Disclaimer: Not your typical book review. This review analyzes what writers can learn from those who’ve come before. What went right, and what went wrong, and why I think it turned out that way and how a writer can replicate it! (Or avoid it)
Oddly enough, I’ve chosen to review the second book in the “Everneath” series, but I have a very good reason why.
The first book, Everneath, had a lot of things that I didn’t like. It was very slow, a tad confusing, and at times repetitive. If that’s the case, you may be wondering what this post is all about, but hold on, it gets good.
Everneath had something that I can only describe as the “it” factor. This is a Harper Collin’s book, which I didn’t actually know until I’d finished Everbound. I’m not familiar with the author (Brodi Ashton), but I do know that one of the Big 5 wouldn’t take a chance on a book they didn’t absolutely love.
There was something about Everneath that didn’t let me stop thinking about it long after I’d finished it. I went a good couple of months reading other books trying to get the Everneath series out of my mind because I was certain the second book would be just as dauntingly slow and ultimately not satisfying. But finally, I succumbed.
Then, I was blown away.
This book was absolutely incredible. It pulled off one of the most difficult things in writing and that was the element of surprise. Things happened that I didn’t expect at all, and for the life of me I was completely unable to predict what would happen next. Usually a book will have a certain flow and the reader won’t be completely surprised, but this book threw me for a loop quite a few times. I loved every moment of it!
It wasn’t just the element of surprise that caught me by the collar, but the satisfaction of how everything neatly fell together like a puzzle. This is evidence of outlining, heavy editing, and polishing this plot to make it gleam like a diamond after the reader has pieced it all together. I can tell a lot of work went into this series and it was well worth it.
From a writer’s perspective, this is something we’d love to replicate. Combing through an outline and perfectly lining up the plot pieces is a matter of invested time and wit. But that doesn’t always mean you’ll be able to surprise the reader. So, how did Brodi accomplish it?
I think a large part of it was the gamble of what I disliked in the first book: the buildup. It was slow, but only because there was a lot of world lore Brodi needed to get into the reader’s head. There were preconceptions that needed to be placed, and enough events needed to happen to reinforce those preconceptions. Only when the main character, and the reader, felt that they had full control on the situation was when Brodi ripped the rug out.
This was beautifully done and I won’t elaborate more on the plot to avoid spoilers. Actually, I won’t elaborate more because I’d have to spend an entire book explaining it to you. Best if you just go read it for yourself. And trust me, stick with it, it’s worth it.
I’ll be back after I finish Book 3: Evertrue