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Everless Hardcover – Deckle Edge, January 2, 2018
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“Sara Holland is a fierce storyteller. An intoxicating blend of blood, secrets, and haunting mythology, Everless gives new and terrifying meaning to the phrase running out of time.” (Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of Caraval)
“Debut author Holland builds this world effortlessly. The author captures a fierce and solid female protagonist in Jules and surprising plot twists and unexpected villains make this series opener the next big thing. An action-packed, must-have fantasy for all YA shelves.” (School Library Journal)
“Holland’s lush, intricately drawn world hides an undercurrent of darkness underneath a veneer of beauty and finery, and the twists are genuinely surprising. Jules’s first-person narration reveals a smart, resilient young woman determined to reconcile her past with an uncertain future. Readers will eagerly await her next journey.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Propelled by inventive lore and magic, Jules’ story is a heady, addicting page-turner—especially for readers who prize worldbuilding over romance. Utterly absorbing; a must for fans of Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass (2012) and its sequels.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Holland’s debut is set in an intricate and immersive fantasy world. The concept of Everless is refreshing and unique, and readers will be desperate to figure out Jules’ history as she unravels it.” (Booklist)
About the Author
Sara Holland grew up between small-town Minnesota and the countless fictional worlds of books. She graduated from Wesleyan University and worked in a tea shop, a dentist’s office, and a state capitol building before heading to New York to work in publishing. These days, she can be found exploring the city’s bookstores or finding new ways to put caffeine in her bloodstream. Everless is her debut novel. Visit her online at www.sarahollandwrites.com.
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Hopeful for the next book.
Jules, our main character, has to go work for Everless estate to save her father from death. Being back there after a decade (when she and her father were chased off) means she is stepping back into a world she hates, but the thought of her childhood friend Roan consoles her. However, soon the Queen visits the estate and Jules gets caught up in their business – and her plan to get vengeance on the estate have a significant role in the ladder she climbs. Jules is a bit naive and sometimes I really wanted to shake her. She goes into a plan half-prepared and only her ability flaring up to protect her saves her skin most of the time. On a plot standpoint, she is trying to uncover a mystery and that mystery has a slightly Gothic feel to it – there’s this manor and there is a lot of secrecy involved and a vault that is not to be entered.
Time and an age-old story play a part in directing the actions around Jules. The story of the Alchemist and the Sorceress gives most of the details and connects all the weird events in the book, but there are some things which are still left unexplained, like the source of the magic (apparently even hedge witches can wield time) and Jules’ ability to alter the flow of time. Also, first the Alchemist is designated as male in the stories but the names of the Alchemist are all female-sounding? Also, why do the young nobles consume blood iron if they don’t need it (assuming they already know how much time they have in their veins). And more importantly, I don’t think we’ve explored the possibilities of a world where you literally know how much time you have left?!
So, on a plot level, the story is good. But the world building needs more work – it wasn’t until like the last quarter than the economy of blood iron even made sense. And I still don’t get why they had to start to use that as currency, though, if they already had a system in place (presumably) prior to it. As for characters, I think it could’ve been better in explaining the ties between the female characters? Ina feels important in the start and then she is practically out of the picture. As for romance, well, it has little to no romance element. She is interested in Roan but well, he is not the right person for her. Liam felt like another character I want to shake – dude, like how about NOT being so emo and moody? A little communication would’ve done both him and Jules some good.
Overall, it’s an interesting story, and I’m interested in how the events of the epilogue work out. It was certainly entertaining, but also a bit predictable. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to the sequel.
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Harper Teen, via Edelweiss.
World building can make or break a fantasy, in my opinion, and thankfully, it made the book in this case. Sara Holland has created such a lush world within the pages of Everless. It was incredibly easy to picture the kingdom of Sempera, and I also enjoyed the detail she put into the Gerlings and their aristocracy as well as the alchemist and sorceress. Actually, the story of alchemist and the sorceress was one of my favorite parts of the book, and I especially enjoyed the way in which Sara Holland presented it through whispers and long passed down stories. It added a questioning, suspenseful edge to the novel- Were the stories correct? How much was fact and how much was fiction? Were there hidden clues to be found within?
Additionally, I found the characters to be well developed and likable. Jules is a woman on a mission, and nothing - not even the cunning, tricky Gerlings - can get in her way. Jules is headstrong, determined, and dauntless. She'd do anything to save her family, especially when it comes to the father she loves so dearly. Over the course of the book, Jules deals with a fair amount of change - scenery, family dynamic, friends, etc; however, never once did Jules falter in the sight of the unknown. She embraced it, and I appreciated that about her. It was fun to see her on her journey and it was even better to see her pull in wins. In addition to Jules, I also liked her father. He was incredibly caring, the type of person who'd give his last shirt up to keep someone else warm. Seeing him and in turn seeing his relationship with Jules made it crystal clear why Jules would risk everything for him. He was her world and she was his. I also enjoyed the power players encountered in the castle. The queen was twisty and chilling. The princess was reckless and easy to trust as well as love. The two princes were like day and night. Roan was warm and welcoming while Liam was foreboding and staunch. While Roan should have been the easy favorite, Liam was the one I was drawn to. He had a twisty, dark past, but I had a sneaky suspicion there was more good to him than met the eye.
The plot of Everless best described in one word? Thrilling! Once the story got going and the adventure and thrills started churning out in rapid speed, I was one hundred percent hooked. I loved the court drama, the sabotage that kept peeking up, the bad that came with the Queen's arrival, and the feeling that something incredibly sinister was at play. I read this book way faster than I would've liked, but I couldn't help it. I also appreciated that while there's romance, it isn't a huge part of the book. There's a slight touch here and there, which ended up being plenty. Additionally, I liked that the romance wasn't what I had expected - the ending of the novel truly managed to surprise me!
In all, Sara Holland's Everless is a stellar debut. Blending together romance, suspense, and royal intrigue, Everless will most likely end up on many Best of 2018 lists and rightfully so.