Whoa. I just finished reading this story and I’m here to tell you, I’m amazed. I’m completely stunned by the complete magnificence of this book. I didn’t really go into it with any expectations, but shortly after I picked it up yesterday, I found that 175 pages had disappeared and that I really didn’t want to put it down, to the point where I was actually late to something. I’m never late. That’s how good this book is. It reminds me of Cinder in that I was subsumed to the same extent. To say that I invested in the characters really doesn’t cover it at all. I lost myself in them. The ambiguity of Cole and Jack combined with Nikki’s situation to push every other worry I had out of my brain and made me focus solely on them, which is not an easy thing to do. When you throw in all the mythology, suffice it to say, that this tale is completely addicting.
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.
I think one of the intriguing bits of this story is how an already fractured family responds to the return of a lost child. Nikki had been gone for six months when she popped back into their world. It fascinated me that the politician’s response was mild disappointment and how awkward things were between Nikki and her little brother. The way her friends and boyfriend react to her return only adds further depth to the story. Of course, if a seventeen year old reappeared six months after an unexplained disappearance the other kids at her school would assume that she’d been in rehab. It added an element of realism to a story filled with other worldly mythos.
As to the mythology Ashton weaves in, it added such vibrancy to the tale. Between Isis and Persephone, I kept on trying to come up with mythological explanations that allowed for everything to turn out okay. Ashton, however, ties the mythology in with subtlety and grace, never sacrificing the sense of urgency or tension. If anything, the mythology adds to the pace, yielding a heart wrenching tale that will steal your breath away.
I know this is short, but it’s because I don’t want to give anything away. I can’t recommend this book enough. It will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and will capture your heart at the same time.
5 ink bottles.