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Customer Review

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Debut Novel, March 12, 2012
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This review is from: Everneath (Hardcover)
***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS***

About a year ago Nikki Beckett lost her mom to a drunk driver and the one person that helped her get through was her friend Jack, the boy she's been in love with what seems like forever. And when that friend becomes her boyfriend it seems too good to be true. But when she hears girls in her school talking about how he'll tire of her soon, her insecurities start to get the best of her. It doesn't help that she's the mayors daughter and faced with constant news of the court proceedings concerning the man who killed her mother. When she meets Cole, a famous musician with a talent for taking away pain, she finds herself first tempted then addicted. And when her mother's killer goes free and she has a falling out with Jack it's Cole that she turns too, Cole that promises to take away the pain but who warns her if she makes this choice she can never go back. Nikki finds herself whisked away to Everneath, a world even her worst nightmares didn't believe existed. There she's part of the feed, a century long cocoon where Cole takes first her pain, then all her emotions, her memories and even her personality. It is the memory of Jack that gets her through, even when she can't remember his name but only his face, he is the one thing she can't let go of. Miraculously she survives, something rarely done. Cole tells her she can become one of them an Everling but all Nikki wants is to go home to the boy that kept her alive. She has six months with her family, her friends and Jack before Everworld will reclaim her to the tunnels to feed their world until she no longer exists. Six month in which Cody plans to change her mind, to make her one of the Everyling, their queen. Six month to remember who she was, make amend and say good-bye. But is six month really enough? And was coming back really the right thing to do or has she just made it worse for everyone she crushed the first time?

If you're looking for a book that remind you that in fiction people get their happy endings, the good guy always win and true love is always united in the end, then this is NOT the book for you. To be honest this book is more like a three and a half stars than a three, but it left me feeling a little defeated and a lot depressed because even if it only exists in the pages of fiction I personally like to think that some place there is a happily ever after where true love lasts forever and once found can never be wrought asunder. I couldn't have found a more opposite tale than if I'd tried. Everneath is a first person narrative, that in the way it's told through flash back and current scenes is probably a more accurate portrayal of the mind the Nikki's described as having than if it had been told any other way. Nikki served as food to the Everlings for a century in their realm, which was the equivalent of about six months in ours. During that time her feelings, her memories and her personality were all but stripped from her. The only thing that kept her alive was her memory of Jack, the boy she'd been in love with since childhood. So when she survives and returns for a final six months on earth before she's taken to Everneath forever, it's kind of like each flash back is a little bit of Nikki coming back to herself. The book maintains a current narrative intertwined with a past one, the story of how Nikki came to Everneath and the life she had before. While I wouldn't say it was filled with action scenes, I would say the book employs a quick pace and it's the emotion of this character that drive you to keep turning each page. At first the story is a little disjointed because of the double first person narrative, but as you slide into the rhythm of it, you're hooked and completely lost in the saga of Nikki Beckett's life. Though Urban Fantasy or Paranormal books in the young adult genre are kind of the thing right now, I feel Ashton has presented a very original idea along with a distinct voice to tell it with. The foreshadowing in the novel was a bit strong, making some sections more predictable, like I knew who the mysterious homeless woman was shortly after meeting her and even though I was praying I was wrong, I knew how this story would end before it did, but the journey toward getting there was none the less enjoyable, or maybe I should say depressing because I certainly wouldn't call this book chipper. The book was lacking a little detail, and might have been enhanced by a clear picture and more detail of the mythology behind the Everlings, it made up for these faults in characterization, originality and pacing.

Because this is a first person narrative it's no surprise to find a well developed main character, but what makes this one stand out is that in a way she's not just one person, she's two. You meet the girl she was before the Everlings, before Cole and meet the girl who's survived and is trying to pick up the pieces of her life. And while the past Nikki is a little less developed than the current Nikki both turn out of be very well rounded version of the character. Additionally Ashton has talent to create some well developed secondary characters as well. You get a little insight into Cole though he is colored with Nikki's opinions, he's not everything on the surface. And Jack is of course everyone's dream boyfriend, even though he isn't her boyfriend. There's attempts made at developing other characters as well, but compared to Jack and Cole they fall considerable short in development. But what's interesting here in the characters it that even though the story is told through Nikki's eyes it's not just her emotions that pull you in until you're drowning in them, it's also Jacks and in a little way Cole's. If nothing else this characters know how to make you feel for them.

Overall I'd definitely recommend Ashton's debut novel, that is if you don't mind grabbing a box of tissues and feeling a little sad when it ends. Goodreads promises there will be a sequel and they better be right because I want more for these characters than is given to them in this emotional tale. If you're looking for a paranormal tale that will make you feel something and wrench your tightly held emotions from your chest, this is the book you're looking for. If you're not happy unless that story makes you buoyant at the end, then this may not be the book for you.
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Location: Bath, NY United States

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