Book Reviews

[review] Everneath – Brodi Ashton

Release Date: January 24, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover
Source: ARC received from Jen (Library Gal Reads)

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…

Discovery: I’ve always been fascinated with the darker side of mythology, and the Hades/Persephone myth is one of my favourites. When I heard about Everneath, I immediately put it on my wishlist–modern retellings are always interesting to consider.

+     Creepy factor. The story opens with a chilling description of the Everneath, and Nikki’s captivity is uncomfortable to witness. Cole is a smarmy, almost perverted presence, and it’s easy to imagine him wrapped around her mind, warping it with his own selfishness. I loved Brodi Ashton’s theatrical writing style and attention to detail in these scenes, both of which link Everneath to its mythological roots. I definitely wish there had been more fantasy and less contemporary scenes, because this is where Ashton’s story shines.

–     Characterization. Despite the strong start, I quickly grew disappointed with Nikki. For a girl who presents herself as untouchable and distant (which necessitates confidence), she’s not as strong as she thinks she is. I’ve noticed a pattern in stories like these: the main character often feels that they can’t tell anyone their secret for some important reason. That’s all well and good, but in this particular case, I didn’t really see why Nikki had to allow her family to believe that she was doing drugs or just running away. As much as this is a paranormal fantasy, the events are still based on reality. Sixteen-year-olds aren’t allowed to just disappear and then come back for no reason. I never got thought that her family hated her, but I do think that Nikki treats them and her friends unfairly and it doesn’t make sense. Martyrdom for the sake of martyrdom is tedious to read about.

–     Pacing. Six months, four months, two weeks after, three weeks before–I was extremely frustrated with the pacing and structure of this novel. By the time I got halfway through the story, I was experiencing whiplash from the fast switches between time periods. Nikki’s indecisive nature and constant backtracking made it difficult to keep track of the story. I often had to reread previous pages to remember if I was supposed to like Jack or hate Jack. As much as I would have wanted to suspend my disbelief regarding certain events and attitudes in the story, the structure was just too unwieldy to follow. The last 15 pages were slightly easier to understand, and I will consider reading the second book if it’s more straightforward.

The final say: While I don’t believe that Everneath will become a classic retelling of the Persephone myth, its fantasy and romantic elements are sure to please teen readers.

Rating: Good.

Be sure to visit Brodi Ashton at her website and follow her on Twitter @brodiashton.

You can check out Everneath on Goodreads and order it over on The Book Depository.


3 replies »

  1. Very insightful review. You brought up some points, that didn’t occur to me when I was reading it. But you raise some good points about the characterization of Nikki. I didn’t really understand the whole drug angle either and why it was necessary, but it was kind of one of those things that I ignored. \

    I actually loved Cole though. He’s so very interesting. Perverted, yes. But I think he may actually care about Nikki in some twisted, weird way. I find villains like him fascinating because they have their own individualized code of morality… or amorality, perhaps would be a better way to describe Cole.

    I liked the switching between the past and the present, and the way Ashton built Jack and Nikki’s relationship that way, but I felt like not a lot happened in the present. For having six months, Nikki sure wasted a lot of time.

    Oh well, it was a fun read, and I definitely want to know what happens next, but I didn’t fall in love with it like I had hoped 😛

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