Ashton's debut is a melancholy, modern retelling of Greek underworld myths.
Nikki Beckett regains lucidity after a 100-year Feed in the Everneath. Cole, the immortal Everliving who brought her there willingly to feed on her emotions and life, is delighted that she has emerged from the Feed intact and offers her the chance to become an Everliving herself. Instead, Nikki chooses to go back and deliver the goodbyes she neglected when she initially fled the living world, though she cannot tell her loved ones where she has spent the past few months, which seriously hampers the repairing of relationships. Additionally, she has only six months before the Tunnels, the darkest part of the Everneath, claim her as a battery until the underworld drains her out of existence. As readers see her trying to find how to say goodbye, flashbacks reveal why she was in enough emotional pain to agree to go with Cole in the first place. While Cole persistently chases her, wanting her to return as his queen, she resists; choosing Cole means dooming another to her fate. A slightly overextended romantic subplot involving Jack, the boyfriend she left behind, resolves in time for a desperate Hail Mary pass.
The intense prose is slow-motion grieving mixed with mythology, awakening hope and redemption—a mix ideal for angst connoisseurs. (Paranormal romance. 13 & up)