Salute Your Shorts is a weekly (ish) feature hosted by Heidi at Bunbury in the Stacks. It highlights and reviews short stories and novellas, both of which don't receive too much attention in the blogosphere.
Title: Neverfall (Everneath, #1.5)
Author: Brodi Ashton
Rating: 3 Stars
I suppose that, when compared to other YA Novellas, Neverfall is kind of amazing. Yet, taking into account that the novellas I usually read are either written by Australian Authors (Melina Marchetta's Ferragost) or Adult Urban Fantasy Authors (Ilona Andrews), Neverfall fell short of the exemplary novella-writing I've come to expect when I crack open these short stories. While it was entertaining and kept me engaged (for the most part), I struggle to find the real purpose in it. Is there a point, because really, I would have picked up Everbound with excitement even without this filler piece.
Neverfall is told from Cole's PoV and every few chapters or so, we are gifted flashbacks to Cole's meetings with Nikki and his perspective of their brief exchanges. In the present-day, however, Cole is desperately trying to find an answer to why Nikki was able to survive the Feed - and what the secret is to finding another human who can survive it too. Although the beginning of this novel is slow, and I did skim a few sections, it gradually picks up as Cole's quest takes him to places that we, as the reader, could have never imagined. In fact, I find myself being bowled over, once again, by the creativity Ashton uses throughout this series and her deft incorporation of Greek myth in a modern setting. I am still very much in love with it.
Where this story fell flat for me, though, is my understanding of Cole. In Everneath it is very obvious that Cole has no real or true feelings for Nikki. We don't really have a love triangle on our hands as Cole simply wants Nikki so that he himself can survive for thousands and thousands of more years and, of course, gain power along the way. In Neverfall, this understanding of Cole is only confirmed as he is truly only interested in Nikki for what she can offer him. When extenuating circumstances force him to question his life and his reason for existence, however, he rapidly comes to the conclusion that he is, in fact, in love with Nikki. Now, I still firmly believe that Cole has an obsession with Nikki - nothing more, nothing less - even at the end of this short story, which really proves that this novella is pointless. Cole doesn't change and although it says he changed, we have nothing to substantiate that claim and his change of heart is so quick that it is missed in one small sentence.
Nevertheless, I still enjoyed being back in this world, reading the banter between Cole and his best friend, Max, and re-familiarizing myself with the world Ashton created. If nothing else, Neverfall is a great reminder of what the Everneath Series offers and it throws in some creative new settings and mythology at the same time. Although I wouldn't have missed out on much - or lessened my understanding of Cole - if I had skipped this, Neverfall remains a must-read for all fans of Everneath.