Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Book Review: Everneath by Brodi Ashton (Whitney Finalist)

Title: Everneath
Author: Brodi Ashton
Enjoyment Rating: ****
Whitney Finalist
This book would be rated: PG, maybe PG-13 for lots of kissing and general darkness

Although Everneath is not a sequel to something else, the opening pages of the book made it feel like it was. Nikki and Cole are emerging from a century of slumber in the underworld (which took six months of human time), and unlike nearly every human being who has ever been abducted into the underworld, Nikki manages to emerge alive. But she's weak and confused when she returns, and the narrative reflects that, jumping back and forth between the past and the present,

But in this case, a reader's persistence will pay off. Everneath turns into a story that draws heavily from the mythology of the underworld (Persephone and Hades, Orpheus and Eurydice). Although Nikki has escaped, she only has six months until she's claimed again, and this time, her journey to the underworld will be permanent. She has a few choices-- she be sucked into the tunnels and provide energy to the feeders, or she can return as Cole's companion and try to overthrow the queen, or she can try to beat her fate and separate herself once and for all from Cole. Of course, there's a love triangle-- Jake, the boyfriend she left behind and dreamed about every night for a hundred years, and Cole, in whose arms she slept while she was dreaming of Jake. Cole feels comfortable, and with Cole she might live forever, but Jake sustained her, and she loves him.

While I thought Ashton spun an interesting, complicated, literary, thoughtful story (enough good adjectives?) I'll admit that I was a little disappointed in the final chapter to discover that I was going to have to read another book (or three) to get some resolution to the whole Nikki/Cole/Jake saga. There were certain characters who felt a little underdeveloped (both the male and female sidekicks, for instance), and I was expecting more resolution in Nikki's feelings towards her dead mother, and now I'm seeing that Ashton is setting up a lot more drama in the future. If the next novel is as complicated and compelling as this one, I'm in-- even if it's not a Whitney finalist.

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