Alyson Noël’s Everlasting, the last in a six book saga, charts protagonist Ever’s attempts at completing her destiny. After five books, wrong turns, mishaps, loves and losses, Ever discovers more about her past, more about her relationship with soul mate Damen and, perhaps most crucially, more about the pitfalls of the physical immortality granted to her by him.
Having been cursed earlier in the series, the love that Ever and Damen share is never allowed to reach physical fruition, rendering them reliant on the almost kisses and almost touches they share. Having been issued an ultimatum by Sabine, her aunt who took her in after her family were killed in a car accident, Ever resides with Damen. Despite the happiness this should bring they are haunted not only by their curse but by the presence of the mysterious Lotus. Appearing to tell Ever of the journey she must undertake, the old and decrepit Lotus manages to annoy Damen and his plans.
Everlasting jumps straight into action, with Ever and Damen visiting the spoilt ground that’s spreading its way through Summerland, a mystical world between the Earth plane and beyond, a playground for Immortals. Damen foolishly snubs the power of the past early on, stating ‘the past is just that – past. Over. There’s no reason to revisit’. Although this sentiment is referred to throughout the book, Everlasting goes on to affirm the importance of the past, it playing an integral role in Ever’s journey.
As with all teenage fiction the characters that populate the novel are beautiful and, though some suffer character flaws, each are perfect in their own way. The book echoes all that came before it, with the mysterious centuries-old loner-type boy making a beeline for a supposedly average girl, only for their love to be cursed with some obstacle (in Twilight it was Edward’s being a vampire, in Buffy the presence of Angel’s soul [read here: Angel’s being a vampire]). Refreshingly there are no vamps to be seen in the saga, despite the Immortal’s reliance on a red elixir. The usual romantic lines are here but it offers enjoyable relief from the perils encountered later in the book. Ever and Damen’s inability to share real bliss will enthral those who enjoyed the afore-mentioned vamp sagas but will leave readers of more substantial fare bored. With the novel presenting so many teen sensation requisites it is unsurprising to learn that Summit have expressed an interest in the saga.
Despite its largely teen-orientated style, Everlasting is an enjoyable romp. Faced-paced and often somewhat psychedelic in nature (landscapes and imagery often transforming fluidly from one chapter to the next), it makes interesting use of the first person / present tense style. While fans of the Twilight saga will be familiar with first person narrative, here Alyson Noël sets the story in the present, with Ever describing her current thoughts and actions. The style is interesting and makes for a different reading experience compared to the more classic style most authors tend to use. Although some of Ever’s decisions and discoveries can sometimes appear convoluted the narrative spurs the story forward, saving the plot from its own demise. Its metaphors are loose (what lies in both Summerland and Shadowland not being difficult to guess) but what it lacks in deepness it makes up for in story telling.
With the reappearance of Lotus, Ever soon realises that she must enter the muddy outcrop of Summerland where she experiences a life she led as the doomed Adelina. When she uncovers striking similarities between her past peer group and the one she has now she makes some life changing discoveries. Although Damen voices his doubts, her determination is strengthened and she goes on a perilous journey to discover the Tree of Life, where she hopes to find something much stronger than the antidote she and Damen have been searching for. Her relationship with Damen is put to the test and she has to come to terms with the prospect of losing him forever.
The last quarter of the book reads as an elongated farewell to the saga, a fitting finale to a six book story. Promising hope in loss and the power of love, Everlasting offers harmless entertainment that is sure to please fans of Twilight and alike. Will it end happily? If you’ve read other teen orientated books you’ll probably know what’s coming but will enjoy the ride nonetheless.
Best line: ‘All we ever have is now’.