Everlessby Published 02 Jan 2018
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 and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that 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.
What if the person to be feared is me?
I know you shouldn't go into a book expecting the worst, but these days it's hard not to approach any new YA fantasy without some trepidation. The genre is often tropey and unoriginal. Publishers churn out versions of the same old story again and again. It's hard to find the hidden gems among the pile. But Everless really surprised me.
It's not a perfect book by any means and Holland does fall into some traps commonly fallen into by debut authors - namely, the huge infodump in the first few chapters, and some confusing descriptions of the world-building and mythology that I didn't really understand for a long time. But it's okay. Because the mysteries here are interesting, the premise one I haven't come across before, and many things are... not what you first think.
Everless introduces a world where time is currency and a person's time can be drained or added to through blood. Punishments often involve bleeding a person's time from them, which in this world is the morbid equivalent of paying a fine. The richest, of course, have the most time and can, in theory, live indefinitely. While the poorest - like Jules Ember and her Papa - must literally bleed themselves dry to pay rent, cutting their lifespan down further and further.
Jules watches her father sicken day by day as he gives up more of his time. In order to save him, she takes a job as a servant at Everless, the estate of the Gerlings - one of the wealthiest and most important families in Sempera. As we soon find out, though, Everless is a big part of Jules's past, as well as her future. There are many secrets to be uncovered and Jules must find out the truth of why her Papa always warned her away from the place.
I found it extremely compelling. Holland introduces familiar tropes, but then she subverts and plays around with them. The obvious romance was not as obvious as I first believed, and the villains came as quite a surprise. Don't be so sure who are the bad guys and who are the good guys.
It is the kind of story that gets bigger and bigger as it moves along. The quiet mystery keeps on expanding and adding ever more questions. And I think the author really does this unique premise justice. She includes small moments, unrelated to the main story, that are deeply sad. Such as this:
An older couple, two women with backs curved with too much work and too few years, hunch over a small table in the corner, taking turns cutting each other's palms and letting the blood flow into empty vials. I wonder if they're putting time away for their children.
How awful to imagine a world where people bleed themselves, take years off their lives, to give their children a better life. How awful and how... believable. It is the perfect metaphor for what many poor parents in our world do for their kids.
I thought it was a really interesting and engaging story. I enjoyed Jules's perspective and I'm excited by the hints of romantic possibility set up for the next book. I should warn you-- Everless ends on a particularly evil cliffhanger, but I wouldn't let that put you off. If you're anything like me, it'll just heighten the anticipation for the next book. Write fast please, Ms Holland!
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
Oh, I loved this. Full of mystery, intrigue, and... well, more mystery.
The plot was super fun and unique, and for the life of me, I couldn't predict a thing. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a page-turner here. I'm pretty sure I read the whole thing in almost 24 hours - I seriously couldn't set it down after the 20% mark.
Really quick - a big thank you to the publisher for providing me with an arc!
In a world where time is bound to blood, and people exchange blood/time currency to live, we follow Jules, the protagonist, as she makes the difficult decision to return to work at Everless, an estate owned by one of the most powerful families in the kingdom (and dangerous, I might add.) Jules and her father previously worked there, but due to a nasty accident and threats from one of the Everless sons, Jules father was determined to keep her from ever going back.
But now she needs the money.
Sooooo Jules returns and works as a servant, though she is quickly noticed by the two sons she knew as a child. All the while, she discovers some big secrets about her past and why she was really kept away from the Everless estate. Craziness ensues when the Queen arrives. Jules's father shows up and begs her to run away and stay far away from the Queen. BUT WHY?! So basically, we have a very confused Jules who keeps finding tidbits about her past and how its woven through a mysterious history linking back to when time was originally bound to blood iron. Which probably makes no sense without reading. Just roll with it.
Anyway, I can't say anything else without giving up some major secrets, but I recommend going in blind. There are so many twists and turns, and wowzah, a major plot twist. I did NOT see it coming, and I always see them coming. I'm not even sure if I'm particularly happy with the direction, but I don't care because the concept was SO COOL. My only complaint is the magic system, while it was SO AMAZING, also felt a bit muddy at times, and the book was a *touch* slow in the beginning. Whatever, I don't even care because I loved it overall.
Basically, all the stars for the crazy cool, totally original tale. One of the most unique magic system's I've ever seen. And if you're wondering about romance? Literally, anything I say will be a spoiler, but it was fairly minimal - but a really interesting set up for the sequel. I typically have to have a *smidge* of feels or someone to root for romantically, and you'll definitely feel that way here, so don't worry. And if you're someone who prefers romance to be minimal and not take over the plot, well... check. You'll be pleased as well.
Needless to say, I'm ready for book two...
My Blog ~ Instagram ~ Twitter ~ Etsy
Release date: January 2, 2018
Every so often I find a book that I simultaneously want to shove at everyone I see, yet also keep hidden & secret... because I just love it SO MUCH? I really don't have the right words to explain how much I adored this entire story. It's easily one of the best YA fantasy books I've ever read and totally a new favorite!
