* * * 3/4
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.
Brodi Ashton certainly outdid herself in this heart-pounding follow-up to Everneath. This was such a page turner for me from start to finish.
Nikki is left in the lonely aftermath of Jack’s disappearance. It’s been months and there’s no word. Cole has disappeared too. She is determined to find him and get answers. She is also dealing with her own welcome back party of sorts. Her father insists she go to counseling, Jack’s mother believes she’s somehow responsible for his disappearance and there are plenty of rumors going around about her involvement. But the key is Cole. When he finally resurfaces, (groaner foul for that obvious pun!), Nikki seizes the opportunity to convince the unwilling immortal to take her through the Everneath so that she can rescue Jack. She realizes that through her dreams where Jack appears to her, she is somehow anchoring him to the physical world. This sliver of hope is all she needs. It takes some convincing to get Cole to agree. Strangely, I did feel bad for him. I mean seriously! In his mind Nikki is his soul mate, his destined Queen and she wants him to help rescue her mere mortal of a boyfriend. Awkward! And for good measure he makes his bandmate Max travel with them because as Cole admits, he tends to make stupid decisions where Nikki is concerned.
In my previous review of Everneath, I admitted that as much as I can’t resist those bad boys I just didn’t care for Cole. He started to win me over in Everbound. He shows a lighter side and his few vulnerable moments had me thinking there is may be some hope for him yet. And as single-minded as Nikki is in her quest to save Jack, she does develop feelings for Cole. As they travel through the Everneath she learns more about him, his origins and the world he longs for her to inhabit with him.
The Everneath itself is an incredibly confounding and treacherous world to travel through. It preys on your worst nightmares and fears. It truly is the survival of the fittest which makes this world so spectacularly dangerous. Nikki does her best to hold it together and many times Cole has to rescue her from making careless choices. It’s impressive that Nikki acknowledges some of Cole’s good qualities and the pain she’s putting him through. She’s under no illusion why he’s there in the Everneath with her. Still none of that dissuades her from her true mission.
But the best part of Everbound is that nothing and no one can be taken at face value. Everyone has questionable motives and everyone’s fate is uncertain. Various encounters lead to more than a few mishaps and close calls and the making of new enemies here and there. Everbound ends with a spine-tingling thriller of a twist that suggests that the real fun has yet to begin!