Six months ago, Nikki Beckett disappeared. Some people think she ran away, others think she got caught up in drugs and alcohol. But the truth is that Nikki was sucked into the Everneath, a place where immortals live and feed off the emotions of humans.
She’s been given a chance to return to her life, to her family and friends, so that she can say goodbye, before the Tunnels come for and take her to the Everneath forever.
As time slips away from Nikki, she’s faced with the decision of being claimed by the Tunnels and being forced to feed the immortals, or to live with Cole as his queen. But Nikki can’t seem to say goodbye to Jack, her boyfriend, who still cares about her, despite the fact that she disappeared for six months. As Cole continues to try and persuade her to chose to be a queen, Nikki must chose between eternal despair or losing her soul.
What first attracted me to Everneath was the cover; isn’t it just gorgeous?! After the cover, I was a bit wary of the book, since it seems like the YA genre is littered with people trying to rewrite the Persephone/Hades and the Orpheus/Eurydice myths. Also, this one is told after the protagonist returns from the Underworld, just like Abandon, which I didn’t exactly love.
But unlike Abandon, despite the fact that we don’t see Nikki in the Everneath, I never felt I was missing anything. That’s because Ashton describes quite clearly how despairing it is to be there, and how you’re just there to feed the immortal souls that live and rule the Everneath. Ashton also uses flashbacks to show us how and why Nikki abandoned everything and made the decision to go to the Everneath, in a moment of weakness.
Ashton also shows us how Nikki readjusts back to her, as she is forced to say goodbye before the Tunnels come for her for the last time. Saying goodbye is hard though; Nikki starts to become attached to Jack again, her old boyfriend, even though she knows that she’s going to be leaving soon.
The thing that I loved most about this book was the romance. Cole is sort of the typical broody guy, found in most YA paranormal novels of late, also known as The Edward. I would have preferred more depth to him, since you don’t quite know what makes him tick yet, but he is definitely dangerous to Nikki and made her see and experience things that weren’t there, before he took her to the Everneath.
Now you might assume, like me, that Nikki would fall head over heels in love with Cole, like so many other YA heroines, abandoning all voice of reason, her friends and family, and would ignore the fact that the bad boy really is the bad boy. But that’s not what happens here. Instead, Nikki really does fend off Cole’s advances, which have more to do with his selfish reasons of making Nikki the queen of the Everneath, and less to do with real feelings (or so it seems). She knows Cole is bad news, and when she tells him to get lost, she means it and is not being coy or flirty.
From the description given on the book, I had assumed that Jack would be the second hero, the old boyfriend who doesn’t even stand a chance after Nikki discovers Cole, and that his claim on Nikki’s heart would be used to create fake dramatic tension. But that wasn’t the case. Jack was Nikki’s best friend, well before they starting going out, and so he’s the person she has the hardest time saying goodbye to. There’s real chemistry and history between them, so that when Cole persuades Nikki to go to the Everneath, its a mistake and a misunderstanding.
With all that said, this book isn’t perfect. Nikki’s been away from her family for six months, which was actually a hundred years in Everneath time, but she just comes back and everything between her and her family is pretty much the same. I really wish she would have spent more time connecting with her dad and brother, especially since her mom recently died, but she seems more focused on boy troubles, again, like so many other YA heroins of late. I would have liked to see her adjustment process with her family more, instead of just assuming everything was fine and dandy.
I already mentioned this, but I also wish that Cole’s character was given more depth. There’s a hint near the end that Cole may actually really care for Nikki, but we don’t quite know why or how.
Lastly, the ending was really predictable. As Nikki learns more about Greek myths and legends, there’s a moment when you realise how the book is going to end, so I wish the clue hadn’t been so clunky.
So for that: 4/5.
Thanks for reading,
P.S- This is totally irrelevant to the review, but I just wanted to share that the model on the cover is wearing a real Ellie Saab dress!!
I mean, I knew it was gorgeous, but I didn’t know publishers were putting designer gowns on books.