Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath. Now she’s returned—to her old life, her family, her boyfriend—before she’s 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 precious months forgetting the Everneath and trying to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack, the person most devastated by her disappearance—and the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s just one problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath in the first place, has followed Nikki home. Cole wants to take over the throne in the underworld and is convinced Nikki is the key to making it happen. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen.
As Nikki’s time on the Surface draws to a close and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she is 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 queen.
Everneath is a great answer for readers who loved Twilight, but want a book with a plot that differs from what has now become standard in YA paranormal romances. Ashton has succeeded in writing a novel that captures the romance and angst of Twilight, but with an original story to tell. There is a love triangle of sorts involved, but not really, since one of the guys is clearly a villain. And the good love-interest guy is no supernatural, but just a very dedicated boy.
I think what made this book work for me is the way that Ashton uses time as a plot device. We’re constantly aware of the clock ticking down, and current chapters are alternated with chapters revealing earlier events leading to the present. Had the flashbacks taken place linearly, I don’t think I would have been as intrigued as I was.
My only real frustration with with this story was Nikki. She goes back to earth to make amends with the people she left behind, knowing she only has about six months left, yet she doesn’t talk to anybody and spends her lunch hours in a private “nook” knitting. I didn’t get it. I know she was supposed to be empty after her time in the Everneath, but if you’re going back with that as your only purpose, why did she waste so much of it? I couldn’t get into her mind frame, and it frustrated me.
Fans of YA paranormal romance are going to eat this book up. The romance is definitely of the slowburn variety, and there’s a great deal of tension as we wait for it to develop. Jack is “swoon-worthy” for those who are into that, and for people who like bad boys, Cole will be your man.
Overall, I enjoyed this book, although the romance was a bit thick and the action a bit light for my taste. I know it’s going to have a ton of fans, all eager for the next in the series.