Monday, February 10, 2014

Review: Everneath

Coming off of the YA high that was Marissa Meyer's Cinder - and what a high that was - I wasn't expecting the next book I read to knock me out of the park, simply due to the inevitable comparisons it would raise. But I was also so impressed by the state of that particular YA universe, that I immediately wanted to get my hands on another novel of the same caliber! Well, because that specific book craving, my prediction came true: despite the fact that it was such a well-loved YA novel - I mean, the clamor I heard from bloggers all around in anticipation for the final installment of its trilogy, Evertrue, back in the final stretch of January couldn't just be discounted, right? - it was a huge letdown for me. No matter how much I tried to psych myself up about it, I just couldn't get into Brodi Ashton's Everneath

Everneath follows the story of Nikki Beckett, a seventeen-year-old girl who is just trying to rebuild her life after having been sucked into the underworld the previous Spring by the darkly alluring Cole. The problem is, Cole wants her back, and at the end of six months, she has to return to Everneath, whether she wants to or not, and the difference between whether she returns of her own volition or not, is the difference between a dark eternity in the Tunnels, or a slighter brighter one, as Cole's queen. But what does that mean for Nikki's family and friends... or the love of her life, Jack?

Honestly, after a while, the book came off as one big over-glorified love triangle, and it didn't even make the distinction of playing outside the typical pattern of how that trope operates. There was Cole, this dark, brooding underworld figure, like Hades Lite, contrasted against the All-American boy Jack, a football player who dates against his mother's orders and gets an eyebrow piercing to show the pain of a broken heart. It was all just a little basic: the good guy, the bad boy, and the girl torn between the two because it's true love versus hot lust. It's not like this territory hasn't been tread before. 

The pacing and general plot also reminded me a lot of how I felt about Beautiful Creatures: kind of like the entire book was just a countdown to this specific event, a whole lot of uncompelling suspense and stalling, with little emotional payoff. There's this six-month period that Nikki has until she has to go back, and that fact is a hard one, stated in the very beginning, so it's basically as if the whole plot has a giant ticking alarm clock hanging over it, that makes what happens between Point A and Point B a little superfluous, because you know that whatever happens, it's really only that specific moment that's going to define the book as a whole. 

However, I'm not saying that the book was bad! The construction was actually quite good; Ashton integrated a really well-done disconnected flow of narrative that managed to maintain interest without becoming disjointed or unmaneuverable. The writing was good, the inspiration behind it - the Greek mythology - was integrated fairly well, and I think the characters - especially Nikki's relationship with her dad and brother - were very well-depicted, emotionally.

All in all, I was pretty disappointed with Everneath, which I thought lacked action, and relied to heavily on tropes of the genre. I thought the romance was a little overdone, but if you're really into that sort of thing, this book may just be a godsend for your shipping fleet. I just don't think it was for me. 

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