Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Author: Brodi Ashton
Series: Everneath #1
Release Date: January 24, 2012
Dates Read: February 11, 2012
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…
Everneath left me speechless. I suppose I should preface this by saying that I am a sucker for mythology. I love well-done, modernized stories that bring in elements of traditional tales, folklore or mythology. On top of that, I always liked the Greek myths of Hades and Persephone and Orpheus and Eurydice. I picked up Everneath because it had a gorgeous cover and I recognized it as a modern nod to the Persephone myth. I was not at all disappointed. Everneath flawlessly blends traditional fantasy, mythology, fatalism, redemption, love, angst, sacrifice and redemption.
If you had six months left, what would you do? Nikki Beckett decides, not even fully understanding why at first, to take this time to reconnect with the family and friends she has left behind. As far as they are concerned, she disappeared without a word of goodbye for six months. For Nikki, it has been a long hundred years since she fled the Surface, broken and desperate. The only thing she remembers as she makes the decision to make her Return is the face of a handsome boy she can scarcely assign a name to — Jack.
However, her Return is not a smooth transition. She left her father with harsh words about his feelings toward her deceased mother. She left her boyfriend without giving him a chance to explain his actions because of her crushing doubts. She left her best friend without a word. Everyone who knows her thinks she was strung out on drugs for the six months she was gone. Can she really reconnect with them when she can’t dare to tell them the truth, and can barely work out for herself what needs to be said? To make matters worse, Cole, the Everliving that seduced her into Everneath with promises that she never had to feel again, has followed her to the mortal world. He wants her to rule Everneath as his queen by his side, and he will not take no for an answer.
Everneath is full of emotion and masterfully styled. At its core, you have a story about a broken girl who has six months to make up for all the pain she caused those that love her by running away. Nikki’s draw to Everneath reminds me of the show Dollhouse, where participants often agreed to lose control of their lives for years to escape from the obstacles of the world. The styling of the world of the Everneath, with the Everlings, Forfeits and Shades has an almost modern science-fiction/fantasy movie-type feel to it. However, the messages of fate, redemption and sacrifice are timeless, like the myths on which the novel is based.
I would recommend Everneath to absolutely anyone that thinks they might like the story, even a little bit. It has so much to offer, and I think that young adult paranormal/romance/dark fantasy fans will find Ashton’s story especially refreshing. I eagerly await devouring the next two novels in the trilogy.