Author: Sara Holland
Published By: Orchard Books
Expected Publication: 4th January (whoops!)
I received this book for free via Netgalley, this in no way affected my opinion of the book.
As always, thank you to Netgalley and Orchard Books for allowing me to read this book, I was very excited for it and it was great to get to read it early!
I think Everless was possible one of the most hyped fantasy debuts of 2018? There was a massive buzz around it at YALC but unfortunately my friend and I were too late to get an ARC from there so as soon as I saw it on Netgalley, I jumped at the chance to request and happily, was accepted. I was a bit worried that Everless wouldn’t live up to the colossal hype that I had heard about it, but I really did enjoy it. Here is a short synopsis for the book:
Time is a prison. She is the key. Packed with danger, temptation and desire – a perfect read for fans of The Red Queen.
In the land of Sempera, the rich control everything – even time. Ever since the age of alchemy and sorcery, hours, days and years have been extracted from blood and bound to iron coins. The rich live for centuries; the poor bleed themselves dry.
Jules and her father are behind on their rent and low on hours. To stop him from draining himself to clear their debts, Jules takes a job at Everless, the grand estate of the cruel Gerling family.
There, Jules encounters danger and temptation in the guise of the Gerling heir, Roan, who is soon to be married. But the web of secrets at Everless stretches beyond her desire, and the truths Jules must uncover will change her life for ever … and possibly the future of time itself.
I thought the concept for this one was really cool, it’s not something that I’ve ever seen in a YA fantasy before. I was a little confused at first, there was a lot of information coming all at once, but as the story went on, things became clearer, and I really liked the magic system that the author had set up, I thought it was great and really inventive.
I also really enjoyed her writing, whilst she did have a tendency to info-dump in places, I thought the writing in the book was really pretty, especially in the first couple of chapters.
I’m kind of unsure what to think about Jules? I didn’t mind her, but I wouldn’t say she’s the most memorable of YA heroines ever. I liked that she was described as having brown eyes and curly brown hair because that’s like me and despite the fact that my look is fairly common, the brown eye/brown hair combination is not a common one in YA! But personality wise, she was quite bland, there was nothing about her that really stood out for me. Still it didn’t matter so much, because I enjoyed the plot and despite finding Jules quite bland, I could root for her, so that was good. I find myself getting irritated at her at points though, she made some stupid decisions and gave herself away when she should have, but then I suppose we all make stupid decisions!
I wasn’t overly keen on the casual sexual harassment by the Everless guards towards the girls at the beginning, I didn’t think it was at all necessary.
The plot was a little bit slow at first, even though the main mystery was introduced quite early on, it all unravelled quite slowly through the book, although for the most part the chapters were a decent length (with the occasional overly long one) so it didn’t take me too long to get through them and I was engaged throughout because I wanted to find out the mystery behind Jules. I had various ideas about where the mystery would go and I was completely wrong, so the twists at the end were very effective!
I wasn’t overly thrilled by the romance, though that seems to be a recurring theme in YA fiction! I didn’t really feel the spark between Jules and Roan, despite the fact that she went on and on (and on) about him and I didn’t really feel it between Liam and Jules either and am I the only one who thinks the two brothers love triangle needs to die a painful death? Cause seriously, not cool.
There were some uncorrected proof errors but that’s to be expected and I’m sure they will be fixed in the final book.
There was a minor thing that bothered me, it was slightly disconcerting when Jules mentioned riding Western style and I didn’t know if that necessarily fits in a fantasy world? I don’t know, I just found it jarring.
The last few chapters went along at breakneck speed, it almost seemed too fast, we got reveal after reveal and whilst it was very exciting, I would have preferred it if the pacing was more even throughout! Still I loved the twists at the end, I didn’t guess any of them. I need the second book after the way this book ended because MAN THAT WAS SOMETHING. It’s hard to talk about without being spoilery, so I’ll just say that it’s pretty awesome.
Overall, this was a great debut, the pacing might have been a little off and I didn’t totally love the MC, but it was a unique idea, executed and written well, the resolution to the mystery was absolutely mind blowing and it kept me on my toes all the way through the book. I look forward to the sequel, Evermore, next year!
My Rating: 4/5
Bechdel Test: PASS-Bea and Jules have a conversation about the Queen’s servants and Jules, and Caro, Jules and Ina talk about the Queen and Ina and Jules talk about their family and where they came from, lots of conversations between named female characters that aren’t about men!
My next review will be of Anna Day’s The Fandom.