The cover suggests a slightly more mature theme, even within the YA genre. It can happen. I just finished reading a book where it happened. But 99% of the book is spent with her outside of this “Everneath”, resulting in a fairly uninteresting read. I read it quickly so I didn’t waste too much time on it, but I really don’t like it when covers are so deceptive.
Nikki is the central character of the story. 6 months ago she was taken to the Everneath by Cole, an immortal who used her life force to sustain his own and his Queen’s. She spends 100 years literally attached to Cole as he feeds from her. Once the feeding is done it is discovered that Nikki is a unique case, surviving it as most others wouldn’t. This suggests that she has a special power, making her very attractive to Cole. She has a choice to stay in the Everneath with him, but she decides to go back home to be with her family and her boyfriend, Jack, who was her biggest motivation to remain alive. However, going back to the real world puts her on a countdown to destruction, destining her to spend an eternity in the Underworld. She tries to live her life (or what she has left of it) but Cole is an obvious interference, desperately trying to convince her to be with him and rule the Everneath. But her heart is with Jack, putting her in a predicament and forcing her to look for any alternative she can find. And therein lies the story.
I didn’t really like how 100 years in the Everneath is only 6 months in the real world. That was too convenient. There is a lot of time jumping (showing POVs from past to present to past, etc. ) while counting down to the climax, but the build up isn’t intense. It’s very “day in the life”. The beginning ropes you in in hopes that you’re in for a super cool roller coaster ride, but then it turns into an unoriginal high school teen drama; I would have avoided this book had I known to expect that. In terms of characters, I preferred Cole simply because he was actually interesting and that was an actual challenge. Don’t get me wrong, he’s manipulative and a horrible love interest, but as a character I would have liked to have seen more. I like my villains to be more than one-dimensional. I started skimming the scenes with Jack after a while, though I got the point. This book was more teen romance with a dash of paranormal lore. Overall, if they took out the lore most of the book would be unaffected.
The best parts were the brief mythology references. While it seems as if the next book could focus on a little more adventure, I’m not taking the bait. There are two other potentially interesting worlds that we merely hear about: the Everneath and the Underworld, and I wanted Nikki to get explore both. This was the chance for the series to stand out to me and it didn’t. It’s got pretty good ratings overall though, so maybe it’s just me. I might be willing to read the second book if she does explore these worlds in future books, but I’m not waiting with bated breath for it.
*ARC Provided by NetGalley
Maria Snyder is off to an excellent start with Touch of Power, Book 1 of The Healer series. The book centers on Avry of Kazan, a young woman with special power to heal those around her while she absorbs their ailments. One would think that this would be a revered power, but instead it puts a huge target on her back. Suspected of creating the plague that wipes out a significant part of the population, Healers are now persecuted and murdered. Against her best interests Avry secretly continues to heal those in need, often exposing herself. To survive she must lead a nomadic and lonely lifestyle.
This all changes when she ends up abducted by a rebel group who needs her power to heal their leader who has been M.I.A. There’s a hitch of course; healing this leader will cost her own life. Their leader, Kerric, is a prince himself though unconventional with a set of magical powers all his own. Against her will, she treks on a journey with them facing off against mercenaries, the undead, and nature itself. She begins to bond with them much to her chagrin, and re-evaluates who the enemies really are.
There’s a lot of action, adventure and magic in this series that I really enjoyed. The character development is well done, keeping it fairly realistic in this fictional setting. They aren’t as one dimensional as I was fearing, so I really connected with the story. I would put Avry in the “strong heroine” category. She’s not too badass but she’s not a fool either, taking a lot of initiative and being extremely brave when necessary. Overall, I like her.
I think the magic was very interesting without being too confusing. I look forward to how that evolves over the course of the series. The villain was slightly on the predictable side, and I sort of predicted how this would ends since I know it’s the beginning of a series, but I still enjoyed it and look forward to where things go next.
I may start reading more YA series again. For a while I haven’t been enjoying them as much as their adult counterparts, but it seems as if YA books centered around adults is as good as anything for me. Avry is twenty, and many of the adult novels are centered on twenty-somethings too, so the overlap works. I definitely recommend this one.
*ARC provided by NetGalley