Book Title: Everless
Author: Sara Holland
REVIEWED BY: DENNIS
Series: Everless #1
Genres: YA, Fantasy Fiction
Pub Date: 01/02/18
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.
Sara Holland’s Everless is an exhilarating, fantastic read of a lifetime. We are looking at the next Hunger Games, the next Maze Runner, the next new blockbuster read for 2018. Sara Holland’s debut novel will captivate you from the moment you crease the first page. I am stunned to see that this is a debut novel because it was so masterfully told that I just needed to finish it and see what happens.
In another realm, similar but very different to the one we currently live in, is a kingdom of Sempera. In Sempera, time is converted into money and riches. The source of this time comes from an individual’s own blood—turn into the currency of blood iron, that they can be transferred between person to person. Ultimately, people can live for centuries or die at a very young age, and all it takes is having the influence and power to farm this currency. Sempera shows vast inequality between the classes of people, where the rich tax the poor in exchange for blood iron. A prime example of that is by the Gerlings family taxing impoverished towns within their reign of the kingdom in exchange for “safety”; leaving the poor to struggle with their own mortality, while the Gerlings live for centuries.
The story’s protagonist, Jules Ember resides in a small distant town within the control of the Gerlings and the capital of Everless, with her father, both trying to make ends meet. Jules and her father used to be servants for the Gerlings at their mansion in Everless, until one day they are forced to escape. As a young adult, Jules is given the opportunity to return to Everless for work and help her father with the struggling debt that has accumulated over time for their family. In exchange for working at Everless, Jules can provide blood iron coins to extend her father’s rapidly diminishing life. In Everless, danger and suspicion have greatly caused Jules more grief than she ever knew. Why did her father and her flee Everless in the first place and why is her father adamant on keeping her away from the Queen? Jules has to figure out why if she wants to get to the bottom of her ever-growing list of suspicions.
Like many of you, once I saw that Everless was coming out early January 2018, I just had to pre-order it on Amazon, and I’m so glad that I did. I was immediately drawn into the story and hooked from the very beginning. I felt that Ms. Holland’s story is rich in its originality, with subtle tones of what has worked in the past for so many successful authors. Jules’ personality is very reminiscent of Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games series, but with her own strengths and weaknesses that provide original story telling. As a debut novel, Everless successfully starts the blossoming of what I believe to be a very extraordinary series of fantasy novels.
The only real critic that I have about this story and the only concrete reason why I couldn’t give this a full pledged 5 star rating was that the story had diarrhea of the mouth at the beginning—we were told way too much of the story in the very beginning. I was really excited about everything Ms. Holland provided in the beginning, but then it began to slow down towards the middle of the story. If the story became more of a mystery where we only got bits and pieces as the story progressed, it could’ve provided a more robust storyline of the central plot. Other than that, I believe that Everless has solid characters, a strong plot, and a wickedly exciting sense of entertainment. One disclaimer to all readers: it does end on a cliffhanger. I know some people get frustrated when authors do that and would rather wait for Book #2 and then read both consecutively, but this isn’t a critic for me.
Sara Holland, I’m ready for what’s next in store for the Everless series.