January 24, 2012; Harper Collins / Balzer + Bray
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...(courtesy of Goodreads)
My impression of Everneath is mixed. Brodi Ashton creates a unique twist on a well known Greek myth. She turns it into a young adult novel without succumbing to the stereotypical young adult plot arcs. However, I had trouble connecting to the characters. In addition, or perhaps because I couldn't connect to the characters, the story dragged.
Loosely based on the story of Hades and Persephone, Nikki shows up in her hometown after disappearing for 6 months. She looks strung out and everyone assumes she got caught up in drugs and ran away. In reality, she spent 100 years down in the Everneath (6 months in human time). Nikki and her emotions served as food for Cole, her immortal. Once the feeding ends, most humans are effectively soulless. They spend eternity mired away in the tunnels, having shriveled away all their desires, hopes, dreams, and nightmares during the feeding. Not Nikki. She had the strength of character to go back to the real world, if only for a short time. Nikki has 6 months to set everything right and then she has to go back to the Everneath. She has dreamed about seeing her old boyfriend Jack. It's kept her alive. And of course, she misses her father and little brother. But it's much harder to reintegrate back into the real world than Nikki expected.
There are a lot of things I like about Nikki. She has a great amount of inner strength, despite being weak enough to succumb to Cole's promises of eternal emotional relief. She is kind to her friends and her family. She is also amazingly patient. The post-Everneath Nikki realizes she screwed up royally and understands that it is going to take time for people to reaccept her. She quietly plods through in the background, always toeing the line.
I guess my main problem with Nikki was that she was a closed book - both to the other characters in the story and to the reader. As the plot goes on, I understand what happened to make her desire an emotional drain, but I didn't feel it. I understand the surface-level Nikki, but despite seeing the world through her eyes, there were layers of her past and her pain that I never broke through.
Brodi can be congratulated for having two hot guys in this story yet not turning the plot into a love triangle. An almost unheard of feat in YA literature. Unfortunately, I think I would have liked the story better if there had been a love triangle. On the Cole v. Jack front, a big part of me wanted Cole to win. Jack is nice, sweet, and understanding, but too Wonderbread for me. He actually has more facets than many cardboard nice guys that I've seen in novels, but I couldn't connect to him.
On the other hand, haunted, funny, sarcastic Cole totally did it for me. Yet he is clearly the villain. You get hints that Cole has real emotions and really cares for Nikki, but most of the time he is out for his own interests. He seems to want Nikki for what she can do for him, rather than because he likes her. But it's not cut and dry. Since I love Cole, I wish he had a few more redeeming qualities. I would like to see a real love triangle - preferably with Cole winning in the end. I'm pretty sure that Jack is the guy that readers are supposed to root for. I wish Brodi had done a better job of making him endearing. I'm having too much trouble resisting Cole's bad-boy charms.
Everneath is split into Now v. Then time points. The story goes back and forth between Nikki's life before going to the Everneath and after. It takes almost the entire book to understand what drew her to the darkness. The mystery made the book weaker. If I had understood Nikki's past sooner, I would have connected better with her. By the time I learned all the details, I was so emotionally disconnected from the characters that I thought Nikki's heartbreak was superficial.
For all my criticism, Everneath is an interesting and enjoyable story. It was quite slow, but to readers who get sucked in more than me, I'm sure the plot will flow much better. Part of me liked the characters. I just couldn't connect well enough to them to really care about them. I loved the mythology and the concept of immortals and emotional feeding. I'd recommend that you give Everneath a try (if for no other reason than the gorgeous cover), because there's a good chance you'll like it more than me.
I loved this book - it was definitely a 5 star for me - but I'm glad to hear that you still enjoyed the book despite your concerns with it. Great review!ReplyDelete
Wow I really loved your review. I agree about the whole Jack vs. Cole thing.ReplyDelete
I think I agree with a lot of what you said in this review. I enjoyed the book, but there were a few things that didn't work so well for me, and with the Jack vs Cole thing.ReplyDelete
Tara @ Hey, Tara
Oh no! Well, perhaps it's good to have my expectations adjusted. Thanks for the honest review!ReplyDelete
I loved this book, loved it! It was a total five star read for me. As for the guys, I loved Jack, but there's just something about that guy Cole...he reminded me of Cole St. Clair a bit (Wolves of Mercy Falls) which is maybe why I found myself drawn to him even though I shouldn't be at all. Still on Team Jack, though! :)ReplyDelete
Great review - thank you for sharing! :)ReplyDelete
I have this one, but I haven't read it yet. I've been reading very mixed reviews for this one.ReplyDelete
I think this is one of the few times we've disagreed Alison! I just adored this one, but it's always interesting for me to read what didn't work for someone else when everything about the story worked so well for me. I can definitely understand your reservations with Nikki, but I just loved Jack. I think it's the first time I've gone for the "good" guy over the bad boy! Brilliant review as always:)ReplyDelete
Aw, I'm sad that you didn't like the book as much as I did. I had really low expectations of this book, which I think helped me in not being overly critical of the book. I loved Jack but Cole got on my nerves and I thought wasn't as fleshed out as I would like him to be. Definitely tuning in to find out what happens next!ReplyDelete
I felt about the same about this book. I really didn't enjoy it as much as I would have liked, and I couldn't really fall into the story. Sorry you didn't enjoy it more. :(ReplyDelete
To actually want a love triangle is pretty meaningful to me. From the way you've described the guys, I'm reminded of the Nightshade series. Cremer tried to make the nice guy the irresistible one, but it was the bad boy that won everyone's heart. I could rant on and on about the way horrible Ren was treated, but I guess I shouldn't. LOLReplyDelete
I'll probably be skipping out on this one, but thanks for the insightful review.
Just like you I had some problems with Niki. I get why she was so closed up "after", but her lack of emotion was really hard for me to deal with.ReplyDelete
I loved Cole, he totally rocked the story for me:.-))
Thos book is hit or miss. I am glad you explained your issues with Niki. Wow, I am surprised you said that it steered away from the love triangle but that you almost wish it had been one. Interesting, I usually am so happy to find a book without a love triangle.ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Allison.
I really enjoyed Everneath but I completely agree with you about the Now vs. Then time points. I think that was the biggest disappointment for me.ReplyDelete
Great and Honest Review!
I really enjoyed this book. I love the idea of the greek gods involved in it. Thanks for your honest opinion.ReplyDelete
Hmm, it's nice to know that this story does not devolve into a love triangle plot of goo, but I am concerned about your lack of connection to the characters. I have not read this book, but I am one who deeply appreciates her connection to her characters. If I don't connect - it could be one of the longest reads of my life , at least till the next less than great read :DReplyDelete
Love your review. It's refreshing to come across a review that's not all rainbows and sunshine. Your review was frank and to the point! I knew I followed you for a reason :D
Happy reading on your next read!
Nikki really was a closed book, wasn't she? Never though of it that way. But she was so focused on what she wanted to accomplish during her miniscule time above-ground that she didn't leave much room for growth. Great review!ReplyDelete
I actually liked that the reader didn't know what happened until she did. At first I was confused but then I just settled in for the ride and it was enjoyable. However, I know that it isn't that way for everyone. I've read other books that were similar and I didn't care for them.ReplyDelete
Really good Key points! Sometimes a love triangle is a tie breaker for me. Theres so many. I like them but I don't want the book to revolve around it. I'm looking forward to picking this one up!ReplyDelete