Interesting interpretation of familiar myths, but too many plot holes.
First of all, while I was expecting Persephone, I found the plot of this book was a lot closer to Orpheus and Eurydice, although both myths were mentioned prominently throughout the book. I’m not really complaining, since both myths are definitely interesting. I just wouldn’t go into this expecting a “pure” re-imagining of the Persephone myth.
The narrative jumps between Nikki’s dwindling time back on the Surface, before she is claimed by the Tunnels, and the months preceding her decision to accompany Cole down into the Everneath as his Forfeit. It takes its time explaining the mythology, and I had to progress pretty far into the book before I finally wrapped my head around what exactly the rules of the world were. I found the pacing and storytelling solid — it held my interest the whole way through.
I thought the characterizations were okay, but could use some work. Cole was definitely the most interesting character. Nikki sees him entirely as a villain, but he seems much more layered than that, and I found myself often sympathetic towards him, even though he obviously was not a “good guy.” But the two characters we’re supposed to root for — Nikki and Jack — I didn’t really connect with. It takes a long time to get any sort of personality out of Jack, and as for Nikki, even in the scenes before she has been drained by Cole, she comes across a little flat. I really wanted to feel the depth and complexity in their relationship, since it’s such a cornerstone of the story, but it didn’t come across for me.
The story itself is very interesting, and I really liked Brodi Ashton’s take on mythology and how it all contains elements of truth. That was a great plot device, and I always love when authors put a fresh spin on familiar stories.
The biggest problem I had with the book is that no one seems to question that Nikki disappeared for six months, with no explanation whatsoever, then reappeared. The book hints that people thought she had been on drugs and gone to rehab, but it doesn’t make sense when she had done nothing prior to her disappearance to indicate drugs. And surely her father, the mayor, wouldn’t have just come home one day, found his daughter missing, and assumed, “Well, I’m just going to assume my daughter, who has no history of drug use, has gone to rehab to clean herself up, with no word, no note, and without packing any of her belongings.”
Wouldn’t it cause huge headlines for the mayor’s daughter to disappear for six months, then suddenly reappear with no explanation? Wouldn’t her dad be combing the countryside? Wouldn’t all of her friends and acquaintances be hauled in for questioning?
But no, none of this happens. It seems nearly everyone — including her father — just assumed she had gone off of her own free will, and would return when she was ready. And not much of a fuss is made when she returns. Her father is more concerned about his mayoral re-election campaign (which apparently never paused while she was missing), than the fact that his daughter went missing without a trace for six months.
I would still be interested in the sequel to Everneath, Everbound, coming January 2013. The story is interesting enough to keep me coming back, and I want to find out what ultimately happens with Cole. I’m just hoping that the next book doesn’t leave so many dangling loose ends and helps me invest in Nikki and Jack more.