Jan 30, 2012

Review: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Book cover of Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Title: Everneath [Amazon|GoodReads]
Author: Brodi Ashton [Website|Twitter]
Standing: First book in a new series.
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Greek Mythology
Published: January 24th, 2012 by HarperCollins/Balzer & Bray
Format: Kindle edition; 384 pages.  
Source: ARC from publisher via NetGalley.
Challenge: Debut author challenge.

Nikki Beckett has returned after disappearing six months earlier.  She wasn’t really strung out or in rehab, she was in the Everneath for one hundred years, partaking in the Feed.  At a desperate moment, Nikki offered herself to Cole, an immortal being that must drain a human of energy every 100 years in order to sustain life.  To everyone’s surprise, however, Nikki didn’t waste away in the Feed.  She remembered her life, she remembered Jack, and she decided to return to her old life to see him and make amends with friends and family with what little time she had left.  Nikki has six months on the surface before the Tunnels come for her, using her as a battery to power the Everneath.  Her only option besides this hell?  To become an Everliving, like Cole, and potentially rule the Everneath as its queen.

Everneath was promised as a retelling of Hades and Persephone, but what resulted was more of a mashup of this myth with that of Orpheus and Eurydice, and some Isis and Osiris thrown in.  More of a nod to, as it were, than a retelling. The interplay of the mythologies was interesting to me.  What could have been a confusing train wreck ended up working surprisingly well.  You could see Nikki identifying with either Persephone or Eurydice, and because the book did not go too in-depth, it was possible to mix Greek and Egyptian mythology in a way that made sense.  The basic concept that all myths are rooted in reality is taken to a more literal level than usual, and I found the world Ashton created in the Everneath to be quite intriguing.

While I enjoyed the mythology created, I had a few issues with the melodramatic tone of Everneath.  Nikki is supposedly drained of all emotions, and will only recover the ability to feel over time on the surface.  While she does become increasingly emotional, I felt the story was rather full of emotion to begin with.  Nikki’s motives were confusing to me.  She seems bent on making amends, and yet she doesn’t want to get too close because she knows it’ll be worse when she leaves again.  She entered the Everneath in a time of extreme emotional strife, and her doubt of Jack was a contributing factor--yet despite her belief that he no longer cares for her, Nikki’s love is so strong that Jack helps her hold on to her life as a human.  I don’t really get this dynamic.  To me, a ‘true love’ connection, one that could literally get you through hell, needs to be one solid enough that you don’t have to doubt your feelings for one another.  Also, I was confused by Nikki’s relationship with her father.  Does he just assume she ran off and was drugged out like everyone else seems to, does she say this is true?  We don’t know.  I guess it’s not odd to me that this may be the rumor of choice, but it is surprising to me that those who knew Nikki would think this of her.  

Despite these personal issues with Everneath, I do see it as a read that will appeal to many.  I did want to hug Brodi Ashton for giving both of her boys brown eyes (NO GREEN EYES HUZZAH), and I thought the smokey cover was gorgeous.  

Likelihood that I'll be back for more: Everneath wasn’t bad, but I don’t think it’s the series for me.  

Recommended for:  It’s funny, I’d say people who liked Fury, but I kinda feel like either you really like Fury, or you really like Everneath.  Haven’t seen a ton of crossover from people who enjoyed both (and I was a Fury fan).  Nonetheless, a good option for mythologeeks, and paranormal romance peeps.

Real life repercussions of reading this book:  I got really annoyed at the overuse of the word ‘niggling’.  I’d never even seen this word before, but apparently it’s completely replaced ‘nagging’ in Ashton’s vocabulary.  Kinda made me want to punch babies by the end.

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