Jules lives in a world where time is drawn from blood and forged into the currency of blood-iron coins, which the wealthy drink to live longer. This isn't just an idea that's casually thrown into the story like some interesting seasoning, though. The whole concept is fully explored and so deeply ingrained in every part of the story that it becomes.... aaah ok I really can't even begin to describe how real this whole world became. It was SO fascinating, though!!
The book description is pretty accurate, so I think I'm just going to say what elements stood out for me. First of all, the writing is just amazing. It was almost mesmerizing at times and flowed really well. And the worldbuilding was complex, yet done so well that it felt simple. And I LOVED the winter setting so, so much. And the kitchens (yes, I'm predictable).
But for real - this book seriously did everything right! I never once had to suspend belief to get into anything and never wanted to read faster or have the story go back to spend more time on something. The pacing was absolutely perfect. Everything unfolded with just the right amount of suspense to keep me invested but didn't withhold info so long that I stopped caring. I don't even know this author but I want to hug her.
I know most of my review is talking about what the book didn't do, but I think it worked so well for me that it really highlighted what's been lacking in many other books I've read lately. I've been wondering if I've just read too much YA fantasy and can't properly enjoy a book anymore or something. But this was EVERYTHING I wanted to read and I don't have a single complaint (except maybe that I don't have the sequel right now).
There's a hint of a slow burn hate-to-love relationship with a brooding guy that's perfectly set up for the sequel, but Jules and her journey of self-discovery are the main focus in this book. There is zero instalove or time wasted on any love triangle. And I was expecting the main plot twists, but that honestly didn't matter in the end because the fun of the story was more in seeing how everything fit together.
I totally loved Jules, too. She was completely believable, actually had agency, and all of her actions MADE SENSE. She never once irritated me and I was genuinely invested in her story. The fact that time does weird things around Jules never seemed like any special snowflake trope, either... especially by the end. I also liked that Jules had relationships with characters of all ages (like an older woman and younger boy in the kitchens). And it was so great to see how even the side characters felt like fully developed, complete people.
The story vaguely reminded me of Red Queen at times (which I loved). But if you're not a fan of that series then just ignore that comparison because this really is a wonderfully unique story! I can't even imagine how many drafts it took to get an ARC that's this perfectly polished, but I am seriously impressed right now.
Thank you to the author for sending me an ARC.
ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Maybe I would have really enjoyed this if I hadn't read so much YA Fantasy. Maybe a younger Melanie would have ate this up and asked for seconds. Sadly, I’m just at the point in my life where I feel like I’ve read this all before.
And the aspect of this story that is really cool and different is the everyone’s lifespan is their currency. In this world, you can bind your blood to iron to make coins. And they come in amounts of hours to years. Now this is absolutely amazing, and I love the concept completely, but my friend, Em, pointed out how similar it is to the movie In Time starring Justin Timberlake and I just couldn’t unsee the similarities.
The last negative thing I’ll say is that the romance isn’t very compelling, swoon-worthy, or even that good. It was very obvious, over the top, and added nothing to the story for me. And towards the end of this book, there was an opportunity for the main character to be like “I love and choose myself!” or even “I love and choose my family!” but instead it reads like she’s just picking another boy, and it felt so ungodly bad to read. Like, a rotten cherry on a mediocre sundae, you know?
But I don’t think this is a “bad” book per say. And I don’t feel like the author is directly copying In Time or is breaking any copyright laws or anything along those lines. This just wasn’t the book for me, personally, but there are ton of high reviews for this book so maybe take my review with a grain of salt.
As for a synopsis, this is a story about a girl that has lived her life running from her past. Her and her father once lived in Everless, where her father worked as a blacksmith and she was able to play with the two royal brothers. But after an almost tragic incident, her and her father were forced to flee, in hopes to forever live their life in hiding.
But the cost of living is expensive, and it’s exceptionally pricey if you pay in the currency of your life. Wanting to protect her father, our main protagonist, Jules, runs away to Everless to work among the people her father has continuously warned her against ever seeing again. Jules tries to stay undercover half the time, but the other half she literally doesn’t listen, or care, or forgets, or something. But regardless, we get thrown into a world of lies and deceit, and prophecies and old story book tales.
Overall and again, I didn’t think was a terrible book by any means, it just felt like the same YA Fantasy story to me. Plus, it had an opportunity to be very powerful to young girls, and it just ended up reading like you always have to love a boy. Plus, I honestly couldn’t care less about any of the characters. Like, they felt so one dimensional to me, and Jules was the worst undercover character I’ve probably ever read about, despite her father’s very serious warnings. Again, I’m very much in the minority with my feelings towards this book, so hopefully if you pick it up you will enjoy it a lot more than I did.
Blog | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Youtube | Twitch
Buddy read with Destiny, Em, & Elise! ❤
December Fairyloot with link to close up pics ♥