Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Title: Everneath
Author: Brodi Ashton
Publisher: HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray
Release Date: January 24, 2012
Pages: 370 pages (hardback)
How I Got the Book: Amazon Vine-provided ARC

Everneath (Everneath, #1)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...

Review:

I had such a hard time getting this book. For one reason or another, the publisher kept denying me for a copy on NetGalley. I kept sending requests, but I basically gave up on getting an early copy and was fine with waiting until the publication date like everyone else. Then the Vine newsletter arrived in my inbox and luckily, this was one of the books being offered! Now that I've finished the book, I honestly can't fathom why someone didn't want me to read it. I absolutely loved it!

Greek mythology is one of the minor YA fads lately, from the many retakes on the myths of Hades and Persephone to the Furies and beyond. One issue I've had with some of them is that they stray so far from the tale or twist it so badly that they lose meaning as retellings or just aren't good as either a retelling or its own book. Everneath breaks this streak like a hammer breaks a pane of glass. It both remains loyal to its roots and takes creative license to twist the Hades/Persephone and Orpheus/Eurydice myths (among others) into a well-researched, enjoyable, and fresh tale.

Nikki is a likable heroine, and her struggle to make the right choices when she isn't sure what to do resonated with me. It helps that I'm in the middle of writing a similar character All of the characters--Nikki's dad, her boyfriend Jack, and more--felt genuine and were jut as interesting to read about. The antagonist Cole, the metaphorical drug to Nikki's addict, is the usual bad boy, but it's made clear that someone going with the bad boy and letting him ruin them is a very bad idea, something most novels in recent memory ignore. The typical tropes found in YA characters and YA novels in general are twisted around and seen through to the end, and I loved every bit of it.

The novel was difficult to put down and I devoured it in two days flat. If it hadn't been for a few real-life matters that got in the way, I would have read it in one. Two scenes in particular made me tear up. Wow, if only I could write such a powerful scene or overall story that it made people cry. The places I would go... Despite the lack of big action scenes (a nice change), the conflicts of all the characters struggling to put themselves back together and a curiosity to find out what led to Nikki becoming a Forfeit keep the story moving steadily.

My one problem with the novel has to do with some of the logic. Nikki's dad is the mayor of Park City and it is demonstrated in the novel that he cares about his political image, and how he runs his family makes up part of that image. He is surprisingly loose when she comes back despite what her disappearance likely did to his image, but then he loses his temper a little with her when she's the center of an incriminating photo because of what it means for his image. What's with the image concerns in one situation but not the other?

One of my initial worries before reading Everneath and my friends' reviews of it was that there was going to be yet another love triangle, but there isn't. Well, there kind of is, but it's more complicated than that--the good kind of complicated. The book was good enough and the cliffhanger ending grabbing enough to keep me on board for the second book, but the ending renews my fears the Cole-Nikki-Jack situation could develop into exactly the kind of love triangle I hate. For now, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt. Ashton pleasantly surprised me one, so who is to say she can't do it again?

(...Does my desire to scream like a fangirl and run around in circles doing said fangirl scream show in my review? No? Good. No one must know. Looking proper and calm when I want to jump around like I'm on a sugar high makes me feel cool.)

4 stars!


What am I reading next?: Cinder by Marissa Meyer