Author: Brodi Ashton
Cover Art: N/A
Genre: Paranormal YA
Reviewed by: Abigail
Kissing. References to sex
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…
I love the Greek myth about Hades and Persephone. It’s romantic and dangerous which makes it perfect fodder for the paranormal YA genre. Last year, there were at least three contemporary retellings: Meg Cabot’s ABANDON, Amiee Carter’s THE GODDESS TEST, and my favorite, Gwen Hayes’ FALLING UNDER. 2012 kicks off with a new and welcome version from debut author Brodi Ashton. EVERNEATH borrows just enough from the source material to please the purist in me while injecting the story with fresh and exciting new mythology.
If you are unfamiliar with the Persephone myth, it’s about a girl who is abducted by Hades and forced to be his queen for half of every year in the underworld. EVERNEATH begins with Nikki returning to the Surface after vanishing months before. The side effects of her stay in Everneath are very apparent, both physically and emotionally. Nikki wasn’t a queen, she was a meal. Time passes differently in Everneath, so her energy was fed on for a century. All her emotions, her memories are gone. Except for Jack. The boyfriend whose betrayal allowed the immortal Cole to seduce her to Everneath. The narrative jumps effectively from her time before Everneath chronicling how Nikki and Jack fell in love and how Cole pursued and ultimately stole her life, and Nikki’s painful reacclimation to life and attempted reconciliation with Jack when she returns. Lots of heartbreak, but it’s the good kind.
I did feel that there was an imbalance when it came to the secondary characters in EVERNEATH. When Nikki returns to the Surface, she is completely consumed with Jack. Very little attention is given to her father and little brother despite how clearly her absence has devastated them in the wake of her mother’s death and the trial for the man who killed her. I think it would have worked better if Nikki hadn’t had a family or not one that cared about her, than to have this broken family be largely swept to the sidelines. It just felt wrong. Likewise Jack’s PTSD suffering older brother was a mess after fighting in Afghanistan, but they never really address it or even talk about him. I can’t help wondering why these characters, with serious problems, were even introduced at all. Granted this is a trilogy, so some of my objections will likely be addressed in subsequent books, but to not address them at all in this book struck me as a serious oversight.
Overall, EVERNEATH reintroduced me to a myth I love with beautiful writing and skilled narration. The romance is both poignant and tragic. I’m thrilled this is the fi
rst book in a planned trilogy. There are zero details about the sequels right now, but I have some ideas of what may happen next. Hopefully the secondary characters will get some much needed attention, but with a central love story this strong and a twist on the mythology this fascinating, I may not mind.