Everneath (Everneath #1)FeaturedHot
Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath. Now she’s returned—to her old life, her family, her boyfriend—before she’s 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 precious months forgetting the Everneath and trying to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack, the person most devastated by her disappearance—and the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s just one problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath in the first place, has followed Nikki home. Cole wants to take over the throne in the underworld and is convinced Nikki is the key to making it happen. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen. As Nikki’s time on the Surface draws to a close and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she is 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 queen. Everneath is a captivating story of love, loss, and immortality from debut author Brodi Ashton.
The Persephone myth has inspired numerous authors, but those attempts at a young adult retelling which I have read have been ill-considered to say the least. Both of the other two YA adaptions I've read, Abandon by Meg Cabot and The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter, involved an intense immediate attraction for the Hades figure. A big part of why these attempts failed is this perversion of the myth, trying to forge an immediate romantic connection between Persephone and a misunderstood version of Hades. Well, sorry, but that just does not fly. One of the main elements of the Persephone myth is that she is taken and that she is kept. If right from the beginning she kind of wants to hang out in the Underworld, the author's kind of missing the point.
All of that lead up is to say that I think Brodi Ashton hit the nail on the head with the Persephone myth. Of course, she put a lot of twists on things, but a lot more of the core of the myth remained. Though Nikki doesn't hate Cole, who is not Hades but one of the Everliving who lives in the Everneath, she does not trust him either. He did take her there and he did keep her through the months, with her having no say once she let him in a little bit. Cole has a proper amount of darkness to fill this role, and Nikki begins with a sort of weakness I identify with Persephone.
Actually, I loved just about every single thing that Brodi Ashton did with her reworking of the myths. Instead of the Underworld, we have the Everneath, a land populated by the Everliving, humans who have found the secret to eternal life, and Shades, ghosty type things. The Everliving survive by feeding off of the emotions of humans on Earth, but have to bring a particular human to the Everneath every hundred years to Feed. This human is a Forfeit, and once they've completed their service, they are buried in the Tunnels to power the Everneath. It's a wee bit confusing, but mostly just creepy and awesome. Ashton puts a fascinating and unique twist on not just the myth of Persephone, but also that of Orpheus and even incorporates mythologies outside of Greek too.
Nikki, Cole and Jack are the only characters to receive any real attention, but, thankfully, Ashton does a marvelous job with them. Nikki very much has her own way of being, and feels quite real. She is not the most sympathetic heroine, quite passive and depressed much of the time, but she has a core strength, one that she's slowly finding. Seeing her slowly unfold, like a flower after a long winter beautifully matches the arc of the tale. Because of her coldness, I did have some trouble emotionally connecting with her, but I very much appreciated her as a character.
With the listing of Cole and Jack, you might be worried about yet another love triangle, and I do suspect things are heading that way. In Everneath, though, I hardly felt the romance as a main part of the plot. Much of the time, Nikki is too drained of emotion to feel anything. She doesn't trust Cole and is unsure what she wants from her ex, Jack. Their interactions are complicated, and all of the emotions are well established and believable. The closest comparison for the romantic arc in this book is definitely Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr.
What Left Me Wanting More:
My only real complaint is that I would have liked even more of the stellar world building. During the dramatic opening scene, Nikki declares her desire to go to the surface, Shades fly at her, and then she wakes up in a convenience store. Yes, this is dramatic, but it made no sense. Then, all of a sudden, she seems to know the terms of her sentence up above, but, if some of the things she knows are explained to her, I missed them. I want to know every single thing about this world, and I feel like sometimes some information was kept back from me.
The Final Verdict:
If you enjoy original takes on mythology, Everneath is most definitely worth your time. From what I hear, the second book, Everbound improves on the beginning established here, so I most definitely recommend that you give this one a try.
Like the books similar to it, we have a Hades like character (Cole), and a Persephone (Nikki). The book centers on these two characters (obviously) and Nikki's earthly boyfriend, Jack. Cole is mysterious, kind of selfish and later on we get to see a bit of a more vulnerable side of him, which I really liked. Nikki is a confused teenager, but in the end finds her way and becomes sure of herself and head strong. I adored Jack. He is in love with Nikki and would do anything for her and is completely heartbroken that she left him six months ago (and he doesn't know where she went!).
