Rummanah Aasi
 Everneath by Brodi Ashton was my favorite paranormal romance read and one of my favorite debuts from 2012. While weaving familiar Greek myths into its overall plot arc, it brought a refreshing story to a genre that is usually filled with cookie-cutter character and plots. I have been looking forward to reading Everbound as soon as I finished the last page of Everneath and thankfully, it did not disappoint. Please be aware that Everbound has spoilers from the ending of Everneath but no spoilers from Everbound. Read at your own risk.  

Description (from Goodreads): Nikki Beckett could only watch as her boyfriend, Jack, sacrificed himself to save her, taking her place in the Tunnels of the Everneath for eternity — a debt that should’ve been hers. She’s living a borrowed life, and she doesn’t know what to do with the guilt. And every night Jack appears in her dreams, lost and confused and wasting away.
   Desperate for answers, Nikki turns to Cole, the immortal bad boy who wants to make her his queen — and the one person least likely to help. But his heart has been touched by everything about Nikki, and he agrees to assist her in the only way he can: by taking her to the Everneath himself.
  Nikki and Cole descend into the Everneath, only to discover that their journey will be more difficult than they’d anticipated — and more deadly. But Nikki vows to stop at nothing to save Jack — even if it means making an incredible sacrifice of her own.

Review:  On a very rare occasion the second book in a series, generally a trilogy, surpasses the first book. Everbound is an excellent example of this. The book picks up a short time after Everneath finishes and moves the story to its suspenseful climax. Everbound doges the pitfalls of middle book syndrome effortlessly and reassure its readers that they are in for an enthralling read. Ashton hones her skills as a writer. The story line is more focused and the flashbacks used in the story are integrated and allow to show relationship development while moving the plot along, but most importantly there is significant and evident character growth and relationships are solidified . Although the plot of Everbound is very simple, but it isn't under any circumstances boring. I was sucked in right away from the beginning and could not put the book down.
  Once again I found the incorporation of mythological ideas and metaphors that play a substantial role in the story to be absolutely captivating. Our return to the Everneath is vividly brought to life as we get to visit the actual realms of the Underworld and witness first hand of its dangerous allure. The world-building, albeit still unfinished in places, is completely original and I'm very excited to see it complete in the final installment.
  Nikki proves to be an admirable character. Though wrecked with guilt over Jack's current fate, she allows her time to wallow, but is soon spurred to action to save him rather than mope and circle into a fetal position. Her fidelity and feelings for Jack are true and drives her to take action. I absolutely loved how Ashton took advantage of flashbacks and memories to not only get us glimpses of Jack but further show how Nikki and Jack's relationship developed over time. I thought this approach to be refreshing instead of just telling the reader how much they loved one another.
  As I mentioned, Jack isn't fully present in the story as much as we like, but his absence allows us to see how Cole and Nikki interact with each other. Some readers have mentioned that there is a love triangle in this trilogy but I would argue there really isn't one. Nikki is very much decided on Jack, but it's difficult to ignore Cole’s role in the plot and his apparent feelings for Nikki. Though Jack’s presence is realized in dreams, Everbound essentially gives us an opportunity for Cole and Nikki to draw closer together. Cole is a still a character that is hard to define. Intriguing, enigmatic, alluring, and dangerous, Cole is brilliantly developed. He manipulates emotions, those of Nikki and of us as readers, to make us see him in different lights.
 Everbound nicely plays on the heartstrings. We have several heartbreakingly emotional scenes give the romantic plot some appropriate substance, as do a few cheerier flashbacks. We know that Nikki's goal seems impossible, but we can't help but root for her. Her passion and determination are genuine. Just when we think there may be a happily ever after on the horizon for our hero and heroine, a cliffhanger ending- so perfectly shocking that me wonder how I completely overlooked the steps that lead to it- temporarily closes our story. Without a doubt, I am anxiously waiting for the final book to come out.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language, underage drinking, and some disturbing images. Recommended for strong Grades 8 readers and up.

If you like this book try: Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman, Abandon by Meg Cabot, Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
9 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    YEAH RUMMANAH!!! I completely agree, I loved this one more than the first as well:) I'm with you on the love triangle too, I didn't feel like this is one at all, as Nikki has no romantic feelings for Cole. Are they uniquely connected? Yes, but her heart is Jack's and Jack's alone:) And that ending? I DID NOT SEE IT COMING, but I feel like I should have. Oh Cole, so many layers to you:)


  2. I do need to read this book. Especially b/c you say it's better than the first. I'm much more of a Cole fan. Too bad she's so set on Jack.


  3. Annette Says:

    I haven't read either of these. I love the covers. A student just returned the first one and said she really liked it, so that makes me want to read it even more....Great review!


  4. There HAVE been a few sequels lately that were much better than their predecessor (Through the Ever Night, for one) and I'm glad this is a shiny example of this as well.
    I haven't read book one, but my bestie Lisa did and she liked it a lot! I have it on audio which means I'll probably be reading it soon.
    Thanks for the lovely review.


  5. Sam Says:

    Great review, Rummanah! I completely agree with you about this one. I also thought it was slightly better than the first book, which is a rare occurrence with middle books of trilogies. It was nice to see a main character actually decided on a love interest for a change. I can't wait to see what happens next! :)


  6. Candace Says:

    I actually didn't love the first book so I haven't been sure if I would read this one. Since you liked it so much and it avoided the middle book syndrome I may have to squeeze it in and give it a chance. I'm so glad you loved it!


  7. I still haven't read book one. I know this must be good if you loved book one and book two is better, I know you aren't always the biggest fan of YA so I am definitely giving this a go. I have heard great things about this series and Veronica Rossis' books. Wonderful review!


  8. I totally forgot all about this one in my virtual TBR pile :) I'm so glad that this one doesn't fall prey to sequel syndrome and that even though Jack isn't present much, we get to see glimpses of him through flashbacks. I think they really helped in showing (rather than telling) that Nikki and Jack loved each other in Everneath.


  9. Lauren Says:

    I really enjoyed Everneath and am thrilled to hear that the sequel is better than book one! It's very rare that a second book surpasses its predecessor, but it's happened with a few series lately for me (Through the Ever Night, Scarlet, Prodigy). Happy to add another of these to my list! Fabulous review :-)


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