I was so excited for this book to come out! I absolutely loved Ashton’s first book. And I was expecting to love this one too. Unfortunately, it just didn’t grab me as much as the first one. It took me over a week to read! That is a long time for me. Granted, It’s the book I’ve been reading while settling into my new home, job, and life. But still, the book I read after it was more than 200 pages longer and I finished that one in a matter of hours…
To the story! It’s kind of a reversal of the previous book, which was about Nikki coming back to the real world (for six months) after her lengthy stay in the Everneath. This book (the sequel) is about Jack’s stay in the Everneath. It’s Nikki’s turn to see Jack every night in her dreams, and to keep him remembering her.
Nikki learns to take more action in this one. Yes, she is kind of eternally depressed. She never has what she wants: Jack. Her father has her seeing a therapist. Her old friends still aren’t really her current friends. And the whole town (with Jack’s mother at the top of the list) blames Nikki for star football player, Jack’s sudden disappearance. She doesn’t really have a lot going for her. That is until she decides to track Cole back down (even though she already told him to leave her alone) because she knows there’s more to the Everneath than what he is telling her.
Tracking Cole and his band is easier than she thought. Convincing Cole to take her into the Everneath to find her much-loved boyfriend is somewhat harder. However, she manages to convince him. Nikki, Cole, and a couple of new friends venture through the epic, mythological maze of the Everneath, following Nikki’s literal tether to Jack. She thinks of memories of Jack and there is a visible tether that points her in his direction…Too bad all the bad people can also see the tether and are drawn to Nikki’s energy.
There’s mazes, mythological lakes, mind boggling wind, narrow escapes, evil queens, plenty of more background of the Everneath, tons of questions answered, and lots more romance in this one! I liked getting to know Cole better. I loved learning more about the evil queen. Getting to see the Everneath was fascinating. Ashton definitely knows her mythology. She somehow manages to intertwine a classic backdrop with new, believable characteristics –and this gives the whole world of the Everneath so many more layers. I also super enjoyed all of Nikki’s flashbacks. It allowed me to get to see how she and Jack started.
I was hoping for a stronger Nikki. She was too broken after loosing Jack. And she was a little too wiling to leave her family behind again. I was hoping for less cheesy romance. She had a physical tether connecting her to Jack…I sort of let the cheesy seeing-each other-in-their-dreams stuff go in the last book because the plot and world more than made up for it. But this was just a little too much for me in this one. It reminded me a little too much of Noel’s The Immortal series, and not in a good way.
But more than the overdone romance, I guess I just wasn’t as involved with the plot. I kind of expected everything that happened. I enjoyed the ending even though I called it. It’s just I guess this one followed all of the classic fantasy adventure plot lines and what I liked most about the first book was that it didn’t. It was a take on a classic myth, but told in a completely new way. And don’t get me wrong, sometimes all I want is a classic adventure story (with all the tough obstacles, mazes, and fight scenes that come with it). I just wasn’t expecting to get this here.
I still love the concept. I love the way it all ends with me wanting more still. I loved getting to know Cole. And I loved getting a lot of questions answered. I will definitely read the next one. I just hope the author can re-create another more book 1-type unique storyline for it. I give this one a 7/10.