Everneath

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Fictional Deaths Heard ‘Round the World

Published July 14, 2016 by Ashley Townsend

Sick of ‘Em? Kill ‘Em . . . in Fiction!

We all know those authors, the ones who can’t figure out a place for a beloved character or think it will be just sooo dramatic and win them some kind of award if they randomly kill them off. If you’ve ever picked up a book or binge-watched a TV series, then you’ve probably experienced one of those Fictional Deaths Heard ‘Round the World. It’s that terrifying scene where you aren’t sure how they can get out of it this time, that breathless moment of denial that your favorite character could die and that a writer could be so cruel. And in the instant that they perish, your denial turns to tears, which evolve into a heart-wrenching, gut-twisting lifetime of pain.

princess bride

To honor those gone-too-soon heroes of fiction, I’ve compiled a short list of some of the fictional deaths that still twist my insides and provide a plethora of ugly sobs, though there are plenty more where these came from. This post will be spoiler-rich, so if you’re still waiting to read anything by Bodi Ashton or Cassandra Clare or have yet to watch Buffy, then you had best just avoid reading any further. Or if you know precisely what I’m talking about, then feel free to lament these fictional deaths all over again with me! *raises imaginary cup of shared pain and throws bars of dark chocolate into the air*

#3: Jem Carstairs in The Clockwork Princess

jem

Chances are you’ve heard about The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare, but if you’ve read this series, then it’s safe to assume you’re still walking strangely. (And that Epilogue–just why??!!)

Jem is possibly the sweetest, most sacrificial and tragic character you will ever encounter. He’s been ill for most of his life and has to take this silver powder called yin fen to stave off the weakening effects of his disease so he can continue to live a relatively normal life. BUT the caveat is that the medicine he needs to function is killing him more quickly. His friends try to wean him off the poison to lengthen his days, but Jem wants to spend what remains of his life with his friends and his fiance, Tessa. And when she is taken, he stays on the yin fen to have enough strength to find her. But he becomes so sick anyway and weakens while Will (be still my heart! Never have I been so torn between two characters) goes out to find Tessa, who is in love with BOTH FRIENDS. Yeah, it’s messed up. So while Jem lies dying because he took too much medicine/poison to save his fiance, Will is off saving her. The tragic part–well, one of them–is that Jem always knew he was second violin to Will (poor joke), but he never held a grudge against his friend and loved him like a brother, and for a time they were all they had. I shed tears for Jem dying without either Will or Tessa, and I cried for Will’s loss when he was told his parabatai had died (Tessa who? She has feelings?!).

But almost more tragic than Jem’s “death” is the fact that he didn’t actually die. Waaaa???? What do I mean?

lemme splain

On the brink of death, Jem was turned into a Silent Brother, sort of like a monk with an eternal vow of silence that they all considered freaks for a lot of the series. The most horrific aspect of this change is that our Jem, whose greatest solace was found in playing his violin, must live in the Silent City where music is forbidden. And he did it all to fight one final battle with Will and Tessa and protect them. Yeah, killing him is too easy. Let’s destroy his life ans everything he holds dear.

d'artagnan crying

Even though he didn’t technically die, he still makes this list because the Jem we fell in love with disappeared and was replaced by this tragic creatures. *ugly sobbing*

#2 Cole in Evertrue

cole

Ohmysweetgoodness. First fictional death I ever really cried over. Cole is a total bad-boy, rock star, soul-sucker in Everneath, but I found him totally fascinating. He appeared to have this vague, broken past, but all we really know about him is that he chose Nikki to be his “life-support” for 100 years and wants her back.

When you see how he tried to protect Nikki in the Everneath and hear how he was a lost, lonely boy tricked into becoming what he is . . . Let’s just say he became a sympathetic “villain” in an instant. He disappoints you at the end of Everbound, but you can’t even be mad at him in Evertrue because he tries so hard to make things right and gets his memory swiped, so he thinks he’s an innocent Norseman who has no clue of the torment he’s caused! *sucks in a breath*

Nikki and Cole (whose memory has been restored by the end) are trying to destroy the Everneath throughout the book. BUT they also have to destroy the thing that tethers them to the Everneath to complete the process, which means they will return to their human forms. Cole is tired of taking life from others to survive and tearfully tells Nikki that they have to break their tethers, which means that he will return to his 900-year-old self. Desperately, Nikki begs for his heart before he can break it and turn to dust to close the portal to the Underworld. But he just kisses her and tells her she already has his heart, and THEN HE SNAPS THE PICK AND TURNS TO DUST.

lydia

 

It’s so horrible because he changes in the end and chooses to sacrifice himself to protect Nikki and make up for his past. I could barely see the page through my tears, and the watermarks are still on my book.