Upon coming back up to earth from the Everneath, Nikki is in a fragile state. She chose to go there with Cole and was there for 100 years (though in earthly time it was only six months). She has now decided to return to Earth to say her final goodbyes to her family and friends, she only has six months.
I really enjoyed the journey the book took me on. At first I was confused because the book back tracks and we get the back story through the entire book, not right at the beginning. So, I was afraid it was a sequel or something, but it's not! It's the first book of the series, so if at first you are confused, keep reading, it will make sense.
I had no problem rooting for Nikki and Jack. I love their relationship and loved reading about their relationship before she went to the Everneath. It only makes Nikki's relationship with Cole pale in comparison. However, I did enjoy reading the parts where Cole shows his vulnerability and I honestly felt a little sad for him. Only a little bit.
The only thing that I thought was a bit confusing about the book was the writing style, but as I mentioned before the more you read the more you understand. So, even though I was a bit confused in the beginning, the book itself is not confusing. When I got to the end of the book I appreciated this writing style and thought it very unique!
I cannot wait to see where book 2 takes us. The end of this book was heartbreaking and I'm anxious to see what happens next.
At first, I was confused a bit because the time frame is jumping around and I am not exactly sure how the Everneath works, and what the Tunnels are as well as what the history was between her and Cole and her and Jack. But this is intentional because the time shifts explain what I needed to know at every turn.
I liked Nikki's character, she is easy to get along with, and more reserved and quiet, which has always been me so that is my personality. Which part of her reservation is Nikki being emotionless(ish) as she comes back from the Everneath, but she gets her emotion back as she spends more time above.
The romance is kinda up in the air for me, because for the most part of the story, I knew that Cole wanted her to be Everliving with him, but otherwise his motives and feelings are kinda unknown to me. Jack is sweet and I would pull for him, but Nikki alludes to something happening between the two so I kinda hold off my feelings because I am afraid that he hurt her.
The emotions in this one are pretty powerful. We have Nikki hurt from the issue with Jack, that she forgot a lot while she was in the Everneath with Cole, we have love flying around everywhere, and we have the raw emotion of Nikki losing her mom, who died in a car accident. Nikki's family and friends were hurt because she disappeared and because she wasn't fully connected when she was back because even though she wanted redemption and to say goodbye, she also wouldn't let herself get any closer to them and at an arm's length.
The story started getting going and it raced to the end at a breakneck pace. I figured out who I wanted for Nikki, and I think that even though it seems there is a love triangle, I think that one ends up being a non--player although I may be proven wrong as I read more. But the ending, wow, it just cemented my love for this series and the man that won my heart.
I will definitely continue this series, and I am so glad that I finally got to it, and I recommend to any of my fantasy or paranormal romance friends because it is a good, emotional and unique story.
Bottom Line: Characters stole my heart!
However the immortal who seduced her and took her to the Everneath, Cole, has followed her back to the Surface and intent on taking Nikki back to the Everneath for ever this time.
The book follows Nikki's journey back into her old life, her struggle to say goodbye to her family, to reconnect with her friends and most importantly work things out with Jack.
With her deadline growing ever closer Everneath beckons and Nikki is faced with the hardest decision of her life. Ashton has created a intricate world based on Greek myths and Nikki is a brilliant heroine which the reader follows with enthusiasm. The book is cleverly written and the reader is stuck from the first page, it is an easy read but when you look back on the characters they are surprisingly complex.
Nikki, thank god, isn't the typical god awful pout in the corner that many YA female characters end up being. She has some real issues and she knows what happened in Everneath is her fault and she is searching for redemption, not for someone to blame. You want things to work out for Nikki because you can see her reasons behind her decisions and understand them but agree with her that they were wrong and be happy for her that she wants to change them.. You will definitely will her along and things to go her way!
Jack didn't give up on Nikki for the six months she was gone but now she's back he's wary, hurt and cautious. Jack is one of my favourite male characters in a long time he is extremely believable (you can see him being a real person and gawd you better hope there are Jacks out there 'cos you'll need them to battle the Coles!) He's also real sweet, understanding and funny!
