So I took a break from reading The Expanse and space sci-fi novels to read something original by a prominent writer from /r/writingprompts . That sub is actually what got me interested in reading again, so why not right? I saw a post by one of the authors who had turned one of the prompts into a full blown story, and was intrigued. After all, the premise seemed cool:

Instead of the oceans covering the earth, forests are in its place, making it possible to walk from continent to continent. Like oceans, it gets deeper and darker and creatures get more aggressive and rarer to see. You are tasked to document a trek through one of the oceans of your choice

So how do I feel after having read it?

Frustrated. I am so incredibly frustrated at the ending of this book. It built up the tension so very well; the writing style was perfect to show how the main character seemed to be losing his mind and then…the book just ends without answering any of the questions it posed. Bah.

Looks like I’m not alone in my frustrations: https://www.reddit.com/r/JacksonWrites/comments/3r9ez6/evergreen_ending_what_happened/

In the thread above, a lot of people voice similar frustrations at being left at the end with all the mysteries basically unsolved. It’s…unpleasant.

But let’s talk about said mysteries, shall we? Perhaps we can come to some sort of conclusion. Spoilers start here.

Mystery people

So, let’s describe our problems. (1) People that started the expedition start disappearing and nobody remembers them; (2) people that didn’t start the expedition start appearing and everyone kind of acts like they’ve always been there. Weird, right?

I’d be content thinking they were hallucinations, but that they actually interact with our protagonists. You can take pictures of them, like Veronica, who actually ends up on a picture in Everett’s phone. They actually can interact with the world, like Emily, who definitely fiddles with things.

So okay, definitely not just in Everett’s mind. Plus, that wouldn’t explain how everyone who started the expedition would have the same shared hallucinations. Emily and Rachel basically appear out of nowhere, and everyone accepts that they’ve always been there, complete with false memories of things they’ve done together in the past. Plus, they’re able to interact with the world, manipulating objects (and people haha).

It’s in the water?

So, are they some kind of wood sprites or something? They’re able to travel in the dark zone with everyone, and they have distinct personalities, so they’re individuals. Let’s say they have the ability to manipulate memories. Emily seems very focused on making sure that Everett is always drinking water. Perhaps it’s something in the water that allows them the ability to alter memories?

Veronica seems like a different entity all together. She only appears in the dark zones, and even then, only in complete darkness. It seems like her raison d’etre is to distract Everett and pull him away from the rest of the group. She ultimately succeeds at the end of the book and that’s where it ends >.< , but nevertheless. So she’s definitely some kind of deep sea deep forest predator, and she too has the ability to influence thoughts. Still leaning towards water being the culprit there.

Final Thoughts

The book started slowly. I didn’t even know what genre of book I was reading at first haha, so I thought it was going to be some adventure series. I’m glad I was wrong. Like most books, once the action started picking up, I got more interested in seeing what happened next.

The author does a great job showing Everett’s descent into madness. Between his own inner monologue being like “Hey wait; what happened to Alex?” or “Do I know this girl?” and him having to repeat actions multiple times to make them happen, you get a definite sense of Everett questioning his own sanity. The tone was set really well.

But I personally am not a fan of mysteries being laid out and then unsolved. In the reddit thread above, the author says there are enough clues for us to figure it out ourselves, but that to me is a cop out. I read a story to be entertained, not to be frustrated. Bah.

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