Author: Brodi Ashton
Narrator: Amy Rubinate
Series: Everneath #1
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: January 24, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible
Everneath has been on my to-read list since I first caught word of it sometime last year. It's always perplexing when you find a debut novel that every single one of your reading buddies enjoyed...at least it is for me. Because always at the back of my mind is, Will I be the one to loathe it, resulting in endless virtual flogging? I should not have worried. This is one debut novel that has guaranteed that I will pick up the 2nd book...and the third, and subsequent novels or spin-offs (or completely different series) if they come to fruition.
I had an over-abundance of Audible credits, and this book was on my wishlist, so I snapped it up, planning to listen on my commute and making it last approximately a week or so. Nothin' doin'. Once I heard the passionate Amy Rubinate give voice to Nikki's dire situation, I knew there would be no pausing the audio until I'd heard the whole tragic story.
If there's one way to guarantee that I'll at least give a retelling a chance, it's to make it mythology-based. Even better? Make it a retelling of the Persephone myth, one of my very favorite myths. I've seen so many variations of the original story, and each one is unique. Everneath might just be my favorite so far, though. That might just have something to do with the fact that it's character-driven, rather than being focused on the romantic aspects of the story.
I also liked that the book worked as a countdown to Nikki's return to the tunnels, switching back and forth between the days leading up to her decision to go to the Everneath with Cole and now, as she tries to find a way to remain on the surface. The romance does play a large role in why this is all happening to Nikki in the first place but it never really overshadows eveything Nikki is learning and what she's doing in her attempt to stay in the land of the living.
As I said, this novel doesn't focus primarily on the romantic relationship of the main character, which is a refreshing change for a YA novel. Instead, it focuses on all of Nikki's relationships and how everything has changed since she emerged from the Everneath. The book delves into the idea of having a choice and making the wrong one and into wreckless teenage impulsiveness and the repercussions, not just to oneself but to everyone involved. There's also a lesson in there somewhere about forgiveness. Oh, and sacrifice. There's always sacrificing in mythology, literal and metaphorical.
It's not all after-school special, though. There's some serious potential for a love triangle, but as it stands now, Jack is just as broken as Nikki, and Cole, it seems, is using Nikki as the means to an end. Sure, it's clear he might have romantic feelings for Nikki, but with a guy who wants to carry you back to the Everneath caveman-style, you just never know. It is apparent, however, that although Jack was deeply hurt when Nikki disappeared six months ago, he never stopped loving her. He might be quite different from the Jack she knew before, but after the events that led up to her leaving all those months ago, you know Nikki's got to be wondering if she ever knew him at all.
I love where this first novel ended and that it leaves the next book open for all kinds of questing: for the truth, for a solution, for life and love lost. And I sincerely hope that Everbound is just as emotionally-charged as Everneath. I can't wait to make it mine and find out!
“If you're gonna leave, I wish you'd just leave. Why do you keep coming back if you're not going to stay? Because even when you're gone, you're never really gone... I won't get over it if you keep coming back. Losing you once was hard enough. And now you're here again and everything's coming back. I'm going to get screwed. And I can't do it again.”
“I dreamed of you every night. It felt so real. And when I'd wake up the next morning, it was like your disappearance was fresh. Like you'd left me all over again."
“Tell me, friend. Is there more for us?"
I looked into his eyes, "There is everything for us.”