Blurb from Goodreads:
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 can I say? I’ve found the book to marry! Everless isn’t just gorgeous from the outside, it’s story stuns through and through. Its idea reminds me of the movie, In Time, where time is also used as currency. But that’s where the similarities end. Everless leans heavily on fantasy. Its world is more complex and layered. It’s also bloodier because the characters actually bleed themselves in this book to produce blood-iron, which they then use to pay bills or buy food.
“I know better than to be afraid of stories.”
Everless is like a journey of self-discovery for the main character—Jules. What’s remarkable about this book is how it constantly fuels your interest with the gradual revelations about Jules’s identity. It’s really impressive how Sara Holland steadily gives out tiny reveals about Jules without completely losing the mystery. For every reveal, a new question also rises up, adding more layer to the plot.
This book isn’t trope-free though. It does contain some pretty common tropes. But Holland really played with those, and served them with a sprinkle of unpredictability. At first, it’s like reading a very typical YA fantasy, and I was certain where the story would go. Then there’s the snap—the sound of my theories breaking. Hollad did a great job subverting her readers’ expectations in this one.
The world-building, particularly the mythology part, is admittedly a bit confusing and uncertain. It could use more improvements. Once you’ve got a grip of the world though, its history, its magic system, and its present state, it becomes easy to forgive the sketchy details of the mythology.
Romance is very minimal in this book and yet it’s intensely enticing. I don’t usually care about the romance in a book—as long as it’s not overly annoying. But for this particular book, I found myself craving for it. Holland lets you believe that you’re reading an obvious and predictable romance. She even lets you believe you’re reading about an upcoming love triangle. But, hell no! Apparently, she’s not done taking things away from their usual path.
One of things that makes Everless extremely compelling is its glorious twists. The villain isn’t just powerful, isn’t just difficult to beat, but came as a massive surprise too. And that’s coming from me who’s not easily surprised—not with the hundreds of books I’ve been to.
The ending is a cliff-hanger. A very good cliff-hanger. One that promises a fight with hints of a romance worthy of shipping. One that would surely make readers grab the next book.