Review: Evertrue by Brodi Ashton

Evertrue
Brodi Ashton

Balzer + Bray
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.
Releases January 21, 2014 
336 pages
YA / Fantasy / Mythology

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Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indie Bound 

Now that Nikki has rescued Jack, all she wants is to be with him and graduate high school. But Cole tricked Nikki into feeding off him, and she’s begun the process of turning into an Everliving herself... which means she must feed on a Forfeit soon — or die. 

Terrified for her survival, Nikki and Jack begin a desperate attempt to reverse the process using any means possible. Even Cole, who they expected to fight them at every turn, has become an unlikely ally — but how long can it last? Nikki needs to feed on Cole to survive, Cole needs Nikki to gain the throne in the Everneath, Jack needs Nikki because she is everything to him — and together, they must travel back to the Underworld to undo Nikki’s fate and make her mortal once more. But Cole isn’t the only one with plans for Nikki: the Queen has not forgotten Nikki’s treachery, and she wants her destroyed for good. Will Nikki be forced to spend eternity in the Underworld, or does she have what it takes to bring down the Everneath once and for all?

In this stunning conclusion to the Everneath trilogy, Brodi Ashton evokes the resiliency of the human spirit and the indomitable power of true love.

FINALLY! A trilogy conclusion that doesn’t leave me disappointed or completely disinterested! I’ve been having very bad luck with series enders lately, so I was hesitant going into Evertrue. This was a series that I shouldn’t have liked, but the first book, Everneath, grabbed me and refused to let go. While the second, Everbound, didn’t quite have that same spark as the first, it was still a lot of fun and an unusual take on mythology of the underworld. Luckily Brodi Ashton took all the magic from the first book and the action from the second to build a finale that was well worth the wait.

Though I must mention that glancing at the cover of Evertrue for the first time, I thought our main character was turning into an octopus Ursula type character. Something about the way her dress swirls around her looks like tentacles to me.

SPOILERS FOR EVERNEATH AND EVERBOUND AHEAD

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Review: Everbound by Brodi Ashton

Everbound
Brodi Ashton

Balzer + Bray
Released January 22, 2013
358 pages
YA / Fantasy / Mythic Retellings

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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.

In this enthralling sequel to Everneath, Brodi Ashton tests the bonds of destiny and explores the lengths we’ll go to for the ones we love.

I was genuinely surprised at how engaging I found Everneath and how much more it was than just another retelling of the Persephone myth. With the cliffhanger that finished out that first volume, I also found myself expecting this to be a straightforward plot of search and rescue. Brodi Ashton once again took me surprise and wrote an intriguing and adventurous second volume to her immortals versus the humans who hate them series.

SPOILERS FOR EVERNEATH AHEAD

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Waiting on Wednesday: Evertrue by Brodi Ashton

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Breaking the Spine and serves to showcase those books we’re not so patiently waiting to arrive!

Evertrue
Brodi Ashton

Balzer + Bray
Releases January 21, 2014 
368 pages

Find it on Goodreads

Preorder it from Amazon 

Now that Nikki has rescued Jack, all she wants is to be with him and graduate high school. But Cole tricked Nikki into feeding off him, and she’s begun the process of turning into an Everliving herself... which means she must feed on a Forfeit soon — or die.

Terrified for her survival, Nikki and Jack begin a desperate attempt to reverse the process using any means possible. Even Cole, who they expected to fight them at every turn, has become an unlikely ally — but how long can it last? Nikki needs to feed on Cole to survive, Cole needs Nikki to gain the throne in the Everneath, Jack needs Nikki because she is everything to him — and together, they must travel back to the Underworld to undo Nikki’s fate and make her mortal once more. But Cole isn’t the only one with plans for Nikki: the Queen has not forgotten Nikki’s treachery, and she wants her destroyed for good. Will Nikki be forced to spend eternity in the Underworld, or does she have what it takes to bring down the Everneath once and for all?

In this stunning conclusion to the Everneath trilogy, Brodi Ashton evokes the resiliency of the human spirit and the indomitable power of true love.

I just finished Everbound last weekend and I'm still just as captivated by this story as I was after I finished Everbound. The ending of Everbound was a bit of a twist that sets up a changed dynamic for this final book in the series. Even with a lack of Jack, the second book still held my interesting and introduced a much bigger mythology than just the new take on the Persephone myth. I look forward to seeing how Nikki gets out of the trouble she has found herself in.

Review: The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

The Chaos of Stars
Kiersten White

HarperTeen
I received an ARC through Around the World ARC Tour in return for an honest review.
Releases September 10, 2013
288 pages
YA / Fantasy / Mythology

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Isadora’s family is seriously screwed up.

Of course, as the human daughter of Egyptian gods, that pretty much comes with the territory. She’s also stuck with parents who barely notice her, and a house full of relatives who can’t be bothered to remember her name. After all, they are going to be around forever—and she’s a mere mortal.

Isadora’s sick of living a life where she’s only worthy of a passing glance, and when she has the chance to move to San Diego with her brother, she jumps on it. But Isadora’s quickly finding that a “normal” life comes with plenty of its own epic complications—and that there’s no such thing as a clean break when it comes to family. Much as she wants to leave her past behind, she can’t shake the ominous dreams that foretell destruction for her entire family. When it turns out there may be truth in her nightmares, Isadora has to decide whether she can abandon her divine heritage after all.

I had no idea what to expect going into The Chaos of Stars, having never read any of Kiersten White’s other books, but the idea of reading about teenage mortal children of ancient immortal gods in present day sounded intriguing. What I got was a seemingly well-researched exciting adventure with a capable leading heroine in a world that was like our own, only with a few unusual elements (like ancient gods living among us and stuff). I thoroughly enjoyed reading what could have been a formulaic YA girl-meets-boy, girl-has-misunderstanding-with-boy, girl-hates-boy, meanwhile-evil-plots-and-threatens-girl story, but had so many interesting and unique elements that it felt unusual and new.

