Author: Brodi Ashton
Series: Everneath (2)
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: 22 January 2013
Date Read: April 2013
Nikki Beckett could only watch as her boyfriend, Jack, sacrificed himself to save her, taking her place in the Tunnels of the Everneath for eternity — a debt that should’ve been hers. She’s living a borrowed life, and she doesn’t know what to do with the guilt. And every night Jack appears in her dreams, lost and confused and wasting away.
Desperate for answers, Nikki turns to Cole, the immortal bad boy who wants to make her his queen — and the one person least likely to help. But his heart has been touched by everything about Nikki, and he agrees to assist her in the only way he can: by taking her to the Everneath himself.
Nikki and Cole descend into the Everneath, only to discover that their journey will be more difficult than they’d anticipated — and more deadly. But Nikki vows to stop at nothing to save Jack — even if it means making an incredible sacrifice of her own.
I am angry. Just angry. I'll focus more on how I felt the majority of the time I was reading this because if talked about That Thing That Happened, I'll end up writing a different review, one with spoilers and too many feels. Why would you do that, Ashton? I feel like I just got run over by a semi-truck going 120kph after reading Everbound.
Nikki signs on the help of Cole and Co. to assist her in navigating the world of Everneath to get to the Tunnels and rescue Jack. Ashton maintains and improves the originality of Everneath. I've always admired her unique world-building. She takes a random assortment of myths, mixes and mashes them together to create something completely new and different. Nikki, Cole and Co. must travel through the Rings of Earth, Water, Wind and Fire to get the Tunnels. Each Ring proving to be a bigger obstacle than the last. Each Ring is specifically designed to target the traveler's emotions, mind and physical strengths. Not to mention the hungry Wanderers that lurks in each Ring, always chasing them, always wanting to devour them. Everbound had a much quicker pace and was filled with much more action than its predecessor.
I hated Cole in Everneath. I even wished that he die a horrible, slow, painful death in a hole filled with elephant pee. But I see now, after reading Everbound, that my hatred was misdirected. The rightful recipient of my hate should've been Nikki. More than once, I caught myself wanting to punch her in the boob. She was annoying and felt very... flimsy(?), like she would break if you nudged her too hard. Not exactly the kickass heroine I'd been hoping for. (She is determined though, I'll give her that) Plus, she was ridiculously oblivious. What more do you want from Cole, Nik? What would it take for you to finally realize that he loves you? A blind person can see that he's fallen hard for you. She asked so much of him and the fact that she doesn't even realize the pain he has to endure just to fulfil her wish, risking his life to save the love of her life, just infuriated me even more.
Cole... Sigh. Yes, I hated him in Everneath. But he is a developed character in Everbound. He's got so many layers and gray areas and history. Turns out, this Everliving has got a lot of human in him. Ashton brought out a completely different side to Cole, one of vulnerability and tenderness. I didn't think Nik deserved him but if he's going to be happy with her then fine. I just want my baby to stop hurting.
The love triangle was executed beautifully. This is coming from someone who loathes love triangles. I don't even know what Ashton was doing but next thing I knew, I was suddenly in love with Cole. Ashton maintained Jack's presence with flashbacks from Beck's memories of the two of them. This was enough to remind me how perfect and flawed Jack was. There I was, in cloud nine, admiring Becks and Jack's undying romance. No one can deny that these two belonged with each other. Then BAM! I'd feel guilty at the end of the flashback because Cole had to listen to how much Nikki loved someone else. Do you understand my confusion? My dilemma? Another thing I loved about it is that Nik herself took time to change her perception of Cole. It didn't feel like Ashton just pulled it out of her ass just to add romantic tension. Like "Oh, Jack isn't here right now and I feel really sad. Cole is here so maybe I'll just be with him for the time being." No. Nik was right to be suspicious of Cole. But after seeing the cracks in his tough facade, friendship between the two blossomed where one trusted the other with their life.
Everbound made me want to do such violent things to everyone involved even though I didn't hate the book. I say that's a good thing. I recommend this to everyone. If you're on the fence or didn't enjoy Everneath that much, just read this because it is so much better.