Review: Everbound by Brodi Ashton

title:  Everbound

author:  Brodi Ashton

pages: 368

format: Hardcover

isbn/asin: 978-0062071163

buy it: Amazon  Goodreads  B&N

rating: 5/5 [in the genre] or 8/10 [all books I’ve ever read].

recommended for:  Fans of Greek myths, sweet and realistic romance, strong heroines. Fans of Lauren Oliver, Maggie Steifvater, or Cassandra Clare. 

My Ratings Explained

the basics
The first novel was stellar.  The sequel is just as good...maybe even better.  Nikki is more powerful in this one.  We get to see her fight for what she believes in.  Yeah, she's using Cole to do it, but he did trick her into a hundred years of soulsucking.  We get to know her relationship with Jack a lot more through her memories, and they're all so sweet and age-appropriate and compelling.  It makes you really want Nikki to find him.  But you feel sorry for Cole too, so there's always great tension.  As for the Everneath itself...well, classic myths have a new heydey here.  Ashton's vision of the underworld is darkly beautiful and she keeps you guessing, and holding your breath, through every minute of Nikki's travels.  The bit with the Daughters of Persephone at the end annoyed me just a little bit (mostly because of the queen's juvenile actions), but the end end....I was blown away, and dying for the next novel.  

plot . 4/5
As with Everneath, you're dropped right into the action and Ashton never lets go.  Nikki's attempts to reach the underworld are interesting in their own right and say a lot about her character; when she actually gets there with Cole, it's a fight-for-your-life situation ever minute.  The difficulties they run into are especially exciting, from Wanderers who feed like zombies, water that makes you drown in sorrow, wind that can take your memories.  What I thought could have been stronger was the forgetting aspect.  Cole keeps warning Nikki that her memories will go fast in the underworld, but it rarely seems to be a problem.  Also the Daughters of Persephone bit could have been foreshadowed a bit more.  But it's still exciting and enjoyable, and you'll never believe the end.  

concept . 5/5
I adore Greek myths.  Coincidentally enough, one of my favorite books as a kid was D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths, the very book that Nikki uses to investigate the Everneath.  Seeing the Persephone myth come to life in this way was a childhood fantasy come true.  And it still keeps a very high fantasy vibe, reminiscent of the lands beyond the sea in C.S. Lewis' Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  The way that other myths, like the minotaur, are woven in is clever and done with subtlety and style.  

characters . 4/5
The gray is what makes it great.  Nikki isn't perfect.  She knows that she's using Cole's affection to get to Jack, and while it bugs her a little, she's willing to do it.  Cole is still the jerk who tricked her, but his genuine love for her is clear and you almost feel sorry for him.  They're very multifaceted characters.  Jack is even dreamier than in the last book.  Future husband?  Anyhoo, the only kinks were the side characters.  Max feels like a prop more than a person and we see only surface snippets of Nikki's father, Jack's mom and brother, and Meredith's mom.  It's not a huge deal, I just felt like for as important as they all were, I wanted to know them more.  

style . 5/5
Ashton has a great style for YA.  It's poetic without being cumbersome and it can really be very beautiful.  She has a knack for making you feel heartsick or terrified or swoony without piling on the adjectives (which is an annoyance of mine).  But she doesn't sacrifice good writing other.  It's just clear and concise.  And there are plenty of great quotable lines in there too. 

mechanics . 5/5
Polished to perfection.  

take home message
A powerful sequel that amps up the fantasy and mixes just the right amount of romance and adventure, with a shock ending.  

Note: I purchased this copy.  The price of the book and its origin in no way affected my stated opinions.

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