Who loses hope first?  And who never gives up? Becuase it’s not the supernatural abilities that set mythical characters apart…it’s the decisions the human characters make, in impossible situations, that have us still talking about them centures later.  Heroes are made by the paths they choose, not the powers they are graced with.

Redonk Nutshell: Teen is given six months to bid her family and friends goodbye before she dragged back to the underworld

I went a little nuts trying to get my hands an an ARC of this book. I loved the cover (I’ll get to that in a minute) and I was really hooked on the premise.  So…mucho thankso to the chicks at HarperCollins for putting up with my Raunchnagging.

Nikki Beckett spent the past one hundred years in Everneath serving as food to her immortal host, Cole.  Cole Feeds off her human energy, and when her one hundred years is up, Nikki is miraculously returned to the surface, where six months has passed in her absence.  Nikki is remarkable to Cole – she has survived the Feed, and more so she hasn’t aged.  He wants to take her back as his and have her become as his he – immortal.  But Nikki has other things in mind, the foremost being to find her one true love, Jack.  Thoughts of Jack kept her connected to her world.  She makes an effort to pick up the pieces of her life before she jumped into Cole’s embrace, working to repair her relationship with her father, her friends, and Jack.  Her time is limited however – in six months the Tunnels will come for her.  The Tunnels are where humans go after being Fed upon, serving as batteries, more or less, to those who live in Everneath.

Brodi Ashton’s debut novel uses an intriguing mix of Greek & Egyptian allegories to paint a strangely beautiful world that’s unique to anything I’ve read in a long time.  The Everneath is more or less The Underworld, though not hell.  Those who live there can live forever but at the expense of Feeding off of humans who live on the surface.  Humans that survive the Feeding came become like those in Everneath; those who don’t go on to the Tunnels, where their presence sustains the Queen and the realm itself.  It’s vampiric in it’s host-parasitic way as well as with the supernatural abilities the hosts’s seem able to project while on the surface. Yet it’s not.

Nikki Beckett is nothing out of the ordinary until the moment she begs Cole to take away her pain, in turn agreeing to become his partner for his Feed.  When she survives the hundred years, unaged, Cole realizes she’s something special.  Nikki, however, could care less and wants nothing more than to find the one thing that kept her tied to her previous existence – her first and only love, Jack.  The relationships in Everneath are an interesting dynamic.  Jack is an extremely likable hero, though he wrestles with his own flaws.  Cole is our villain, though his complex nature make it difficult to firmly classify him as such.  There’s the potential for a Twilight-esque love triange, but Ms. Ashton weaves around it with grace and dignity that set it far from any cliches I feared it wall fall prey to.  And I was really appreciative of that.

Everneath is the first in a series by new author Brodi Ashton.  Ya’ll know my temperamental feelings on series.  I can safely say that I thoroughly enjoyed Everneath.  It’s dark yet hopeful.  Despite our heroine’s lack of faith in redemption, she finds it when she least wants it, and it’s bestowed on her by the only person who can grant it to her.  And of course, at a great sacrifice.

I can’t wait to read more.  I also can’t wait to see the covers for the rest of the series.  Well effing done, Balzer + Bray. This book’s cover was what initially grabbed my attention, mostly because I’m a whore for all things red.  And this dress? I lusted for this dress the first time I saw it this past February on Halle Berry.  I did some research – it’s a Elie Saab gown from her 2011 Couture collection. WANT.  I saw that gown on the cover and knew it right away.  Yeah. I’m lame like that.

Everneath by Jodi Ashton, 370 pgs, 1/24/12

Rating: B

Romance: 3.5/5        Raunch: 1.5/5

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