 

#1 Angel from Buffy

angel hotness

He was Stefan before there was Stefan, and he was too cool to sparkle

I know it happened over 15 years ago, but believe me when I say that the tears are still flowing from this scene oh-so-long ago. This fictional death is actually what sparked this post of tragedy and eternal torment (thanks, Liz!) . . . and also the fact that writers won’t stop killing off beloved characters.

Quick background if you never watched television in the ’90s: Buffy and Angel were the ultimate star-crossed lovers of the decade. A vampire slayer + a vampire with a soul and a conscience and who hates what he was turned into = perfection. There are a few other obstacles in their way–for instance, if he experiences a moment of pure joy, his soul will be stripped from him and he will revert to the monster he was before. Yeah, big problem, but it makes for the best romance on TV!

buffy and angel

Which brings me to the most dramatic fictional death of all time.

Angel does, in fact, find a moment of true happiness with Buffy, and he loses his soul because of it. It is this epic race to stop the total maniac he was before, and Buffy loves him too much to kill him, even though there is absolutely no sign of his kind and tender former self. But when Angel plans to open a portal that will destroy the world, she knows she has to kill him or send him into the portal, since only his blood can stop what he started.

There is a super dramatic battle between the two, and Buffy is getting ready to stab him through the heart when Angel ‘s soul is suddenly returned to him (let the cries of exaltation and fangirling ensue!).

angel death

He just looks at her and says her name like she’s all he understands, and Buffy just knows he’s returned to her. They have this beautiful moment together, and we the fans are already crying with joy at this point. BUT THEN she sees over his should that the portal has already been opened, which means the end of the world if she doesn’t make a decision to act, and you can just see in her eyes how it guts her. Angel clearly has no idea of her inner struggle as she tearfully admits that she never stopped loving him. Then she tells him to close his eyes and that everything is going to be all right. . . . AND THEN SHE STABS HIM!

buffy sob

Believe me, we all felt that mortal wound to our core. Angel looks so confused and betrayed because he’s her Angel, and he has no idea why she would do that to him. It’s so tragic because it was Angelus who did those horrible things, and now he’s our sweet Angel again and has no idea that Buffy had to kill him to save the world. The torment!!! All he knows is that Buffy stabbed him and then let him get sucked into the portal to close it, and there’s no time to explain. So he dies confused and hurt and betrayed. The gut-wrenching death of Angel was analyzed and cried over for weeks, and we still shudder when we think on it nearly two decades later. Don’t even get me started on how much we cried during “I Will Remember You” from Angel.

buffy angel sobbing

Now, please excuse me while I consume an entire chocolate pie after reopening these very real wounds caused by fictional characters and their demises.

 

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Everbound, Take Me Away!

Published March 25, 2013 by Ashley Townsend

Sorry I’ve been so absent, guys! Finishing up some stuff for spring break-HALLELUJAH!!!!—and having the best week ever with my friend Rebekah from Colorado. Our activities basically revolved around Coronado Beach, Starbucks, the San Diego Zoo, Starbucks, day trips up mountains, Starbucks, Sea Port Village, and some Starbucks runs thrown in, just in case you didn’t catch that before. BUT I couldn’t leave you hanging totally, and I’ve been dying to write something about the latest book I’ve read. You all know how much I loved “Everneath” by Brodi Ashton and that the sequel, “Everbound” was on my Most Anticipated of 2013 list. Yes, I was giddy, I was exultant and will always cherish that moment when Liz brought that sweet little parcel of goodness home to me—and the cover is just as incredible as the first, too! I think I devoured the book in two days and was almost late for work both days. It starts off slower like “Everneath,” but both books keep you constantly engaged and never really have a point where they lag.

Okay, so just a refresher, in case you didn’t read my review of “Everneath,” which you can find on my Goodreads page: Loved the first book! It was interesting, fairly well-paced, and for once—move aside, Bella!—the book centered on a NOT self-centered heroine, Nikki. I really liked Nikki’s character, her story, her back story, her disintegrating romance with Jack when she returns from being trapped in the Everneath for a hundred years. And that brings me to my next point: I was very concerned about the Everneath aspect of it and was a little hesitant to read the sequel, since this wasn’t quite so prevalent in the first book. But “Everneath” ended on such a cliff-hanger, almost literally, that I wanted to give “Everbound” a little try. I was so glad I did, though the ending forced me through a wading pool of tissues made out of tears of betrayal. Yeah, that good, and I mean that seriously! No character has ever broken my heart like that. Bring it on! Oh, and heads up that I gave the sequel five stars, especially for the fact that the author could make me so wounded and passionate over the ending.

