Thanks to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: Available Now
Synopsis: In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.
No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she an her father were servants at Everless, the Gerling’s palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers her father is dying, she knows she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.
But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.
Huh. Okay, so this was different. Of course I mean that in a totally good way because Everless is definitely a YA fantasy that stands out from the pack.
I’m going to start with the world-building and mythology, which except for the very beginning, I LOVED! I’m not sure if it was just me, but for the first couple of chapters, I floundered a bit. I felt as though I was immediately dropped into this strange world where time is extracted from people’s blood and used as currency. It didn’t feel like there was quite enough backstory as to how this all came about. To be honest, I’m still a little confused. But this is a minor complaint because I was still completely sucked in.
The main characters are fully formed and seemed to be ready to walk off the page. Jules is a wonderful heroine who will appeal to readers. She’s clever, resourceful, courageous, and intensely loyal, yet also stubborn which leads her to making mistakes. I was a little disappointed that a couple of interesting characters were introduced, only to disappear for the majority of the story. I’m hoping to see more of them in the next book. There’s a little bit of romance which I found somewhat “meh”, but as it wasn’t the sole focus of the story, it wasn’t really bothersome.
The central mystery kept my attention, and the plot was filled with little twists and turns, but it was the last fifty or so pages that had me racing to the conclusion. The huge reveal left me completely gobsmacked and I found myself re-reading the passage just to confirm that my eyes hadn’t deceived me. The ending is absolutely perfect and sets things up nicely for the second book.
Overall, Everless is a wonderful debut by Sara Holland. It’s left me quite excited for the sequel and I can’t wait to learn even more about Sempera. I highly recommend this for teens and adults who are looking for something unique in YA fantasy.