I say seemingly well-researched because I honestly wouldn’t know. My knowledge of ancient Egypt and its religious customs is slim. What White uses to create her world shows off not only a solid knowledge of the subject matter, but also a genuine love of the subject matter that bounces off the pages and made me want to research these customs that still live in pockets of Egyptian culture. The opening chapters with lead character Isadora stuck in the underground home of her immortal god parents Isis and Osiris feels just as claustrophobic and constraining as her life feels to her. It opens at a meal where Isadora sits at a table with her goddess mother, joyfully pregnant ahead of schedule, and her undead father, covered in mummy wrappings that hide his blackened flesh. Her brother, the Egyptian god king Horus and his wife, the goddess of sex and beer, round out the oddest dinner party I’ve seen in recent novels. It’s comedic in its normalcy and a bit horrifying at its oddness.

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Review: Furious by Jill Wolfson

Furious
Jill Wolfson

Henry Holt & Co
Releases April 16, 2013
336 pages
YA / Mythology / Mean Girls

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Three high school girls become the avenging Furies of Greek legend.

We were only three angry girls, to begin with. Alix, the hot-tempered surfer chick; Stephanie, the tree-hugging activist; and me, Meg, the quiet foster kid, the one who never quite fit in. We hardly knew each other, but each of us nurtured a burning anger: at the jerks in our class, at our disappointing parents, at the whole flawed, unjust world.

We were only three angry girls, simmering uselessly in our ocean-side California town, until one day a mysterious, beautiful classmate named Ambrosia taught us what else we could be: Powerful. Deadly. Furious.

Three misfit girls become the reincarnation of the Furies from Greek myth. They have a puppet master with an elusive story and a potential adversary playing on the side of good. Alix, Stephanie and Meg didn’t start out being the mean girls, but it doesn’t take them long to become power hungry and delirious on their abilities. It becomes hard to root for any of them, and it isn’t really an issue on which side is good and which is bad. There’s a lot of room to play with issues of good and evil, but this is just straight forward misunderstood girls gain power and become the people they hate before seeing the light and becoming good again.

The predictable storyline was more enjoyable due to the form of storytelling Wolfson chose to use. Yes, Meg is misunderstood and it’s kind of annoying inside her head, but by intersecting her narrative with the stasimons from a real Greek tragedy told in the voice of Ambrosia, the story becomes more complex. Unfortunately Ambrosia is more interesting in her brief spots of narration and rants about human nature during these stasimons than at any point during the actual story. She is obviously the Big Bad, and it bummed me out that this obviousness was so obvious yet all the characters (except for Ambrosia’s rival) were oblivious and thought she was the super cool girl with a predilection to talk back to her history teacher.

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Review: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Everneath
Brodi Ashton

HarperCollins / Balzer + Bray
Released January 24, 2012
370 pages
YA / Twisted Mythology / Fantasy

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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.

Everneath is a captivating story of love, loss, and immortality from debut author Brodi Ashton.

I was really cautious going into Everneath. It had the blogosphere all aflutter when it was released and was another in a series of books with girls in red dresses on the cover. It sound romance-y and I’d recently read another take on the Persephone myth that kind of made me want to slam my head against the wall. I didn’t want to get my hopes up that this would wash away the bad taste that book had left. Thankfully from nearly the beginning, Brodi Ashton waved away my misgivings with this fun take on the Persephone myth.

Told in a jumbled mix of present scenes and flashbacks, Everneath reads like two stories told simultaneously that somehow end up meeting in the end. It’s a style that I’m starting to see more often, such as with Level 2 (which reminded me a bit of Everneath though I’m just realizing the similarities). A lot of times flashbacks can break the narrative tension and slow down pacing, but Ashton weaves together the past and the present so that they fit neatly together, eventually coming together like puzzle pieces of the larger picture. I was very impressed at how much narrative tension she created by bouncing from one to the other.

So Everneath essentially starts in the middle with Nikki waking up in the underworld after what feels to be an eons long nap. How she ended up there slowly unfolds throughout the rest of the story as does what happens when Nikki returns home, only having been gone with no explanation for 6 months. Her life is a mess with rumors of drug addiction explaining away her sudden disappearance and a looming deadline of only 6 months more topside before she’s dragged to the underworld for eternity to act as hell’s battery. What ensues in the present timeline is a mix of high school drama ramped up to the 10th power and romantic tension between Nikki and her former boyfriend Jack, who she had one of those big-at-the-time silly high school misunderstandings hours before she “disappeared”.

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Waiting for Wednesday: Everbound by Brodi Ashton

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Breaking the Spine and serves to showcase those books we’re not so patiently waiting to arrive!

Everbound (Everneath #2)
Brodi Ashton

Balzer+Bray
Releases January 22, 2013
384 pages

Read more about it on GoodReads

Preorder it on Amazon

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.

In this enthralling sequel to Everneath, Brodi Ashton tests the bonds of destiny and explores the lengths we’ll go to for the ones we love.

I didn't expect to love Everneath as much as I did when I read it over the weekend. While I haven't posted a review about it just yet, let's just say that the characters surprised me by not falling down all the cliche traps of love triangles, evil immortal bad guys, floppy love interest and conflicted protagonist. It wasn't predictable despite being a take on a Greek myth and I'm really curious to see what happens in the Everneath when Nikki isn't supposed to be there. Plus extra Cole snark is always fun.

What books are you waiting for today? Tell me in the comments!