The book starts off a couple weeks after Jack takes Nikki’s place in the tunnels, and I am literally giddy over the fact that Cole and Nikki have to work together. Don’t ask me why I loved him so much in the first book, because I can’t really be sure. He wasn’t the guy you’re supposed to root for, and I didn’t really in “Everneath,” but I always looked forward to his cheeky attitude and killer grin to enter a scene. Anyway, I was REALLY looking forward to having him in most of the book. Jack, yes, is the hero of the story, and we all know that Nikki will end up with him. But to be totally honest, I didn’t really miss him in this story; the flashbacks and dreams that she has of him were enough for me, and then it was Cole Time.

cole and nikki are working together. Yippee

And then when Nikki finally convinces Cole to help her go to the Everneath to save Jack, I was pretty ecstatic.

giddy

I was expecting the Everneath to be kind of creepy, which is why I was so hesitant. But it actually reminded me more of one of those sandy Star Wars’ worlds with all the dunes and mud houses, for some reason, and it also had a “Pilgrim’s Progress” feel, since emotions affect a lot of the outcomes of the places they have to go. Like the mists in the caves draw out your negative emotions, other places confuse you, etc. And in every instance, I found myself falling totally for Cole. Jack was hardly in the story, only in her dreams—no pun intended—and so there was plenty of space for him in my heart. I don’t think I’ve ever fallen for a bad boy in a story like this before, so kudos to the author! He still had some of his cheeky, Cole tendencies, but the things he did seemed to always be for her benefit. *sigh, sigh, and dreamy SIGH* And then there is this beautiful moment when Cole wraps his arms around Nikki to protect her from this huge wave of rocks and water, and he nearly dies, and she has to do CPR–man, I wish I was her–and he’s all bruised and battered. Oh, come on, Brodi! Can you make me love him any more? Ah, the answer to that is a solid yes.

Which brings us to the Sirens. Awesomeness! These things turn into what you most desire and want at that moment, and the Siren trying to entice Cole is a Nikki doppelganger! Awww. Break my heart! Long story short, Nikki kiss Cole to save his life–don’t you love when that happens. And I was like, “Yes, yes, YES! Finally!” cole is hereSuccess! And then he grins because he knew that only the real Nikki would do something like that to save his life. AwwwwwwwwwWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!

i love him, I love him

Just as they’re about to release Jack, Cole kicks Nikki from the Everneath, and without his help, she can’t come back, to stop him, I was sure. I was honestly shocked and so upset, because I was sure Cole had done something stupid, like traded places with Jack, because I knew there was something he wasn’t telling her. My worst fears were confirmed when Jack suddenly appears in Nikki’s house, totally alive and released. No, Cole wouldn’t, he didn’t….

tear

Now I’m stuck wondering what happened to Cole, since this all occurred in the last six pages. I was so upset that I was even hoping that maybe Cole had tricked Nikki and came back pretending to be Jack so she would give up her search. I could deal with that betrayal—THAT betrayal. irritation and confusionBut then Cole appeared.

breathing in and out

Where has he been, why is he acting so strange, why is he so surprised and upset that Jack made it back? And then he says something like, “Let me just enjoy this moment, this final moment where in your eyes, I’m still a hero.”

coooooooleI already know it’s coming, but how bad, you ask? Well, the entire time Cole has been tricking Nikki, because he LOVES her–I still choose to believe–to get her to the Everneath so that she would kiss him three times, of her own free will, so that her heart will be his forever. Even his avoidance of her before they start off on their trek was planned.

what

no he di-ent

he did not lieThe LIES!

he wasn't actually bad, was he

He wouldn’t. No.

HOW COULD HE?!!!!

HOW COULD HE?!!!!

cooooooole

CURSE YOU, BRODI ASHTON!!!!

oh, colesadness

crying

so many feelings

book out window

Then I did this in a fit of emotion, immediately regretted it, ran to save the book, hugged it to my chest, and cried.

And then the tears of betrayal start:

Yeah, so that’s basically it. The entire book is a-mazing, then the ending rips your heart out. And I gave it a five? Yes, because the fact that I can fall totally in love with a character, deny that they’re evil and try to convince my sister Liz that Cole really does love her, and then mark all the pages for the beautiful scenes before he turned selfish again means that this was a good book. Yes, my heart was broken into a million pieces, and I curled up with my sock monkey, a blanket, and listened to “Everybody Hurts” on my bedroom floor in total darkness, and I STILL hurt thinking about it. And yet I’ll probably buy it anyway, just to feel the pain, because it means I’m alive!!!!! Okay, that was me being dramatic, but it’s seriously one of those painfully awesome books that you want to read on a rainy day to relive the pain. No idea why, it’s just that good.

Palooooza Time!

