Release-Day Review: Everless by Sara Holland (Everless #1)


Everless by Sara Holland // VBC ReviewEverless (Everless #1)
Sara Holland
Published: Jan. 2, 2018 (HarperTeen)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

In the kingdom of Sempera time is used as currency, bound to blood, and adhered to iron. When consumed it can extend life for those who imbibe. The Gerlings are a family of the aristocracy, and they tax the poor as much as possible forcing people to give their life force as payment, and in turn the Gerlings use it to extend their own lives. To say this causes a bit of resentment is an understatement.

No one feels that resentment more than Jules Ember. Ten years ago, an incident forced Jules and her father to flee from Everless, the Gerlings family estate. Now, Jules is forced to go back to keep her father from giving all his blood in order to make payments on their homestead. Jules knows that she left under questionable circumstances; she just hopes enough time has elapsed that no one remembers her. Jules returns on the heels of a visit to the estate by the Queen of Sempera, and with that visit comes warnings of things best left in the past. But now that the question is out there, Jules can’t let the past lie.

Everless gets the honor of being a truly unique and unassuming book. I love books and love reading, naturally, so I think it’s fair to say that it’s easy to feel like you’ve read the same plot devices or storylines repeatedly. I had thought Everless would fulfill this same expectation, but by the end I realized how wrong I was. We all know the saying about those who assume right?

I loved the unexpected places that Everless takes Jules Ember, and by extension the reader, as Jules tries to acclimate what she remembers of her past with the new discoveries of the present, and what really happened that day ten years ago at Everless. Unfortunately, this was also a bit of the downfall while reading for me as well. Jules goes back to Everless with the need to earn more time for her ailing father. She doesn’t go back with the intention to blow the doors open on long-held secrets, but that’s exactly what ends up happening to her. This causes her to kind of stumble through the story a bit too much for me, she doesn’t have a clear path leading her to answers, she’s not specifically following clues, a lot of what she discovers, and how, is due to chance. I’m hoping, however, with where things leave us, that this aspect will be different in the next book.

I loved, despite the book blurb, that the romantic aspect of the story wasn’t as exaggerated up as I thought it would be. When Jules returns to Everless, she remembers her childhood friend, and Gerling, Roan with much affection, and she remembers his older brother Liam with much less affection. Who the brothers are, and who Jules remembers them as, is just another piece to the mysterious puzzle readers and Jules are tasked with figuring out. While we get a pretty good idea by the end, not everything is explicitly worked out for us, and I can’t wait to find out more answers.

Everless starts the year on a good note. It’s a twisting and often unpredictable mystery that, despite the precarious situation our characters find themselves in, leaves me eager to see what Sara Holland has up her sleeve next.

Sexual content: kissing

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