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Hello readers! It's that time again! I'm stepping away from dragons, the undead, and assassins for a little while. For this week, and the next couple of weeks I pop up, I am going to talk about Brodi Ashton's EVERNEATH trilogy. This year, this beautiful Hades and Persephone retelling is complete, and it is one not to be missed. The weird Spring-ish/still Wintery weather totally has me into these books again.
This is another lucky dress cover trilogy. They are all so pretty and smoky! The contrast between the red dress and the smoke swirling around is dramatic and eye grabbing, and remains the theme for these books. I especially love how the dress is turning into smoke at some points. Love it!
Fun fact: Brodi Ashton sees things in the smoke of her book covers.
"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."
Nikki's story begins as she is released from a deadly Everneath ritual called the Feed. Mortals usually don't survive the Feed - but here she is, alive. Confused and emotionally drained, she returns home, to find out that months have passed since she left. The world kept moving along without her, and without knowing the horrors of the Everneath even exist.
Now she's back, and cannot tell anyone about the Everneath. She would just seem crazy, and who knows what the Everlivings (the immortals) would do to her if they found out that she told anyone about them and their world. Nikki's father blames her disappearance and now her differences on drugs, and poor Nikki has to deal with the pity and attitudes of her classmates and peers that come from that accusation. She picks up knitting (yay!), and her dad makes her do community service.
Along with the pressures of being viewed by everyone as a recovering drug addict, Nikki has another problem. Cole is back to warn her about the fun catch in their little deal - nobody escapes the Tunnels. The Tunnels are the place the Everlivings take mortals, then called Forfeits, to feed on. They are guarded by creepy things called Shades, that kind of reminded me of Dementors from the Harry Potter series. The Shades have a way of finding those who escape. They're onto her, and there are only a few months before they take her back again.
Cole wants her to return as a queen with him, but Nikki just wants to live normally until... until whatever happens when the Shades come for her. Cole sticks around, but Nikki fights to ignore him and keep him away from her friends and family. She continues to do normal things, try to redeem herself to her father, try to patch things up with her old boyfriend Jack, but the Everneath is ever-present in so many ways. In her mind, through Cole and his lurking around, and in her dreams and memories.
Then one day, one normal human day during a normal human event, Nikki stumbles onto some information that she really shouldn't have. Information that could help her break away from the Everneath and stay in the mortal world. Can she find out how to before her time is up? Or will the Everneath get to her before she can find out what it is and how to do it? Will Cole stop her? Find out!
I think my favorite part of this story is Nikki herself. Nikki is special, but she is a very peculiar special. She survived the Everneath. But other than that, she is a completely normal human teenage girl. I found that as I reread this book, I really like how Ashton wove an entire story around just how normal and human this girl is, and how normal she just wants to remain. I missed it on my first read through, and I'll admit that I wasn't completely in love with this book. At parts, it seemed a bit dry. I really liked (and still like) the world and how deep it seems, especially with the knowledge of the Everneath. However, I wasn't in a rush to read the next book. Then I read the pretty epic novella, NEVERFALL. Wow.
NEVERFALL is written in Cole's perspective, and happens in between EVERNEATH and its sequel, EVERBOUND. This novella made me realize that there is a lot more going on in this trilogy, and it is going to get good!
After the events that take place in EVERNEATH, Cole sets out to do some soul searching. Sounds funny for a character like Cole. Really, he's onto something. Something about Nikki and how she survived the Feed. And he is in a world of trouble for finding this information, possibly even more so than Nikki herself. NEVERFALL gets really intense, very quickly. It also gives a lot of insight into the immortal world, and almost humanizes Cole. Almost. It is totally worth it to read this novella with the trilogy.
However, I would absolutely recommend reading EVERNEATH first, then diving straight into NEVERFALL. This is a pairing of novel and novella done exceptionally well.
That's all today! I'll be back next time to talk about EVERBOUND, as well as here and there on some other fun things. Happy reading!
*This review is an HONEST representation of my personal thoughts and feelings of this work. EVERNEATH and NEVERFALL were purchased by me, and this review was not prompted nor paid for by any individual or group.
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