Brodi Ashton tells one hell of a story in Everneath. I knew from the First Five that I was going to love this book, but it took me some time to actually set down and read it. I am glad I waited because the sequel is out and I bought that one too. (More on that later.) Here are some high points: first person narrative. This is my preference though third person isn’t awful.
The questions you ask yourself as a reader are always addressed but never asked outright. You’re just reading and wondering…hmmm? I adored that about Brodi’s writing style. Timeline jumping can be somewhat confusing and boring. In Everneath, you want to jump back in time. You want to know how Nik, or Nikki, ended up in the Everneath and all the choices that led to her leaving.
There’s a countdown attached to the timeline that I adored. Without using more than three words, Brodi Ashton creates an undeniable sense of urgency. It’s sort of a ‘keep it simple, stupid’ technique. As writers, we crave the audience wow. We need them to feel what we intend when we intended. (It’s akin to Cole snorting or kissing someone’s emotion only we don’t take them; we give.) To conjure those sentiments, writers will attempt the perfect line, page or paragraph. We spend hours attempting this. It doesn’t always work.
More than once I’ve found myself consumed by the need to be original. When that happens, stating a thought, plainly, never occurs to me. By counting down Nik’s months, Brodi Ashton took her character’s crisis from moderate to ominous in the simplest of ways. It was genius, and I commend it. *applause* The characters in this book are fleshed out. I read a few reviews that bagged on the love triangle, but I think those readers may have missed a bigger picture.
Does Cole love Nik? In his own way. Does Jack love Nik? Absolutely. Does Nik love Jack? Undoubtedly. Does Nik love Cole? In her own way. In my opinion, this does not make a love triangle. I believe it, quite simply :-), makes Everneath a story of love.
And the Underworld.
And the Tunnels.
This book is going to tug on your heart-strings and make you feel. You’ll want things you can’t have and get things you never wanted. It’s a masterpiece. With that in mind, I will share a few of Brodi’s words. This potent scene had my stomach churning excitment.
A boy, maybe a year older than me, showed up in the doorway. He was tall enough that with a few more inches, his head could have touched the top of the frame. Jack looked up from his desk, his pencil halted midword. “Nik? Is that you?” The boy’s voice wasn’t familiar.
His face wasn’t either. He looked like a typical teenager, with thick black hair that was purposely mussed up. His lanky body leaned against the doorjamb casually. His ears had several piercings, as did his eyebrows, which framed dark, familiar eyes.
Eyes that didn’t belong here. Eyes that I would know anywhere.
It was Cole. No question. But he had somehow changed his appearance, down to his hair and his skin.
Whatever he’d done, though, he couldn’t change his dark eyes.
“Don’t you remember me?” His li[ps curled upward. “Neal? From the party?”
I could feel Jack’s gaze from beside me. I narrowed my eyes at Cole and shook my head.
“I’m not surprised, rally. You probably don’t remember much from that night,” he said.
Mrs. Stone was out of the classroom. Cole probably timed it that way. I said a silent wish that she would return soon.
“You must have me confused with someone else,” I said in a quiet voice.
“I’m sure I don’t,” Cole said. “Nikki Beckett. Seventeen. Sweet. Great little tattoo on her shoulder that tastes faintly of… charcoal.”
My face flamed red and I could feel the tears behind my eyes, but they didn’t come. What would Jack be thinking? I could hear him tapping his foot beside me.
“Go away,” I whispered.
“That’s not a nice way to treat an old friend. I go to school here now. I’m going to graduate someday, just like you.” He took a few steps forward. “I’m gonna clean myself up. Just like you.”
I could sense Jack shifting in his seat next to me. I bit my lower lip, leaned down, and shoved my books into my backpack.
“You’re not giving up, are you, Nik?” Cole sang out, his voice an eerie melody.
I hoisted my bag over my shoulder, lowered my head, and scrambled to the door. He blocked the exit.
“Sorry, Nik,” he whispered, barely audible. “You forced my hand.”
“Let me go, Neal,” I said, using his fake name.
“If only it were that easy.”
“Let her by,” Jack called from his seat at the back.
Cole set his gaze on Jack, a snide lip curl on his face. I knew that look. I put my hand on his arm. “Don’t-“
“Quiet, Nik,” Cole cut me off, keeping his piercing gaze on Jack. “Listen, friend. Little Nikki here doesn’t want me to let her go. Trust me. She likes a guy to take charge.” Jack pushed his chair back, and I knew I had to do something.
Want more? Well, I’m sorry, but you’ll have to buy the book to see what happens next. This book is one in a trilogy so be warned. The ending is but another beginning…
Live. Write. Read.