Everless – Sara Holland – Hachette Australia – Published 27 December 2017 (January 2018 US)
There, Jules encounters danger and temptation in the guise of the Gerling heir, Roan, who is soon to be married. But the web of secrets at Everless stretches beyond her desire, and the truths Jules must uncover will change her life for ever … and possibly the future of time itself.
What if time was money? What if the only way to pay your debts was to drain time from your body? Everless is a creative and original fantasy novel that takes alchemy and sorcery and speculates what would happen if it was possible to turn blood into coin.
Jules knows only hunger and a desperate fear that she will be unable to stop her father using the last of his time to pay off their mounting debts. It wasn’t always like this. Once, she and her father lived at the grand Everless estate – as servants, but never hungry or drained of their time. But they had to flee Everless and now her father insists they must stay hidden from the Gerling family. When the opportunity arises to return to Everless for work, Jules can’t resist, especially as she feels it is the only chance to save her father’s dwindling time. However, what she discovers at the Everless estate will change forever her life and how she views her family and her future.
I loved the idea of Everless – time turned into money. The concept is clever and original. The writing is well done. Unfortunately I did not greatly enjoy this novel. While I cannot fault the writing and the idea is genius, I couldn’t connect with the characters nor the story. The majority of the book is all about buildup, laying the foundations of the story and the world. While there are no chunks of information overloading, it seems the entire story was simply laying the path for future events and filling in the backstory. I was disengaged from the story and the characters. It wasn’t until the very end that things actually start to become interesting, and I’m sure the next book in the series will be more engaging and exciting.
Everless has a historical feel and I can see the appeal for fans of shows such as Downton Abbey, and readers who enjoy intrigue and fantasy with that historical feel. Everless certainly focuses more on mysteries slowly uncovered and secrets long buried, rather than fast-paced action, but this suited the tone of the novel.
Jules is a stubborn character, determined to make her own way in life and angry at the state of her world. However, I found it hard to believe Jules’ anger towards the aristocracy, to view her occasional thoughts about their waste as authentic, as she spends the majority of her time swooning over Roan, and seemingly idolising Ina and the Queen. I didn’t understand Jules’ quest for vengeance, nor her haphazard plans – no thought, no real action. I had no love for Roan and didn’t understand Jules’ infatuation with him. A silly crush that doesn’t match the years spent cold while he literally sat around burning time. Why is Jules (sometimes) so angry at the rich, but this never extends to the equally wasteful Roan?
Readers who enjoy fantasy that is quietly paced and focused on political intrigue, mysteries, and secrets are sure to enjoy this creative story.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Money, time, classes, royalty, parents, fathers, debt, servant and servitude, alchemy, sorcery.
Reading age guide: Ages 12 and up.
Advisory: Vague descriptions of blood-letting.
Published: 27 December 2017 by Hachette Australia (4 January 2018 by HarperTeen in US).
Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. 480 pages.