Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Everbound by Brodi Ashton

Everbound by Brodi Ashton

Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release: January 22, 2013
Source: Library
Others in the Series: Everneath and Evertrue
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.

In this enthralling sequel to Everneath, Brodi Ashton tests the bonds of destiny and explores the lengths we’ll go to for the ones we love.
Retellings sneak along a slender line between success and failure, reimagination and regurgitation, intelligence and vapidness. It can be easy, as some YA takes on classics prove, to modernize a well-known tale, placing the plot in a current era and altering nothing else, but this approach generally does not make for the best book. I want to see concepts cut up and stitched back together, storylines used as starters rather than outlines, and characters changed to fit the newer author's creative impulses. Brodi Ashton's breathtaking trilogy, a retelling of the Hades and Persephone myth, takes the latter approach, using ideas from the ancient story, but developing a plot and characters all its own.

Everbound differentiates itself from its mother myth through its romantic subplot, an edition that the author develops richly, allowing it to drive but not overtake the main story.

Nikki's relationship with Jack is as spellbinding as this book's more mystical aspects. It is mature and intense, and I do not mean in a purely sexy way. Their feelings for each other run more deeply than I am accustomed to seeing in YA, which makes the protagonist's "sacrifice myself for my boyfriend" thought process passionate rather than melodramatic. The main couple's emotional bond makes the suffering they endure to help each other survive the Everneath seem plausible, and readers come to understand and accept why each member of the couple will do anything for the other.

Perfectly paced flashbacks make this connection possible as they push through Everbound's main sequence of events. Rewinding to a more normal time allows readers to see the memories—some happy, some bittersweet—that bonded Nikki and Jack in the first place, which gives meaning to the main character's quest to save the love of her life. She is not risking everything for just anyone; she is risking everything for someone who helped her through the best and the worst of times, and this filling makes their aforementioned intensity come to life.

Theirs is a connection so strong that nothing could break it. Nothing, that is, aside from death. This brings me to the other aspect in which Everbound excels, its wild ride of a plot with stakes scraping the ceiling. The adventures of Jack and Nikki fuel a plot so erratic that readers will be sucked into their world like a Forfeit into the Everneath, but with a much more pleasant outcome. The manhunt set in a deadly labyrinth is literally full of twists and turns with danger and thrill lurking around each one, and the threat of Jack's imminent demise places an urgency on every moment. With each unexpected shock and tense situation, Ashton puts her own mark on Persephone's ancient story, making this sequel a satisfyingly original edition to her borrowed tale.

To top it all off, all of this book's false leads knot at the end into a conclusion that leaves readers craving the next book. Perfect for suspense and romance addicts, Everbound ends just as powerfully as the rest of the story, creating a fierce final chapter that leaves heaps of unresolved questions and romantic tension. Upon finishing Everbound, readers will be willing to trade their souls for a copy of the series's final installment.

2 comments:

  1. This looks awesome, and what a great review! :) The cover is very pretty too! xx

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  2. Your comments on my reviews (the one on Alienated made me smile) are always so great, although even that word seems so inadequate, and I never feel like I contribute much in comments. There's not much for me to say except that I amen'd the heck out of your review. Everbound was FANTASTIC and I desperately want to read the final installment, but am terrified as well.

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