Everneath, Book 2
Author: Brodi Ashton
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: January 22, 2013
Source: Publisher for review
Description from Goodreads:
Nikki Beckett could only watch as her boyfriend, Jack, sacrificed himself to save her, taking her place in the Tunnels of the Everneath for eternity — a debt that should’ve been hers. She’s living a borrowed life, and she doesn’t know what to do with the guilt. And every night Jack appears in her dreams, lost and confused and wasting away.
Desperate for answers, Nikki turns to Cole, the immortal bad boy who wants to make her his queen — and the one person least likely to help. But his heart has been touched by everything about Nikki, and he agrees to assist her in the only way he can: by taking her to the Everneath himself.
Nikki and Cole descend into the Everneath, only to discover that their journey will be more difficult than they’d anticipated — and more deadly. But Nikki vows to stop at nothing to save Jack — even if it means making an incredible sacrifice of her own.
In this enthralling sequel to Everneath, Brodi Ashton tests the bonds of destiny and explores the lengths we’ll go to for the ones we love.
Series Up to This Book:
1: Everneath (review|Goodreads)
First Sentence: "Ancient Greeks called it the Underworld or Hades."
Take note that I'm assuming you intrepid review readers have already read Everneath or have no fear of spoilers for that book. As you know, at the end of book one, Jack went to the Tunnels instead of Nikki. This leaves her on the surface miserable and hated by the town for being the last person to have seen the missing golden boy. Given Jack and Nikki's incredibly strong connection and her guilt over his sacrifice, she will literally stop at nothing to get him back.
The first few chapters are a bit slow, but everything speeds up with the arrival of Cole back in town. Basically, Everneath alternated between awesome Everneath bits and flashbacks. In this installment, the flashbacks are greatly reduced and the plot has sustained forward momentum. While I did enjoy the flashbacks in the last book, they work to much greater effect here, and keep the reader from being thrown out of the present moment. The more linear storytelling fits this story perfectly.
Going into Everbound, I hoped to learn more about the Everneath and that is precisely what Ashton delivers. Her world building continues to be entirely excellent. Her fantasy world references so many different classic stories, mostly mythological in origin, though I felt some distinct shades of Alice in Wonderland in places, but still manages to be something entirely new and magical. I have some theories that I cannot wait to find out the correctness of in the next installment, particularly about Shades.
If you dread love triangles, have no fear because this one is awesome, and Ashton really doesn't rub it in your face. The feelings involved are complex, but Nikki knows what she's doing. She never questions herself or her actions, even though the reader does sometimes; her goals are set, and I love her dedication. Though I've never personally had a connection to Jack, I admire Nikki for not being the sort to be easily swayed, especially since it makes their love so much more believable.
Two things made Everbound absolutely incredible. The first is that, as they journey through the Everneath in an attempt to rescue Jack from the Tunnels, Ashton really digs in and develops Cole's character. He spends much of his time on the periphery of Everneath, remaining largely a mysterious figure, but here we get a much closer look at the real Cole. Getting to learn some of his past and try to parse his precise feelings for Nikki will keep you intrigued and unsure all the way through.
The second thing is the ending. As soon as I finished reading, I immediately had to message a friend to discuss what happened, because shit gets real. The ending totally caught me off guard and fits the story completely perfectly. I didn't see it coming, but as soon as it happened, I knew that it was precisely what needed to happen. Ashton brings various plot threads together to weave a gorgeous tapestry and to deftly set up the next book in the series.
Whether you loved Everneath or were on the fence, I urge you to give Everbound a try, because Ashton's work is just getting better. I have a lot of faith that the next book will be even more astounding, and I only wish I did not have to wait another year to read it.
Rating: 4.5/5 - for that ending!
"'Whatever you think of me, I was honest with you. Just because you want to live the mortal life doesn't mean that my path is any less moral.'
'You feed off of people,' I said.
'But it's their choice.'
'You sacrifice humans.'
'But it's their choice.'"