Immediately, after starting Everbound I had the sinking feeling it was going to tear at my heart. And I was right because obviously Nikki is still hurting over Jack's sacrifice with no way to save him. That is, until Cole reappears in her life and together they travel down to the Everneath to save Jack. And I should warn readers that this is not a happy novel and it does contain its fair share of teen angst, but, in my opinion, warranted. While Nikki and Cole navigate the Everneath, they rely heavily on her memories of Jack to show them the way. I was a little wary of the book containing flashbacks to help move the plot along because those types of novels don't seem to work well with me. Thankfully, I enjoyed it and I feel it helped fill the void for Jack's smallish role in this installment.
Another thing I loved about Everbound was how much action was added this time around. Whereas Everneath moved as a slower pace and it almost felt like you could feel Nikki coming out her drugged haze, Everbound is the opposite with just enough action sequences, paired with bittersweet flashback memories of Nikki and Jack. But at the same time there is this layer of urgency to get to Jack before he disappears forever. So many obstacles are thrown at our characters, that I started to doubt if there would be any sort of resolution because Ashton doesn't make it easy for them. After all, this is based on a Greek myth. Remember all the tragedy, pain and suffering? Ashton really doesn't hold back and I really appreciated it.
Then there is the love triangle. And I really have to applaud Ashton for it. I know, I know. Not another dreaded love triangle. But let me tell you, I LOVE IT. Originally, I was solidly on Jack's side, but I'm finding myself more and more conflicted as this series goes on (much like I am with the Unearthly series). There seems to be so much more to Cole than I expected. He's such a complex character and learning more about his past in Everbound had me questioning who the true antagonist is. Cole says there are no heroes. But is he just resisting the person he could be or has he accepted his fate and role as a true Everliving? I am unsure. All I know is that I was throughly deceived in this book because the ending was nothing short of clever.
Final Verdict: I expected to find "Second Book Syndrome," but instead we have a story that significantly picked up the action, dived into more complex characterization and a conclusion that left me stunned. Fans of Everneath will loves this and those who weren't particularly impressed with the first book, will find a better novel here.