This book had such good reviews among the goodreads community that I was disappointed when I finally picked it up.
I love the idea of basing it off of the myth of Persephone, and there’s so many directions the book could have gone in. I loved the glimpses into the world of the Everneath, and the idea of the Everliving, but these bits were few and far between compared to the mundane high school events that comprised a majority of the book. It felt disjointed and was hard for the reader to settle into, because the author just throws you into the story with little world-building and background and reveals things in small pieces later, by which the reader has already had to make their own assumptions or has lost interest in the author’s original intent.
I enjoyed the use of the anti-hero in Cole and while Jack is loveable and a seemingly genuine good-guy, a lot of the relationship drama felt weak. For example, the “falling out” with one of the males that drove the protagonist to make a life-altering decision was nothing more than a simple misunderstanding that was rather cliché and easily detectable. Had the situation that she thought she saw been real would have made the book much more complex and interesting, as it would have given the characters actual issues to work through and a realistic portrayal of the flaws in every relationship.
I was also frustrated with the shallow character development of the two main males in particular. In a YA series where there is so obviously a love triangle being employed right from the get-go, depth is needed with all love interests involved in order for it even to seem remotely interesting or dramatic. Cole’s story is obviously going to be expanded upon during the sequel, but I was so disappointed in Jack. He’s a likeable character, but he’s reportedly some major heart-throb and known for being a player in half of the book and in the other half portrayed as the most steadfast, one-woman man there is with a serious, if shallowly explained, emo streak.
Also, many of the plot drivers in this book are just too convenient, you can see where the author blatantly came up with a solution rather than intricately weaving a story. I mean, at one of the climactic and down to the wire moments at the end the characters just happen to know someone who knows a leading expert on anthropology and apparently Egyptian archaeology as well who can be conveniently called on his cell phone to answer a bunch of vital questions that gives them info on the existence of Everlivings…
Overall I came into this book with way too high of expectations. It was a quick read once I decided I may as well finish it because there were some mythological details and world-building I so desperately wanted, but was never really satisfied with. I did enjoy some of the peripheral characters, finding Will especially likeable and hilarious, as well as the barely mentioned subplot of his PTSD after spending a year in active military service. But alas, as with most of the novel, an interesting idea was presented and then never expanded upon or properly explained.I may pick up the sequel for a quick read if I happen across it at the library, but I’m honestly glad I didn’t spend my money investing in this particular YA series.
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