Oh my, wow! This book is amazing, and a bit of a whirlwind. I have wanted to read this book for years now. Everless kept hiding in my pile of books to read, or it was never available at the library while I was browsing. Now that I’ve read it, I’m so glad I checked out the second book in this duology. You can probably guess what I’m reading next.
If you are looking for the Parent Guide section, it has moved! It will now be at the end of the post. Feel free to read my thoughts or skip to the end.
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This book is a fantasy novel with weird magic and fairytales that come to life. Everless isn’t like some of the other fantasy fairytale retellings I’ve read before. Instead of calling on the lexicon of stories, Sara Holland creates a fairytale that everyone in the land of Sempera knows and discusses frequently. Then she made it come alive.
In this world, time is money. An ancient alchemist figured out how to bind time to blood and metal. How long you live depends on how much you spend and if you can work to earn time. Rent could cost a couple of weeks or a couple of months. Punishments are also extracted in the form of time. If you need more time, you just take the currency, mix it with a bit of warm liquid, and drink it. Everyone wealthy lives for hundreds of years while the rest of society scrapes by and tries to space out their visits to the time lender.
Jules is our leading lady and turns seventeen as the story begins. She lives at the edge of a tiny out of the way village called Crofton with her father. Jules worries that her father is coming to the end of his time. She is determined to do anything to help. She hears a rumor about the Gerlings, one of the largest ruling families. They are hiring a bunch of servants for the queen’s upcoming visit.
Jules’ father has strong feelings about the Gerlings after they banished Jule’s father from Everless. He argues that she won’t be safe there, but Jules doesn’t listen and instead ends up in Everless serving her enemies. Going to Everless puts Jules in more danger than she realizes, and her decisions hold much more weight than she believes. The entire fate of time itself rests in her hands.
The Heroine of Everless
Okay, that’s a bit dramatic but not too far off the mark after finishing the book. Jules is a strong, no-nonsense woman who knows what it is like to love and fight for those around her, especially the underdog. I love how we also get a peek into her vulnerable side as she uncovers secrets about the past. They shake her foundation and make her question everything, but they also help her discover her real identity.
Time is Money
Everless started kind of slow and then became a rush at the end. I don’t know if Sara Holland did it on purpose, but she plays with the tempo in the book similarly to how Jules can slow and stop time. Don’t worry, I didn’t spoil anything. Jules shows this ability in the first couple of pages. Her power is so crucial to everything that happens throughout the rest of the book. The fact that Jules can somewhat control time is what makes this book different from all the other “time is money” books out there. This isn’t a new concept but one individual bending it to her will changes the status quo.
Plot Points in Everless
Another thing that I liked about Everless was the romance or lack thereof. There is a love interest, and by the way, I totally called who she ends up with! Very proud of myself for that. I like that the love interest part doesn’t take center stage. It isn’t the main conflict or plot. Granted, it does create a lot of problems and messy feelings. Love usually does that in books. I’m also a fan of how this isn’t an insta-love story. That being the case, I can’t wait to see how the relationship develops in the next book.
There are a few points in the book where the author introduces a trope, or a well-established concept frequently used in books or movies. Like when a character discovers a lost relative or falls for their childhood best friend. Multiple times Sara Holland introduces one but then doesn’t follow it the way you expect her to. So instead of being predictable, she turns things on their head or just ignores what she just dangled in front of the reader. Some people will find this super frustrating, but I liked how she keeps the readers on their toes from start to finish. It was a refreshing read because I couldn’t predict what was happening, besides calling the love interest.
For all of my parents of readers out there, here is an inside peek into this great book. There are 2 swear words in the entire book, and the second time is a replay of the first. I appreciated this because there are other books similar to this one with a lot more language. Adult content-wise, there is one kiss in the book, but you aren’t paying attention to the kiss because of other things happening at the same time.
Compared with other books in this genre, the violence is less but more concentrated around the climax. Throughout Everless there are tense and threatening moments that could become violent, but the situation diffuses, or it’s a dream. The most violent scene happens right at the climax of the story when two people are murdered in front of Jules. There is some gore, and lots of blood. The descriptions are quick, and the story moves on to the next part. Even though these are gruesome deaths, I got a very theatrical vibe from the scene. The scene is something that would be in a PG-13 movie.
This book is super good. I recommend it to all my fantasy lovers out there. Everless is best for young adults and teens twelve and up because of the violent end. If you are a fan of the Ruby Red series or Three Dark Crowns you’ll love Everless.
There are so many amazing books to read if you fell in love with this one. The above-mentioned books are just a starting point. One of my favorites similar to this one is An Enchantment of Ravens. It features a magical artist who paints a fairy and almost gets him killed because of the painting. Another amazing one is A Kiss of Deception, about a princess who runs away from an arranged marriage. The twist with that book is both a prince and an assassin are after her, but you don’t know which one is which. So is she falling for the prince or the assassin? If you need more ideas check out this blog post.
I hope you will join me in starting the second book in the series, Evermore. I’m super pumped to see what happens with Jules. Until next time,