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.
All the words are underlined and I have no idea why. Eh. Screw it.
So I should start off this review by saying that I'm not a huge fan of paranormal romance, nor love triangles. I never got into Twilight and I generally skip over the PR-saturated section of the YA market. For me, EVERNEATH was the exception. I immediately identified with the protagonist, Nikki, who is a breath of fresh air in her lack of Mary-Sue-ness. She's not perfect, but she has enough interesting qualities to make her jump off the page. I also found her relationship with her family very interesting.
When it comes to plot, EVERNEATH takes the well-known myth of Persephone and puts a modern spin on it. Ashton manages to combine both Greek and Egyptian mythology into a single story arc...I loved the references to myths and historical events, since these connections really helped drive the book home for me. The idea that a modern girl might someday take the place of Persephone as queen of the underworld - and that Persephone wouldn't like it - made for a fascinating collision between contemporary and ancient literature.
Now for the romance. Once again, I'm not a huge fan of love triangles, but this one worked for me because of the nature of Nikki and Cole's relationship. Nikki and Jack are obviously in love, or at least in like (I'm kind of a cynic when it comes to teen romance). With many paranormal YA stories, the heroine is in love with two guys who each personify different attractive qualities, and she spends a great deal of time angsting over her choice. This is why I hate love triangles....they make the protagonist sound whiny and unlikable. "OMGZZZ, two amazing guys are in love with me and will do anything to have me! My life sucks! Whatever shall I do?" And I'm like, "Yeah, your life is pretty damn hard. Get over it." With EVERNEATH, Nikki obviously likes Jack. They have a wonderful and healthy relationship (hard to find in YA). But she's simultaneously drawn to Cole (semi-spoiler...revealed during the book's prologue) due to the teensy fact that they spent a century as a single being, sharing thoughts and memories as he fed off her. Kind of hard to top that when it comes to personal connection. I empathized with Nikki...she doesn't want to care about Cole, but she can't help it.
My one issue had to do with the ending, and honestly, it's simply because I don't like cliffhangers. I prefer books that stand on their own feet, so to speak. EVERNEATH ends on a big cliffhanger....if cliffhangers are your thing, you'll love it.
EVERNEATH was truly a pleasure to read. I loved the story, the characters, and the romance, and I recommend to all readers who enjoy a fast-paced YA novel. Eagerly awaiting Book 2.