Monday, September 14, 2015

[Review] Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Everneath #1
Published July 24th, 2012 
Balzer + Bray
Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy

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.

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My thoughts:

Warning: This review contains a lot of sarcasm and a bit more than the usual amount of swear words. If you're easily offended by that kind of language maybe you should stay clear of this review. 

This was so not what I was expecting. This series is really popular and I've had the first book on my shelf for what seems like forever, so maybe I've been building up my expectations regarding this book for way too long.

The main problem I had while reading this book was that I spent at least half the time bored out of my mind because nothing was happening and for the life of me I couldn't come up with a single reason for me to care about the characters. The whole ambiance is really depressing and I had to force myself to keep reading in multiple occasions so it just felt like a chore to me. 

The world in this story is supposed to be a mixture between Greek and Egyptian mythology surrounding the Underworld or the Underneath as it's called here. It's kind of complicated and I don't fully understand how everything correlates to those ancient myths, because we only get explanations at the beginning and at the end of the book in a way that feels more like info-dump than true world development. Here's the basics of what I'm able to make out of it: The Underneath is kind of a parallel world where time goes much faster than in the real world, and where the immortal creatures live, the Everliving. But these "people" have found that the only way for them to obtain immortality is by feeding off of the emotions of the mortals. So, from time to time, the Everlivings have to take a Forfeit, which is like a human sacrifice of some sort. Most of the Forfeits die in the process, but a few of them manage to survive having lost most of themselves to the Feed, only if you are absurdly especial, you can manage to escape the Feed with your memories and some essential parts of yourself intact.  The survivors are given 6 months to return to the Surface (the real-contemporary world). When the 6 months are up they are taken back to the Tunnels, which is a part of the Underneath that acts kind of like a power station, where the humans are considered batteries of emotion for the Everlivings.

Nikki, the protagonist of this story, agreed to be taken to the Underneath so she could be free of the pain of her mother's death and the book starts right when she's being released from the Feed for her 6 months on the Surface. She is of course one of those ridiculously especial people who escapes the whole thing a little emotionally battered but otherwise still herself. This rare quality makes her really desirable, and the Everliving who took her as Forfeit, Cole, now wants her to become an Everliving and live with him in the Everneath. But Nikki, despite being emotionally drained, hasn't been able to let go of her former boyfriend, Jack, in all the time she spent in the Everneath, and she's determined to see him again before the Tunnels claim her back. 

First of all, I couldn't believe that after six months of being "away", Nikki's father watched her daughter come home and didn't even asked for an explanation about where she'd been all that time. Even if she left in the middle of a fight between them, you would think her father would've looked for her like a mad man and, of course, he would be relieved of having her back and unharmed, but at least you would think he would be pissed that she left without telling anyone, because that's just how parenting works. But no, he didn't even asked where she'd gone, which turned out to be really convenient since Nikki had no way of explaining it without getting herself committed to a mental health facility or lying her butt off. He is the major, for fuck sake! Someone in his position could have had the town turned inside out while looking for his daughter and at least, for the sake of appearances it's what everyone would've expected of him. But no, of course there's no mention of him actually ever looking for her. But now that she's back he's concerned about what others might think of him, so he makes her do community service because that looks good. WHAT? How does that make any sense!?

Now... Having Nikki drained of any emotion for half the book was a mixture between being completely and utterly depressed and trying to relate to a door at the same time. Yeah, painful and pointless. I could at least tell that she wasn't a terrible human being and was actually trying to do the right thing, but that is not nearly enough to make me care for her. 

Also, the book is written so the story goes back and forth between the present and the past which only confused me further. I think that if this was written in chronological order, maybe I would have had an easier time caring for the characters, but as it was, so convoluted and chopped up, I could barely tell if the plot was actually moving forward or not.

Cole, the Everliving that was trying to get Nikki to go with him to the Everneath, was the most annoying, self-serving bastard. Every girl wants him because he's a sexy musician and always looks so cool... Am I supposed to find sexy that he threatens to harm/kill Nikki's family if she doesn't do what he wants? Isn't it hot that he stalks her everywhere she goes? Am I supposed to believe he has feelings for her when he tries to screw her over every chance he gets so he can have what he wants? I hated him, and every time there was a hint at something happening between him and Nikki I was like: "If she actually falls for him, I'm SO done with this shit!"

Jack, Nikki's boyfriend was an okay dude, kind and patient but nothing especial, so I didn't fall for him either. Which left me with absolutely no characters to actually cheer for.

Overall, this was a huge disappointment. I believe this story had a lot of potential to be great, and that's what kept me reading until the end, but even if the concepts were unique and interesting ones, the execution didn't do justice to the ideas and the end result wasn't anywhere near what could have been. I respect that other people have found this book worth their time, but I would have rather spend my time reading something else. I can't say I'd recommend it, because it's just not my thing and I'm not going to continue this series.



About the author

Brodi Ashton writes Young Adult novels. She lives for chocolate covered cinnamon bears. She loves Diet Coke. Her debut book EVERNEATH (the first in a trilogy) came out January 24, 2012 with Balzer and Bray (HarperCollins). The sequel EVERBOUND came out January 22, 2013 and the final installment, EVERTRUE, came out January of 2014. All three are available in paperback.

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