Everneath by Brodi Ashton(5 out of 5)

I really need to catch up on my young adult reading. One of my favorite book blogs is ” The Cuddlebuggery Book Blog”. They focus on young adult reads. After reading their blog post Monday night about what books they’re excited to read in 2013, I realized that not only am I behind on the young adult books I have had for months, but that I MISS them. I read a lot of fiction, lately I’m back in a non-fiction frame of mind. That’s why my book blog bounces back and forth worse than a roly poly Polynesian turkey. Everneath has been in my possession since I won a contest on a book blog back in June- so I’m glad to report that I finally got around to it. And I was NOT disappointed.

First, the series is a modern retelling of Greek mythology and Persephone. I really did go back on Google and re-read up on Persephone, because I didn’t remember my Greek mythology faithfully. I had read a few other YA books last year that were retellings of old myths and none of them caught fire. This one, I am happy to report, did.

Nikki Beckett is just a normal high school teen- who has been missing from her small town for six months. Like magic, one day she just pops up again, as if nothing happened. Her reason? Unbeknowst to anyone but herself and her “Host” Cole, she’s there to say goodbye before she goes to “The Tunnels” forever. Not many young adult novels have I read where the heroine gets a second chance to say goodbye to loved ones, so I was curious if it would be believable or cheesy. The book didn’t disappoint in that aspect either. So what’s Nikki’s story? Well, to cut it to cliff notes version, she spent the equivalent of 100 years underground in the Everneath, with a whole race of immortals. Those Everlivings feed on a human source, and usually that human source dies(they call them Forfeits). Nikki somehow beats the odds and doesn’t die. Cole wants her to join them and become his Queen, but Nikki wants no part of it. She has six months to say goodbye to her loved ones and make her  peace with them before the Shades come and get her and she becomes part of “The Tunnels” where eventually she will cease to exist. It sounds like a lot here, but it’s put believably and realistically in the book. Cole pulls no punches trying to get Nikki to see his way of things, but she just can’t break the dynamic between her and Jack- although several points in the novel, you are presented with happenings which make Nikki doubt her trust in him. However, time ticks on and she eventually tells Jack what is going on, endangering him, herself, those around her, and Cole himself. The end? Well, I didn’t see it coming and that’s another reason I think it’s a fantastic book. There isn’t any clue to what goes down. As a result, I have no frigging idea what is coming in the next book. I loved, loved, loved this book.

Brodi Ashton makes Nikki an irresistible bargain- a hard-luck and heartbroken teen who just happens to still have an optimistic streak yet unabashedly realistic at the same time. Not many YA heroines like that on paper these days, and she makes Nikki so real you feel her pain every bit of the way through the book. You feel her angst over her leaving Jack hanging in the balance and trying to deny her obvious attraction to Cole. You feel her pain when she weighs her decision. You really feel it after that ending. Nikki’s written like a angsty teen who’s going on 40. You think “Oh shit, this is going to suck the lifeblood out of the novel.” No, no, no, it ADDS to it. The male characters? Oh yes, there’s definitely competition going on in the romantic catacombs with those characters. I really like the character of Cole- incredibly charismatic, yet you can see he truly cares about Nikki and her long-term well-being, and of course there’s torture there, hidden underneath. In the book he plays guitar in a band called The Dead Elvises. I keep picturing him as James Dean. Seriously. Jack? Now that’s a mixed bag. Part of me wants to buy that he’s head over heels in love with Nikki, but I don’t buy that he’s this perfect pretty-boy type who hasn’t made mistakes. I think Nikki lets him get away with a lot in the book. He wasn’t my favorite character. I do give him everlasting brownie points for the sacrifice at the end. He completely redeemed misgivings. However, I have to admit, despite that, I’m on Team Cole.

So all in all, LOVED this. Hope you read it and love it as well.

~ by generationgbooks on January 5, 2013.

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