Everneath (Everneath #1) - Brodi Ashton
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she’s returned—to her old life, her family, her friends—before being 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 months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.
As Nikki’s time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she’s 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...(Description from Goodreads)
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I know it's pretty popular in the YA world these days, but 'Everneath' was my first experience with re-told Greek myths and boy did I pick a good one to start with.
Imagine there is a place beneath our world full of beings that have discovered a way to live forever, the only catch is they must feed off the emotions of humans. This is what occurs in 'Everneath'. These beings are called Everlivings, because the live forever in the underworld - the Everneath. Every century they have to take part in The Feed; taking a human (Forfeit) into the Everneath and extracting all their emotions and energy over many years. It's here we meet Nikki Beckett; a teenage girl, a Forfeit, who has somehow kept herself whole despite being emotionally and physically drained. Instead of moving into The Tunnels, the place all Forfeits go to fade away, Nikki chooses to Return to the surface to spend the last 6 months of her life with family and friends. The catch? She has been missing for 6 human months and being back will only cause more pain and heartache. I loved the start of 'Everneath'. We're thrown into the story immediately. There's no explanation for where Nikki is or what is going on - we're just there. Nikki's situation is all unknown, and the bits and pieces we're given leave you questioning what's happening and desperate to find out more about the Everneath and how Nikki came to be there. I loved watching her settle into her old life again. She shows a lot of strength in resisting the easy way out (going into the Tunnels) and instead makes a serious effort to say a proper goodbye to her family and friends. I love when a main character fights for what they believe in, and when they don't take the easy way out of situations.
As I mentioned earlier, 'Everneath' was my first Greek Myth YA book and I loved the way it was set out. There are really two major myths fighting to be heard throughout the book: the stories of Persephone, and Orpheus and Erydice. Persephone's influence seems pretty obvious at first: a human girl who spends 6 months in the underworld and then 6 months on the surface, who fights to not return below. But it's the Orpheus and Erydice side of things that had me rushing through the pages. Nothing quite like a romantic - yet tragic - myth to make things more interesting. I loved seeing these myths play out with slightly modern twists.
I'm not a fan of love triangles, mostly because I hate seeing the guys get treated badly by the girls, especially if you've got a favourite. While 'Everneath' does have two guys competing for Nikki's attention - Cole, the mysterious immortal, and Jack, the human ex-boyfriend - I wouldn't call it a love triangle. It's clear from the start who Nikki wants to be with and who she'd rather not have contact with ever again. But did that make it any easier to pick a side? No. I struggled to decide which guy I liked better. I knew who was better for Nikki, I could see it the whole way through, but that didn't mean I wasn't drawn to both guys. I love the tension that plays throughout Nikki's two relationships; the silent looks, attempts at cracking jokes, the touches that sent spark shooting across her skin - so much emotion carried through the whole novel. I miss it already.
I really enjoyed the flicking between past and present. We get a chance to watch Nikki's life post-Feed, seeing her struggle to accept that she has only 6 months left in the human world. She has to rediscover life as a human; try to experience emotions such as laughing and crying all over again, and she fights to find a way to stay with her family and friends - to not leave them again. But we also get to see the events the led up to the Feed. We get to see Nikki and Jack falling in love; the first time Nikki meets the mysterious Cole, the moment she discovers that he's not all human and he can take away her pain. I loved seeing these glimpses into Nikki's recent past, and there were quite a few times where I got a little annoyed at being thrown back into the present - I wanted to see more of her past life. There's something so exciting about experiencing a mix of past and present events. I'm curious to see if this structure continues in the next book, as I'm not sure it'll work in the same way.
An amazing book, I can't wait to see where Nikki's story leads to next.
(Originally posted on Goodreads)