Cole is the typical bad boy - he's immortal (sort of like a vampire who feeds on emotion!) and Nikki gave him the biggest feast of his life yet survived. So he's darn curious about this girl who is refusing his tempting offers and is attempting to reconnect with all her friends and family despite her impending deadline. However girls, you can't help falling a little for Cole, who, at least in the case of Nikki, does care for her and can be sweet and funny but also dark and dangerous.
Ashton creates a love triangle with Nikki, Cole and Jack but Nikki is a strong female lead character who ignores advances from Cole and is stuck on Jack. Jack and Nikki's relationship is realistic with the good times sometimes shadowed with doubt and misunderstandings.
Now I warn you it is a trilogy so if you don't want to get dragged into a series stay away because the ending will leave you desperate for the second book which is out in January 2013..
So. How to start this thing? You know those love triangle books have two different guys fighting over a girl? And you always pick a side. You either go for the bad boy or the boy next door. Well, this time I can't make up my mind. On one hand there's Jack. Nikki's boyfriend who's always been there for her and treater her right. Basically, he's a really nice guy. I should be on Team Jack but I'm still not sure. Then there's Cole. He's an Everliving. He's an immortal/Hades/supernatural being or whatever and he wants Nikki to stay with him forever in Everneath. He's also in a band called Dead Elvises which means he's very popular with the ladies but he only has eyes for Nikki. This should pull me in from the start but there's this thing where Cole doesn't actually feel anything. He just steals other people's emotions. He doesn't have his own so I'm not completely on board of Cole x Nikki ship. There's still time for improvement in the sequel which we'll probably see Cole's some human side. Hope I'm not wrong about this.
Huh. I do love to ramble about love triangles.
I did start reading this book last year but abandoned it after the first ten pages for some reason. I think I was tired of the hyped YA books back then. However, I did like it this time. In fact, it was unputdownable. Mum was bugging me to help her with some things and I said I have just a few pages left when there were actually 120 pages left. Now she's mad at me but I'll make it up to her somehow. I didn't mind hearing her yell. It was worth it. :) Can't wait to find out what happens next. Now I just need to order Everbound.
Nikki is at times, quite a mess of a character, but she’s also compelling. She definitely has some self-destructive tendencies, but can also be really self-determined and convinced what she’s doing is right. I think I would have been slightly annoyed with Nikki at times except I could never stop feeling sorry for what had happened to her. The idea of someone else feeding off your energy for a century, leaving you a broken shell, is enough to make me literally cringe.
Jack and Cole are both fantastically written characters. They’re both intriguing in their own ways while being complete opposites of one another. Jack is the perfect, steady character that Nikki really needs when she returns, even if things between them are incredibly awkward at first. I like that at first we don’t know exactly what Jack’s role is, since the book is told from Nikki’s POV. I felt like I was figuring Jack out as Nikki was figuring him out for the second time.
There is just so much going on in Everneath(in a good way!). You can read it as a mythological retelling, or as a story of the foundation of love, but there’s a lot of undercurrents about the price of immortality, what constitutes a human being, and who heroes are. These aren’t all themes that might be evident on a quick read-through, but they’re definitely prominent enough that I feel they should be acknowledged. These underlying tensions are really what compels me to the series, and why I want to keep reading.
Final Impression: I wasn’t sure if I would like this book or not, but I liked the different take on mythology that I feel isn’t explored as much as some other lore. Even though Nikki had some pretty self-defeating behavior and thoughts sometimes, I never felt like I didn’t get where she was coming from. The way the characters are written and the subtle themes that run underneath this work make this a 4/5 star read for me.
Nikki is unbelievably selfish, and was a complete angst who couldn't make up her mind. One minute she only came for Jack, the guy who broke her heart -- never mind that she had a little brother and father who went through hell; to thinking maybe she should go back to Everneath with Cole so she wouldn't hurt anybody. I honestly hate feeling that the protagonists is a replica of Bella from Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, but sadly I have to place Nikki into the category. Jack was a boring character despite the fact he was labelled as 'the hot jock everyone loves', Nikki's best friend was annoying and Cole was just a creepy; manipulative immortal. I had zero feelings for the characters.
A lot of things in Everneath was left unexplained, it kept jumping off point 80 per cent of the time, the romance was just sad, and this book just held a vague plot. I'm sorry I don't have strong feelings for this like most of you, but I hope to never read this again.
