EVERNEATH by Brodi Ashton
370 pages, hardcover
Available Jan. 24, 2012
Review copy provided by publisher
Publisher: HarperCollins / Balzer + Bray
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...
EVERNEATH has got to be one of the most creative twists on the Hades and Persephone myth I've read yet. In fact, there's only the merest hint of the original myth in the story, that of a dark immortal creature capturing a beautiful girl and dragging her into the Underworld for his benefit. In this case, the Underworld is a place called the Everneath, Cole is that dark immortal, and Nikki is the beautiful, broken human he pulls down with him so he can Feed (yes, that's with a capital F) on her and remain immortal.
Bound together for a hundred years in the Everneath, Cole and Nikki become emotionally intertwined and, when she returns to the surface, Cole follows because he believes he is in love with her. While Nikki has a specific purpose for returning—the boy she loves, Jack—she is still emotionally connected to Cole, though she claims to hate him for what he’s done to her. They’re addicted to one another, though Cole’s an addiction Nikki wants to kick.
When Nikki returns home—for her it’s been a hundred years but on the surface, it’s only been six months—she returns as a broken shell of her former self, though she kept more of her memories than most because she held on to the idea of Jack. It’s no wonder everyone believes the story that she’s been in rehab for a drug addiction. And, like an addict, she’s rather weak and selfish, spending the six months she has not with her family but chasing after the boy who broke her heart, the reason she accepted Cole’s offer of oblivion and forgetfulness in the first place.
This is a beautifully told but rather sad story, the tale of Nikki and Cole and Jack. Nikki should never have remembered her time in the Everneath and, because of her memories, is doomed. Cole is doomed to feed on the emotions of humans, draining them so he can remain immortal and in his queen’s good graces. Jack has tried to move on after Nikki left but with her return, has been sucked back into her dark world. I’m curious as to how this story will evolve, especially after the surprising twist at the end.
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