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 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."- summary from Amazon
I'm very behind on this series. I received ARCs for the first two books but couldn't find the time to fit them into my schedule (and in fact, I gave Everbound to a friend since I hadn't yet read the first book when I got the sequel ARC). Cue a couple months ago and Brodi Ashton comes to Virginia to do a signing with Jodi Meadows and Cynthia Hand. I dig up my copy of Everneath to get it signed and begin reading it on the trip back (I also haven't read Hand's trilogy either but I had grabbed the 2nd book so couldn't start with that). I don't want to say that I became enthralled with the story but it did intrigue me enough to just keep reading to the end.
I loved Ashton's spin on mythology and the Persephone myth here. It was nice too how the book was formatted, going back and forth between present day and the past. Getting more and more of the full story as the book went on. It made for a page-turning read. Nikki is a good protagonist and Ashton did a great job showing off the back-and-forth nature of her life now. Having to come back in after 6 months of being gone and going through the experience of the Everneath obviously takes a toll. She tries to get back into her old life and routine but has to constantly worry about the countdown and leaving everybody again, so it creates this dichotomy within her.
I'm honestly not sure how I feel about the romance and love triangle aspect of the book. Even though it's a big part of it (Nikki remembers herself because of thinking of Jack while in the Everneath), I just didn't feel an attachment to either guy. I don't know if that'll change with reading the sequel, but for right now, the romance aspect felt a bit tacked on and lackluster. Plus, there's the fact of the "true love" Jack and Nikki have, so it just seemed a bit much. It was nice though to get to see them interact before she's taken away as well as after so the reader really gets the full scope of their relationship.
Overall, a promising start to a trilogy and I'm excited to read the sequels!
FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.