EVERNEATH (Everneath #1)
Paranormal Young Adult
Available January 24th
Received from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being 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 months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.
As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's 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...
Eerily beautiful and haunting, Everneath is a story that wraps around us like the folds of a blanket, providing us something tangible to which we can hold on tight, but at times we find the edges of what should be comforting pulled so tight it causes our chests to constrict in vicarious pain and our breath to catch, and we are left swaddled in a cocoon formed of love, loss, and sacrifice. Each page turned brings us a little closer to the end of Nikki’s time on the Surface, the soft whisper of paper on paper echoing loudly in our ears as though trumpets were blaring to announce the imminent arrival of her dark fate in the Everneath. The countdown of days left in the present combined with flashes from before the Feed keep us intrigued and on edge, trying to sort through the pieces of a broken life granted a brief period of time in which to repair all damage caused by her abrupt departure. Our trust is fragile in this story, made so by a gloriously muddled before with both Jack and Cole and an exquisitely executed after where everything between the three of them changes, and we hurtle forward at a devastating speed toward an end where past and present meet to create a future never anticipated.
Nikki has been stripped of her emotions thanks to Cole when we first meet her, a shell of a girl driven to drastic actions by the influx of more pain than she’s able to bear. Her decision to Return seems like an obvious and simple one until we see the destruction left in the wake of her unexpected absence, and suddenly we find ourselves wondering as Nikki does if staying in the Everneath might have been more of a gift to those around her than her temporary reappearance to say goodbye. She tries so hard to make things easier for those she loves, but as so often is the case, succeeds in making them more difficult instead. Her story resonates through every fiber of our being, the inexorable ticking of the clock a spectral presence always felt though never seen, and our hearts shatter a little more each page as we draw closer to the moment she’ll disappear forever.
Though the synopsis for this book gives the impression we'll find ourselves in the middle of an all-too familiar love triangle, the reality is a far different, far richer experience that floods us with more emotional intensity than just an attraction to two young men. We understand so little of either Jack or Cole initially, knowing only that Nikki chose a century with Cole willingly after something with Jack drove her to make the decision to do so, and so we read feeling like we are standing outside in a world that’s uncomfortably quiet–ears straining to pick up even the slightest rustle to help us gather information, but the harder we try, the quicker the wind carries those sounds away. Slowly, bit by bit, those whispers find their way back to us though, and the truth of one character is revealed in all its agonizing glory, while the other remains a bit in shadow with only select facets of himself illuminated for our gaze. Both men captivate and intrigue, but one leaves us with a piece of our hearts missing, washed away in a deluge of tears and heartache.
Everneath is a truly outstanding debut, a memorable tale that earns itself a place on that special shelf for books that are destined to have pages crinkled and worn from having been read so many times.