Monday 15 January 2018

EVERLESS by Sara Holland

Time is a prison. She is the key. 

In the land of Sempera, the rich control everything - even time. Ever since the age of alchemy and sorcery, hours, days and years have been extracted from blood and bound to iron coins. The rich live for centuries; the poor bleed themselves dry.

 Jules and her father are behind on their rent and low on hours. To stop him from draining himself to clear their debts, Jules takes a job at Everless, the grand estate of the cruel Gerling family.

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.

This is one of the books that were mentioned when hubby and I went to the 2017 Date a Book YA Blogger Night at Hachette HQ last year. 

So I couldn't wait to start reading. Not to mention that the cover is as beautiful in its simplicity as the inside.

In Sempera, the currency of time is blood. And the rich control it by bleeding days, weeks, months and even years from the poor to turn it into iron coins. As a result, the wealthy can live for centuries, while the poor end up bleeding most of their days away.

That's exactly what Jules finds out her father is doing. And if he doesn't stop, he's going to run out of time sooner than later. 

When she hears Everless needs extra servants for the upcoming royal wedding, and that they'll get paid very well, Jules decides to join. Even if she has a complicated history with the Gerling brothers. 

A history that will only put her and her father in danger...

As soon as I started this book, I was hooked. 

Jules Ember's voice pretty much swept me away instantly. I loved the way her narrative flowed so easily from action to thought to the world around her. Everything that came before and was happening in the moment just fit together effortlessly.

The world building for this intriguing world, where the cruelty of the rich is literally paid (and taken) in blood, unfolds perfectly. In a very organic way, complementing the narrator's voice so well it becomes impossible to separate one from the other. And that, in hindsight, is such a clever way of telling this fantastic tale.

I loved the parasitic way the wealthy hoarded blood from the poor. I hated how the poor were forced to give their blood in order to pay the rich. Everything about this system of existence was cruel and unfair, but the only way for everyone to survive in this harsh world of so many contrasts.

The way life itself was seen as time running out, rather than the constant reminder of looming death was such a unique way to quantify life.

As I mentioned above, Jules was a terrific character. Even though the cast of characters is vast and wonderful, she shines brighter than anyone else. The more I read, the more I liked her. The further I got in the story, the grander and darker the world became. The deeper I fell into the truth of what was really happening, the more I fell in love with everything about this book.

Everless is one of the best fantasy novels I've ever read. Not YA fantasy, I'm talking about ALL fantasy. It's a breath of fresh air in such a crowded genre, and offers something new. It's an amazing story with so many intricately woven threads that the characters, world building and plot all connect to create a deep emotional experience. Not to mention that the tension kept me turning pages. Or that the secret at the very heart of everything blew me away once all the pieces fell into place.

If you're looking for a story featuring a strong heroine, a dazzling new world, danger so deep it'll leave you breathless, and even a hint of romance... You have to read this.

You won't regret it.

I don't know if this is a duology or a trilogy or even a series, but I can't wait for the next book.

Everless, January 2018, ISBN 9781408353622 Orchard Books

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