12 February 2013

Everneath by Brodi Ashton

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 ; 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.

My first question with this book was, "What is it with stalker guys and windows?!"  Because seriously, how many times am I going to have to read about borderline stalker guys climbing in through windows before it gets old?  That question really sums up my experience with Everneath: there are archetypes and then there are stereotypes and I felt that this book was chockfull of the latter.  I found it uninteresting and lacking in cleverness and intrigue.  Really, it was just disappointing.

Firstly, I didn't understand the appeal of the myth this novel was based on.  The myth of Hades and Persephone is about kidnapping and imprisonment.  There was nothing romantic about the myth, and I searched and failed to find the romantic passion in Everneath.

I might've been able to see past my skepticism of the myth if Nikki had been a character that was capable of carrying a story well.  She came off as vastly transparent and shallow because her motivations weren't made clear, or were stated after the fact.  For example, she returned to the surface to say her goodbyes... but just not to her family.  She had a younger brother who was almost never mentioned, which I didn't like at all.  She returned for her ex-boyfriend.  That was just pitiful.  She also never did anything surprising.  She was more like a mannequin or wind up toy, constantly fluctuating between doing something dim-witted and doing nothing at all.  I just didn't get her at all, and it made it really difficult to get into the story while having to mentally spar around Nikki.

Another roadblock for me was the supposed romance.  I knew that there was supposed to be something building up between Nikki and Cole (the creeper in aisle five who likes to climb through windows uninvited) but there was also the reconstruction of the demolished attraction between Nikki and her ex-beau, Jack.  I didn't understand the purpose behind either relationship.  Cole's main tactic to convince Nikki to come back to Everneath with him was blatant manipulation and overenthusiastic brooding.  Jack was supposed to be sweet; the picturesque devastated ex-boyfriend.  Sorry.  Couldn't find the appeal in either guy.

The story itself I thought was sloppy.  It lacked a cleverness, an intrigue, a constant unasked question.  When I picked it up, I was expecting a plot that would wrangle the main character into a corner until a tiny loophole was exposed or she fought her way out.  Something that would have me cheering or going "oh snap."  No such luck here.  It focused mostly on "unraveling" the "mystery" behind the reason Nikki got to the Everneath with a little bit of "my best friend loves my boyfriend" drama.  Frankly, it was boring.  There was nothing interesting or compelling to keep me going.

The writing was very disappointing.  Definitely more of a first draft quality than a polished final edition.  A lot of telling, nowhere near enough showing.  I was frustrated most of the time because the writing was too simplistic in all the wrong ways.

Overall, Everneath just wasn't for me.  There was too much brooding, too much unnecessary drama, too much of sneaking through windows and convenient misunderstandings.  I only got about 3/4th of the way through it -- I couldn't even bring myself to finish it because I'd lost all interest.

Book Info
  • pages - hardcover, 370
  • published - January 2012
  • publisher - HarperCollins
  • genre - mythology
  • received via - library
  • rating - 2/5
  • series - Everneath
    • Everneath
    • Everbound
    • Evertrue