Published by Balzer + Bray on January 24th 2012
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.
I’m writing this review, directly after finishing Everneath. The first thoughts that popped into my head were “OMG” and “WOW” (note the all caps). Saying I just liked Everneath, would be a lie. Saying I loved Everneath would be but the tip of the iceberg of my feelings towards this remarkable book. Much like Cole and Nikki’s predicament (which you’ll learn about), I want some smoky, shadow figure to latch Everneath and myself together so we never have to be parted. I am truly that bound to this book, it’s story and most importantly, it’s characters.
Our main characters, Nikki, Cole, and Jack, are so lush, vivid, and three dimensional. The further I got through the story, the deeper a connection, I felt for all three. Although I loved each character, I felt an extra tug on my heart-string for Cole. It’s easy to hate Cole. It’s easy to blame him for Nikki’s situation; because after all, he is responsible. However, I also found that it was easy to really feel for him. Cole is an everling which means he’ll live forever. Providing that every 100 years he slurpies the energy out of a willing individual, leaving his immortality intact and simultaneously draining the life of the individual. This type of living for ever isn’t really “living” at all. See, everlings can’t feel, or at least aren’t supposed to be able to feel. However, there’s no doubt in my mind, no matter how miniscule, that Cole feels a type of connection to Nikki. Although he’s mostly out for himself, I truly believe that there’s a part of Cole that remains true and pure. A small part that’s human-like, loving. One thing (among many others) that Ms. Ashton did, was write a multi-faceted and deeply layered villain. Not only does this make the world within Everneath shades of grey vs. black and white, it also lets us believe that redemption is possible.
Everneath is truly one of a kind. Besides it’s incredibly rich and unique plot, Ms. Ashton tells the story in a new and refreshing way. In the beginning of the book we catch a small glimpse of Nikki in the underworld (Everneath), right before she is returned home. Then throughout the book we watch as she tries to fit back into to her old life. As the story progresses not only do we follow present day Nikki, we also get glimpses at past Nikki. What you have to know is that although gone for 6 months in above-ground time, she has actually been in Everneath for a hundred years as calculated by below-ground time. Instead of dumping all of the information and facts from Nikki’s life, previous to her underground descent, as we read the story, here and there we get a peek at events that occurred before she vanished. There are two countdowns in the book. In the flashbacks it’s the countdown till “the feed” which is the term used for getting one’s energy sucked out in Everneath. The second countdown is till recently ascended Nikki, who although gets to go home for 6 months, must return to the Everneath after the 6 months are up. It’s a bit confusing, and I’m sure my explanation doesn’t help much, but trust me it’s easy into the groove once you start reading. It is also quite enjoyable when you fully comprehend the creativity that went into weaving the story.
The majority of the book features Nikki trying to find a way to say goodbye to those she left behind the first time around, mainly her boyfriend Jack, best friend Jules, and her father and little brother, Tommy. Now this is where I talk about why I gave Everneath 4 stars instead of 5. Every part me wanted to give in and give it 5 but I just couldn’t because there is one part of the book that felt off to me. Although Jack plays a bigger role than Nikki’s father and brother, the synopsis, along with Nikki’s words in the beginning of the book conveys that Nikki had returned from Everneath for just six months to get out her real “good-byes”. The ones she didn’t and couldn’t give the first time around. However, throughout the book it was almost like her father, and especially little brother, didn’t exist. I understand that the focus wasn’t really on them, but they were her family and I would have liked to see them more. Nikki had this connection with them that I never really saw nor felt. It’s my one hope that in future books their characters are utilized a bit more.
Besides the small quip I just mentioned, I’m completely head over heels for Everneath. The world Ms. Ashton created is vast and original, brimming with mythology and emotion. Although she starts off in a weakened state, Nikki fully grows and strengthens throughout the book. She comes to realize the mistakes and bad decisions of her past, and puts plans in motion to rectify what little she can. Everneath is roller-coaster of emotion. At times it was despairing, yet always promising that on the horizon there would be hope. There is plenty of romance, although hesitant and heartbreaking it’s there, shining brightly.