Title: Everneath (Everneath #1)
Author: Brodi Ashton
Format: Hard cover
Source: I own it
From Goodreads: "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."
My Opinion: When Nikki Bennetth wakes up after a hundred years "in the tunnels" with immortal Cole, who has been feeding off of her emotions during those hundred years, she is given a reprieve of six months to say her good byes before she returns to the tunnels forever. She left home after seeing her boyfriend in a compromising situation and feels a great deal of guilt at the way she left things with her family and friends and she really wants to make things right before she disappears again. When she returns she finds out that she has been missing for only six months, but even so, she has a lot of work ahead of her to fix the damage that she has done, starting with her father and brother. When her mother was killed by a drunk driver she had a really hard time dealing with that, and her relationship with her father never quite recovered. She also has to try to distance herself from her boyfriend, Jack, when she realizes that he was actually the person most affected by her disappearance since she knows that she is going to have to go away again and she wants to make it as easy on him as possible. Unfortunately, that's easier said than done when all of her old feelings for him resurface and she just can't imagine never seeing him again. The biggest problem she has, though, is Cole, who wants her to return to the Everneath with him as the queen of the underworld, and she is definitely not on board with that!
Jack and Cole are very well defined as the bad boy and the knight in shining armor respectively, but as you read further into the book, the lines between good and evil are not so clear. Ms. Ashton does an awesome job of pulling Cole back from the brink of being purely evil whenever he gets so close that you think he can't be redeemed, which I loved! Nikki finds herself drawn to him against her will due to the 100 years he spent siphoning off of her emotions, as well as the physical closeness between the two of them in the tunnels - they were literally wrapped around each other as close as two people could be, and her body betrays her time and time again by yearning for that closeness again. While Cole may be insufferable, arrogant and selfish, his Achilles' heel is his very real love for Nikki, which plays out well here. Jack also has a very deep connection to Nikki since it was his love and constant thoughts and dreams of Nikki while she was gone that allowed her to return six months later with her memories intact, which is a rare thing for someone who has been fed on for 100 years. This is what makes Cole realize that there is something special about her, and this in turn makes him realize that she could be that one in a million person who could actually become queen of the underworld, and he in turn could be the king. Unfortunately, Nikki doesn't share this dream with him, and when she decides that she would rather go back to the tunnels than be his queen, he becomes desperate to change her mind.
I really enjoyed this book because the characters were very well written and grew so much from start to finish that you felt drawn to them and really wanted everything to work out in the end, which was of course not to be since this is the first book of a trilogy and ended with one whopper of a cliff hanger!! I can't wait to read the next book in the series, Everbound, and already have my copy ready to go!
I also have to mention the absolutely beautiful cover art on this book, as well as Everbound! I know we're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I totally did that with this book! Lucky for me, the inside of the book lived up to the awesomeness of the cover :)
I give this book an enthusiastic 5 stars and recommend it to lovers of YA, paranormal romance, and Greek mythology :D