Title: Everneath (#1)
Author: Brodi Ashton
Published: January 24, 2012
Series: yes (second installment, 'Everbound' out January 22, 2013)
Amazon Summary: 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.
Why why why did I wait so long to read Everneath?!
I've come across this book so many times and considered it so many times, but for SOME reason (one I cannot recall as of today) I kept on going, "Nah, I don't think I'll read that." I'd read many reviews pointing out the mythological aspects of the book and perhaps that made me uncertain.
But man have I been missing out.
'Everneath' was a poignant, emotion-driven story. I could not put it down. I loved Ashton's lucid writing style and the way scenes started, finished, and followed each other - everything flowed without any dull moments or any choppiness and I was never lost in the storyline.
The idea for 'Everneath' was intriguing and perfectly well-crafted. Usually when it comes to fantasy it can easily get stuffy but 'Everneath' was kept so... clear - simple enough the readers won't have a problem following the story and complex enough to be exciting. And I appreciated Ashton didn't overwhelm the story with mythology, it was kept nice and neat.
I enjoyed the little flashbacks of Nikki's past and what led up to her, willingly, choose to follow Cole to 'Everneath.' I could easily put myself in Nikki's shoes, I emphasized with her. She was so likable and real and it was painful to experience her emptiness, regrets, and acceptance of her fate.
I didn't expect to find a strong connection to Jack, mostly because of the thought of him being some old boyfriend Nikki might pine for back. However, that wasn't the case at all. Nikki kept her distance and hers and Jack's re-connection came incredibly naturally and simply made sense - they just fit together.
Jack ended up having a special place in my heart - he was so believable and realistic and... good. Nothing about him was forced, he was such a completed character.
Though there was definitely something about Cole, as well. Despite having unclear intentions, there was something attractive and intriguing about him and I look forward to learning more and feeling more towards him.