Published November 9, 2012 by Ashley Townsend

Okay, so I woke up this morning feeling a little forlorn because this is the first Friday in over two months that we aren’t working on the Fruit of the Spirit Challenge together. I hope you all are still keep at it, though! And then I realized that we haven’t done an Ashley Townsend and Friend’s Reading Extravaganza! day in quite awhile. I thought it was time to remedy that, since I have read so many books lately. As always, there were quite a few flops when you read that many novels, but there were also a few jems that really stuck out of the pack. Here are some of the more recent books that I reviewed, and you can follow the link below to my Goodreads page to see what else I’m up to in the world of reading.  

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5839773.Ashley_Townsend

************* FAVORITE NEW BOOK: Wow. I love this book! I was a little skeptical at frst because I wasn’t sure how the author would weave the myth of Persephone into the story or if it would get too dark and weird (I wasn’t into a really dark, mystical tale), but she honestly blew me away. I haven’t had much time to dedicate to one book alone because I have been reviewing a few at a time lately, but I honestly could not put “Everneath” down. The main girl in the story, Nikki, was actually very endearing, and I really understood why she was so shy. She was well fleshed-out, endearing, kind, broken, and very selfless for the most part, though as a reader you can still see her inner struggle,. That’s what drew me to her the most; she was REAL. It was also refreshing to have a selfless heroine in the story who didn’t spend every page whining and pining (GAG! It’s been done!). I fell for the girl’s long-lost love interest, Jack, instantly, but I had this twisted desire to have Cole, the man who fed off of Nikki’s emotions for a century, on every page. For those of you who have read “Shatter Me,” he is a bit of a Warner in the way that they are so evil that when they show any humanity, you just want to love them because you know they really do love the girl. Cole was even better than my Warner fettish, though! I really appreciated how the author hardly used ANY language, and there was no awkward foreplay that some of the books I’ve read recently have felt the need to thrust upon their readers. I usually just roll my eyes, gasp, cover my eyes, and then blindly flip the page, so it saved me a lot of paper cuts! If you are a fan of mythology, intriguing plots, clever and endearing characters and bad guys, and an ending that will blow your socks off and then make you cry, then you should definitely read this book. If you’re not a fan of any of these, then read it anyway! Everbound and Requiem are my must-read upcoming books. Urg. So long!

***** LOVED IT! I was a little concerned within the first few chapters because there were so many different elements to the author’s world that, if not handled properly, could turn out to be extremely ridiculous, so I was incredibly surprised when Veronica turned some possibly silly and over-used concepts into a fantastic and fascinating world with interesting and well-developed characters. There was so much that I loved about this book! The vast difference between the outer lands and the many domed cities that the author created were intriguing, and I loved the meshing of a post-apocalyptic society with a futuristic dystopian one inside of the cities where everything is fabricated and controlled (the “realms” reminded me a lot of “The Last Christian” novel, which I read a while ago). I loved how Veronica got RIGHT into the action; I never felt that the story lagged in any way, and that is very hard to keep me constantly engaged once the action has passed. Perry was a fantastic love interest—caring, strong, heroic, valiant, super cool—and I really loved having the book from his perspective, as well, because readers get to see his emotional bond with his nephew and how much he cares for those around him. I also thought he had this intriguing “Indian” vibe with his heightened hearing that I really liked because it helped me to have a visual of the outer lands. Aria bothered me a little at first (stop WHINING!!!!He’s trying to HELP you!), but I warmed up to her quickly as she changed her attitude, and I actually ended up really liking her. This story was definitely a page turner, and I still cannot get over how technical and enjoyable the society was, especially the people that inhabit each territory. Great ending and looking forward to the next book … And by looking forward I mean that I’m counting the days and have added the sequel to my “Upcoming” board on my Pinterest and look at it every day. ^__^

**** A fantastic retelling of Jane Austen’s “Persuasion.” Diana did a wonderful job of finding the middle ground between Austen’s more lofty and wordy language that we’ve all come to know and love and the more relaxed form that we are more used to, making it very engaging and appealing to all readers. She also added a few minor elements of sci-fi to this classic story, and I really enjoyed the twists and interest that these touches gave to the novel. The heroine, our very own Elliot North, was much more likeable in this story than in the original Austen tale, and I wanted to shout “You go, girl!” when she stuck up for herself in the end. I also really loved how the author included the letters between Elliot and Kai throughout the novel so that we could see more of the leading male than his stony persona allowed. All in all, a wonderful read for anyone and definitely worth taking the time for if you’re a fan of Jane Austen! 

If you want more book reviewing madness–with a side helping of awesome–then check out my sister’s review and more blog: http://booksandwonderfulthings.wordpress.com/

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