Series: Everneath #3
Published by Balzer + Bray on January 21st, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Young Adult
Now that Nikki has rescued Jack, all she wants is to be with him and graduate high school. But Cole tricked Nikki into feeding off him, and she’s begun the process of turning into an Everliving herself... which means she must feed on a Forfeit soon — or die.
Terrified for her survival, Nikki and Jack begin a desperate attempt to reverse the process using any means possible. Even Cole, who they expected to fight them at every turn, has become an unlikely ally — but how long can it last? Nikki needs to feed on Cole to survive, Cole needs Nikki to gain the throne in the Everneath, Jack needs Nikki because she is everything to him — and together, they must travel back to the Underworld to undo Nikki’s fate and make her mortal once more. But Cole isn’t the only one with plans for Nikki: the Queen has not forgotten Nikki’s treachery, and she wants her destroyed for good. Will Nikki be forced to spend eternity in the Underworld, or does she have what it takes to bring down the Everneath once and for all?
In this stunning conclusion to the Everneath trilogy, Brodi Ashton evokes the resiliency of the human spirit and the indomitable power of true love.
Almost a full year I have been suffering the desperate longing for this book, after Everbound tore out my heart and smashed it into pieces with its killer cliffhanger. I managed to get my hands on an ARC and had to read it right away. There was no other option. Then, save for the first 60 pages, I read it in one sitting. It was a pageturner, so at first thought I really liked it. However, the more I thought about it, the more things I thought of that just didn’t really work for me. In the end, I’m settling at 3 oranges, though I can imagine that this book will be extremely divisive for other readers.
It took no time at all to be absorbed by the world of the Everneath and its characters once again. Even though it had been almost a year, I could still remember rather perfectly what transpired beforehand, which is odd considering my memory. But I feel a fierce bond with these characters. It still surprises me. Nikki is not typically a character I would like: she’s not particularly strong, she’s almost recklessly self-sacrificing, and she has quite a bit of angst. But her whole personality is so supported by the events in the story that it makes her a very endearing character. I just always find it very interesting to hear her narrations.
Like the other two books, this is an absolute page turner. I could not put it down. Nay, I only set it down once to celebrate New Years, and for the rest I read it in one sitting. It’s not exactly action packed, and some have complained about the middle being slow, but all throughout the book I just had this fierce longing to figure out what was going to happen. There was this suspenseful undertone to the story that drove me to just have to finish it immediately. And I think Ashton’s writing style also helps with this: it’s absolutely engrossing.
So where we left off in Everbound, Nikki was betrayed by Cole and started transitioning into an Everliving, so she decided to try to destroy the world. So, obviously we find out more about the world of the Everneath and the myths that hold it there. Of the three books, however, this was when the worldbuilding got a bit iffy for me. The method to destroying the Everneath just wasn’t as carefully constructed as the mythological elements in the previous books. It felt a bit drawn out of thin air. It was too convenient. Too easy. It was still interesting to read about, and I enjoyed reading about it, but I did have moments where I was just questioning… “Why?” However, I liked how in this part of the story, Nikki really developed and started showing her strength and independence. And I loved how she started mending her friendship with Jules. That was high time.
As for the love triangle… I’m going to try to keep this spoiler free. Throughout the series, I have grown to like Jack more than at the beginning, but his absence in the second book still make him a bit too distant for me. His relationship with Nikki is also just so… sappy. At times it was boring. If anything, this book made me realize that I do love Cole much more – at least as a character, though perhaps not as Nikki’s soul mate. Cole has so much depth and mystery, that when I get to read about him I just want to know more. I also really love the chemistry between him and Nikki. So. There’s that. This love triangle is one of the best I have encountered in YA, because the two male leads are so distinctly different, and the plot truly drives the love story as well.
However, that being said… I think this book was a bit unfair to the resolution to the love triangle. One of the characters is more or less thrown under a bus, which kind of made sense at the time I was reading it, but upon reflection begs the question, “Why?” Honestly, it kind of feels like the author thought, “Well, he’s going to get in the way of the plot like this – we can’t have that. So let’s finish this quickly. And give him a bit of a personality change in the meantime. Nevermind how it doesn’t make sense. Plot goes first. Readers love him? Yeah, so what.” As you might be able to tell, I’m a bit bitter about this.
The ending, to me, was extremely bittersweet. And more bitter than sweet. Actually, fuck that, it was bitter as hell. I’m not going to lie. I was sad. I still am sad. It was a solid ending, and I think it tied up all the loose strings well. It had a last shocking plot twist, which truly is one of Brodi Ashton’s fortes. It was well constructed, given the way that the plot ended up going, and it made sense, but… I am sad. Not really angry. But… sad. I can’t even say much more than that without spoiling it. I’m trying to think if I could devise an ending that would have pleased me more, but… I can’t. The ultimate direction this book took just didn’t work for me. But again, this is all my reflections a couple days after finishing it. While I was reading, none of this occurred to me. Which makes it quite an odd reading experience.
Summing Up:As you can see, I didn’t give the highest rating to this book, while I did like it. I really enjoyed it while I was reading it, which is why I read it in one sitting, and I was truly anxious to get to the end. But thinking back, there are some things that I thought could have been better, should have been changed, or just didn’t really have a spark. The ending, leaving me in such a sad mood also contributes. I wish a certain character wasn’t shoved in front of a bus. The story was reasonably well constructed and made sense (aside from those few worldbuilding issues), but I can’t help but wish it was different. It wasn’t exactly the ending I was hoping for.
However, I adore Brodi Ashton’s characterizations, writing style, and killer plot twists. I’m really happy I got to experience her debut series, and I’m very excited to check out what she comes up with next.