ARC Review - Everless

Title: Everless
Author: Sara Holland
Publisher: HarperTeen
Series: Untitled #1
Published: January 2, 2018
Source: e-ARC for review
Add it on 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.


When I first heard about this novel my interest was piqued enough to add it to my TBR shelf on goodreads but I have to admit I wasn't sure if I really had any intention of reading it anytime soon.  That changed when I saw that the author was coming to my city for an event, so I decided to download the e-ARC from Edelweiss and give it a go.  While it was, in fact, an interesting read I didn't end up loving it as much as everyone else seemed to.

First, lets talk about the things I really did like.  The premise was fantastic.  The only thing I could even think of that came anywhere near the basic idea for this book was the movie In Time, so as far as ideas go it's pretty darn unique.  It's not just the idea of paying for things with time, it's how they pay, extracting the time from blood and turning that into coins that then appear to be consumed.  Everything about the world was just fascinating and for a debut novelist, the entire thing was not only well thought out but well executed. 

Along with the premise and the worldbuilding, the other thing I liked was the female characters, particularly their relationship.  There's something called the Bechdel test, which basically asks if two female characters talk about something other than a man, and this book passes with flying colors.  In fact, I don't even think there's more than a page cumulatively between the main female characters where they discuss men.  The friendship that forms is great, and seeing something like that in YA makes me really happy, especially in a fantasy novel.

Like I said above there were some really great things about this book, but there were also some things about it I had some major problems with.  I mentioned above that there wasn't a ton of talk about the men in the book, and while that was great it kind of seemed like the love interest was just kind of stuck in there because all YA fantasies have a love interest. The main thing that really drove me up the wall though was the fact that the ENTIRE story would never have happened if someone had told the main character what the heck was actually going on.  You know what's not helpful?  Telling the main character to "leave now because it's dangerous" but then refusing to tell them what is dangerous.  Cryptic messages to scare people you care about into doing something when there appears to be no reason you can't tell them the truth make no sense.

Overall I'm not 100% sure how I feel about this book.  While there were pieces of it that I didn't care for the good seemed to outweigh the bad enough for me to want to keep reading, it just wasn't a home run.  It was by no means a bad book, and obviously there are a number of people who really enjoyed it (it just made the NYT list, too), so in the end my thoughts boil down to this; think about if the things I mentioned are a deal breaker, but either way if it's something you might be interested in read a couple of chapters and see what you think.  I'm not sure if I'll read the sequel or not, there was certainly potential there, so I guess I'll just have to wait and see.  Either way, I'll certainly be looking for Holland's next series because while this particular story might not have been a winner for me the next one very well could be and I'll be interested to see what she comes up with next.

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