Every story has a heroine, and this one is no different. I fell in love with Nikki from the very beginning. Her emotions were so palpable and real. Even when she made decisions I didn't quite agree with, I saw her motivations behind. Everything about her was so selfless. Flanking her on either side are two very different boys with two very different motivations. I loved Jack. Can I say that again? I loved him. He is the epitome of what we all want in a relationship. Sweet, giving, unshakable in his loyalty. His story with Nikki blew me away. Then there is Cole who, even though he is technically the "villian", I just couldn't help but love. There is so much wrapped up in his character that despite how he acts sometimes he is just too broken to dislike.
These stunning characters are placed in an even more gorgeous story line, as Brodi Ashton whisks us away into the story of the Everneath. I'm not going to share any details that might be spoilers. I believe that this is the type of book you'll just have to experience for yourself. Still, I could not believe how perfectly Ashton blended myth with reality. Nikki's story mirrors a myth almost perfectly and, even when you know what's going to ultimately happen, she provides enough hope to keep you hanging on. Love plays a big part in this story. The link between two people who love each other so much that time, nor space, can separate them. It broke my heart with its beauty.
Reading Everneath was effortless, if that makes any sense. It was such a pleasure to turn every page that it was almost like I wasn't reading at all. What Brodi Ashton has created within this pages is absolutely wonderful. There is no way I can explain to you why this book touched me so much, only that it did. I ended the story with tears in my eyes and something beyond a need to find out what happens next. More of an ache.
I haven't been as in love as I am with these characters in a long, long time. That alone makes Everneath one of my top reads, not just of the year but of all time. If you are a hopeless romantic, if you are a fan of mythology, or if you just enjoy rooting for the good in the world, this is a book you'll enjoy. I recommend Everneath with all my heart.
First of all, the story was absolutely genius. This was a very unique retelling of the Persephone myth. The mythology was written so well; I truly have never read anything like this before! Originality is very important for me, and this one scored an A+ in that department.
I really enjoyed all the characters too. Nikki was an admirable protagonist; while she definitely did have lapses in judgement sometimes, she was strong in her decisions to protect others, even when it meant sacrificing herself. I am also torn between the awesomeness of both Cole and Jack. While you could say Cole is the "bad boy" and Jack is the "nice guy", I don't want to think of them in those stereotypical ways, since they're better than that. They are both very complex and amazing in their own ways. I'm glad I'm not Nikki, because I could never choose.
Plus, the ending?! Like, WHAT?!?!?! I really need Everbound!
Overall: REEEEEAAAAADDDD IIIITTTT (Sorry for the excessive caps, but the situation called for it.)
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.
(Hades, the god of the underworld who viciously kidnapped Persephone to make her his queen. You can read more about the myth here.) I actually read this book in March, and until now, I had not been able to find the right words to put into a review. I knew of Persephone's very sad story and Brodi Ashton was able to capture the heartache and enchantment of it so perfectly and unforgettable that it has stayed with me since then.
At the start of the story, we are immediately right by Nikki's side in the underworld as known as the Everneath. It is a bit confusing at first and that is because Nikki is too. There is such a darkness and overwhelming feeling of being lost and sad, that I couldn't help myself get pulled in and feel stuck and helpless just like Nikki did. It was a such a realistic state of mind that I hope to never feel again.
When Nikki slowly comes to her senses alongside Cole, she not only discovers that she's not suppose to have any memories, but that she is lucky to have had survived. Cole is mesmerized by her strength and is determined to have Nikki as his queen so they can overrule and take over the underworld. But Nikki knows that she survived for a reason. There is someone that she is suppose to find... Jack... and chooses to go back to her reality and ignore the consequences, for now.
Even though she was in the Everneath for a year, in our reality, she was only gone for 3 months. She was a star student with a promising future, but after she disappeared, everyone assumed that the fell to drugs and ran-away from home. Her comeback is hard on everyone, especially on Nikki, because when you are in the Everneath all of your feelings and emotions have been drained right out of you and it takes a long time for a little bit, if any, of your happiness to return. But when you meet Jack, as quickly as your heart will swoon for him, it will ache just as much too.
The ending was completely unpredictable to me. I cried and couldn't believe what had happened.
I cannot wait to read the next book, Everbound, and find out what happens next!