Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 2215
Totally awesome series!
Overall rating 
Writing Style 
Reader reviewed by Denise

Four teenagers, along with the powerful and mysterious Senna Wales, are
dragged from our world and into the parallel universe Everworld, a land
populated by ancient gods and their human worshipers. Once a stable
land, the balance of Everworld has changed with the arrival of the alien
god Ka-Anor, who feasts on the Everworld gods, and his insect-like
followers who now swarm across the land. Seeing his doom if he remains
in Everworld, the Norse god Loki has brought Senna to Everworld to serve
as a gateway and allow him to escape into our world. Senna, however,
has no intention of helping Loki, or anyone else for that matter, and
sees her arrival in Everworld as an opportunity for power and conquest.

The teenagers who have also been transported to Everworld, David,
Christopher, April, and Jalil, are swept along for the ride as the gods
wage war, pillage, torture, and scheme. Compounding these already
life-threatening problems is the mystery of their now dual existence.
When they crossed over into Everworld, they somehow split in two, with
one half remaining in the real world going about their regular lives and
the other half battling for survival in Everworld. When they sleep in
Everworld, these two halves merge in the real world where they swap
memories with themselves. This allows them to brush up on ancient
mythology in the real world, but it also brings up the question that
haunts them throughout the series: If they die in Everworld, do they die
in the real world as well? As if this weren't enough, each character
also has their own real world problems to deal with.

I happened upon this series at a library sale years ago. I was able
to pick up 9 of the 12 books, but stuck them in a drawer and pretty much
forgot about them. I reluctantly decided to give the series a try now
and honestly thought I'd get through the first book and then decide to
give the rest away. I mean, look at the covers? They look pretty
amateurish and juvenile. All I can say is, holy wow was I wrong!

This series is absolutely fantastic-awesome-amazing! The action
starts right away and doesn't let up at all. Everything is so intense.
The action scenes are heart-pounding adrenaline rushes described at
break-neck speed. I couldn't help but get caught up in the pure action
and emotion as the characters engaged in battle after battle and
witnessed all sorts of torture, depravity, and indulgences. The imagery
was so alive and real, I was completely absorbed in what was happening.
People actually die (horrifically, graphically), so you really never
know what is going to happen. Call me a wimp, but I was so immersed and
involved in the story, I actually had to take a short break half-way
through the series just to calm down from the

The books were also much more than I was expecting. If they had only
been total action books, they would have still been great, but they
went much deeper than that. Each book is narrated by one of the four
teens, and slowly their inner thoughts, morals, feelings, fears, and
personal demons are explored. Their voices are distinct, and it is fun
to see the events from their very different perspectives. We really get
to know these kids and their experiences in Everworld have a large and
logical impact on their growth and character development. They each had
minor irritating characteristics (which were pointed out by the other
characters), but they were also all admirable and very likable in their
own ways. I really got to know these people and I miss them now that the
series is over.

Maybe a very minor spoiler:

All except Senna, who I thoroughly despised (as you are supposed
to). She gets to narrate one book, and while you learn more about her
and in some ways feel sorry for her, she is still utterly detestable. I
was so happy the author did this. When I realized Senna was narrating
one of the books, I was actually angry. I didn't want to hear from her
and I was afraid the author was going to try to pull some, "Look, bad
guys are really just misunderstood!" and then all the characters would
hug after they saw Senna's inner heart. Barf. So I was very happy when
K. A. Applegate didn't do that at all. Instead, we see that, while Senna
may have her own sad past, she's still an evil cookie who needs
killing. Yay!

End spoilers.

I also learned a lot about ancient mythology and the cultures of the
various peoples. I wasn't a scholar on the subject, but I knew the
glossed over basics. There were a number of times where a god or a
cultural feature was described in the book in ways that were completely
new to me and, sure enough, when I looked them up the descriptions were
spot on. Learning about mythology is interesting, but K. A. Applegate
took things to a whole new level by making these gods come alive. Never
did the book feel bogged down with lessons. The horrors of Hel were
absolutely, nauseatingly real. The terror the characters experienced
coming face to face with Huitzilopoctli was palms sweating, stomach in
knots terrifying. The cultural differences between the various peoples
were clearly drawn and actually based on reality. They didn't just dress
up the same people in different garb, but instead the descriptions went
much deeper showing how the various cultures affected the responses and
opinions of the different peoples.

I could go on and on just raving about this awesome series. If
anyone is on the fence about this series, wondering if it's maybe too
juvenile or hokey, or just turned off by those covers, or wary because
the author also wrote the Animorphs series, FORGET ALL THAT! Just give
the series a try. Adults, kids, guys, and girls, this series has wide
appeal and totally delivers. Just a few warnings before starting:

-You'll fly through each book in a few hours and each book ends on a massive cliffhanger, so have the next book ready.

-The books MUST be read in order and you can't skip any books.

-The ending doesn't wrap things up very well. I was left with a lot
of questions I was hoping to have been given the answers to, but it
ended very open-ended. Not terribly, but it's there. People who write
fan fiction must be overjoyed.

-Once the series was over, I crashed like a five year old after a three day sugar binge.

-The level of violence/gore and some of the issues the characters deal with might be a little mature for younger teens and preteens.

The open ending gives me hope that maybe, someday, K. A. Applegate
can be persuaded to pick up the series again. Is that wishful thinking?
Probably, but it should give some indication of how attached I am to
this series. Did I mention I love this series? Oh, just go and read it!

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