Thursday, January 19, 2012


I apologize that I still present reviews on Paranormal Romances for your consideration in a market inundated with it, but the concept was intriguing enough to arrest my attention. If you are looking for top-quality fiction and your reading time is limited, skip this one, but if you are a fast reader craving quantity as well as quality, Everneath is not a bad choice. A young adult debut novel by Brodi Ashton, Everneath seems to be a stand-alone novel for once.

Nikki is a Forfeit. Because of unbearable pain in her life, she willingly chose to go with an Everliving to the Underworld for him to Feed off her soul for one hundred years. Now she has six months to say good-bye on the Surface, where time passes differently than in the Underworld, before she has to return for good. How do you say good-bye to the boy whose face kept you sane for one hundred years? And how do you resist a charming Everliving who wants you to be his queen at the price of your soul, especially when your only other alternative is to go to the Tunnels where the Shades will Feed off the remainder of your emotions until you are nothing?

There's a bit of teenage angst in this novel, but Nikki surprised me in some ways. Her dad thinks she's been in rehab for the past half year (all the time that's passed on the Surface), so he puts special demands on her when she returns. Nikki bears them all patiently in her desire to leave her family with good memories. Of course, she can't tell them the truth because who would believe her? If you don't like martyrs or people who keep themselves closed off from others, you won't like Nikki. But I think she might grow on you, especially when she attempts to fight her circumstances to the best of her ability. Her actions are realistic in light of the story.

I was also surprised to find this book to be fairly clean. For one hundred years, Nikki is entwined with the Everliving Cole, but there doesn't seem to be anything sexual about it. I did not like that Nikki's boyfriend on the Surface seems to have slept with quite a few girls and even seems to put a little pressure on Nikki at one point. He's supposed to be this nice boy she was friends with for years before he asked to be her boyfriend, and even though he and Nikki don't have sex, his image was tainted for me. Aside from that, he's the boy you want her to end up with.

I'm glad that the book doesn't play with the love triangle much. Nikki always recognizes that Cole is bad, or at least that he's manipulating her emotions, no matter how nice he is to her. For once, the human girl doesn't long for, or end up, with the paranormal being! So, I don't know if this would technically be considered Paranormal Romance, but that's about the closest thing it resembles, I think.

I do have to comment on the end of the book, though I will try not to spoil much. I didn't particularly like it. It's rather sad and a little mumbo-jumbo-ish. It implies the future could be better with this vague hopefulness. So, be prepared for that. Perhaps it's like that to leave room for a sequel, but I don't think so. Except for that, the book felt complete to me. I don't know where the author could go from there. It's nice to read a stand-alone young adult novel for once, not one meant to be a series, but it's annoying that the book had to substitute another modern story problem: the less-than-happy ending. I like a little tragedy in a story now and then, preferably in short stories. If I spend the time to read through a whole book, I'd rather have it be rewarded with something more satisfying.

Still, this story is interesting enough that if you are looking for quantity, as I said before, this isn't a bad one to put on your list of books to read. It makes no attempt to conceal the fact that's it's somewhat influenced by the story of Hades and Persephone, but it distinguishes itself, too.

Everneath is available this month. Three stars.

ADDENDUM: I read somewhere that this might be a series. Though that would make the ending better, I'm a little disappointed. Honestly, I don't know where the series would go from here. There's not enough at the end to interest me in reading more.

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