication... The ending of this book literally destroyed me! I cannot believe what happened. Brodi Aston is an evil genius, that's for sure. If that doesn't make me come back for me in book 2, then I don't know what will. It was a gripping climax, a perfect cliffhanger, and most definitely frustrating.
The rest of the plot was also very well structured. This book switches often from the past to the present, all told from Nikki's point of view. I admired how skillfully Brodi Ashton had managed to handle the flashbacks, integrating them well into the story so that, little by little, the events and reasons behind Nikki's journey into the Everneath were revealed. The were also various twists scattered in the book, the most shocking of all being with Mary's character - a confused old lady who claims she is the same age as Nikki. I had not been expecting that little revelation at all, but thought it added to the story line incredibly well.
The only aspect of this book which I thought could have been improved was the world-building of the Everneath. I was hoping to find out more about it, the other Everlivings, more about what it was like there. Most of the book does take place on the Surface, so I can understand why there was not as much focus on the details as I would have liked, but, hopefully, there will be opportunities to find out more in the sequel. There were also some unanswered questions that I hope are addressed in the next book.
Overall, Everneath is a great book to read and highly recommended for fans of YA Fantasy/Mythology and Romance. The cover itself is captivating enough to grab your attention, but if you are not as much of a pushover as me when it comes to beautiful cover art, then I can assure you this book does live up to the hype it's generated. All I have to do know is try not to go crazy worrying about Jack while *patiently* waiting for book 2's release...
Rating: 4 stars