Everless #2: Evermore – Sara Holland

Is it a blessing or a curse, never to know how much time you have?

Let me start with this: I loved Everless. I’ve been impatiently waiting for my library’s copy of Evermore to arrive as it was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. Maybe the pedestal I built for it was too high; I did enjoy it but I was also disappointed. It may have helped if I’d read the books consecutively; I had forgotten important parts of the mythology until I was reminded of them.

Sempera is the only land with magic, a land where time and blood are bound. The Alchemist and Sorceress have been enemies for multiple lifetimes and their story has become legend in this land. I couldn’t get enough of the mythology surrounding the snake and the fox in Everless and was eager to learn more. After so many minor excursions into the previous lives of the Alchemist I did enjoy the huge info dump at the end of the book, but I wanted more.

Liam, who was one of my favourite characters in Everless, lost his mystery and complexity in this book and I had trouble remembering what was so incredible about him. I liked Stef and Elias and am fairly certain I would have loved them if I’d gotten to know them better; unfortunately they still felt like acquaintances at the end of the story.

I’m wondering if I would have appreciated this story more if it was told in more than one voice. Jules didn’t make my top five favourite characters in either book but I would have loved reading even part of the story from the perspectives of Caro and Ina.

I am left with several unanswered questions that are bugging me, including: If Caro’s guards had Liam surrounded while he was frozen in time at the end of the book how did he get past them to find Jules? Why didn’t Jules show the stone Stef gave her to Joeb? Also, what happened with Stef? Her story felt unfinished.

If this had been the first book in the series I probably would have put it down but the residue of my love for Everless made me persevere.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Jules Ember was raised hearing legends of the ancient magic of the wicked Alchemist and the good Sorceress. But she has just learned the truth: She is the Alchemist, and Caro – a woman who single-handedly murdered the Queen and Jules’s first love, Roan, in cold blood – is the Sorceress.

The whole kingdom believes that Jules is responsible for the murders, and a hefty bounty has been placed on her head. And Caro is intent on destroying Jules, who stole her heart twelve lifetimes ago. Now Jules must piece together the stories of her past lives to save the person who has captured her heart in this one.

Everless – Sara Holland

”Snake,” said Fox. “what have you done?”

I’m always wary of books whose hype arrives before it’s on the shelves. Let me tell you, Everless is worthy of its hype – and then some! Before I’d even reached 15% one word haunted my mind without me consciously thinking it … captivating. I was captivated from beginning to end, and I had so much adrenaline rushing through me during the second half that I pretty much feel like the Energizer Bunny right now.

By 30% I already anticipated/feared a sequel and came close to writing to Sara Holland demanding begging for immediate access to it upon completion of her debut. Now that I’ve finished reading Everless I’m fairly convinced that I need get my hands on the sequel in a reasonable timeframe (say, the next 24 hours or so) or I may suffer Sempera withdrawals and if they’re anything like the punishments dispensed at Everless, it’s not going to be pretty.

I don’t want to ruin this one for you so I’m just going to cover a few points because I can’t help myself, then I’m going to tell you to read it for yourself because it really is that good!

The Cover: Kudos to the design team involved in this book. That cover is incredible! The blood dripping through the hourglass and the elements inside draw your attention and make you need to know what this book’s all about. I also really liked the design of the artwork at the beginning of each chapter.

Favourite Character: Hinton. May I please adopt him? Pretty please?

The Boys: I may be unpopular for saying this but quite frankly, Roan bored me. Sure, he’s nice to look at and all. He’s sweet, polite and behaves in a way that would make any mother proud. I’m sure I’d like to look at him along with everyone else, but his personality didn’t grab my attention. Liam, however … I loved Liam. He had mystery and complexity oozing out of him. You weren’t sure who he really was beneath the grimace and his snarkiness kept me entertained.

Jules: I really liked her relationship with her Papa. It was gorgeous, despite her spending most of the book behaving in direct opposition to his wishes. Overall I liked, not loved, her character. I rolled my eyes every time she swooned over Roan. I’m not a fan of swooning – ever, and half expected her to faint and fall into his arms each time they crossed paths. I liked Jules’ story more than her character, and she didn’t make my top five favourite characters.

The Minor Characters: There were a few minor characters who came and went, and others who seemed as though they’d become more important as the story continued but faded into obscurity. I quite liked some of these characters (some of those did make my top five) and it felt like there should have been more to their stories than I learned in this book. I can only hope they return in the sequel as there are several whose stories feel unfinished to me.

The Mythology: The gradual unfolding of the mythology were some of my favourite passages. I adore mythology! The Alchemist and Sorceress. The fox and the snake. The stories told to children generation after generation. I wanted to know more, to go deeper, and while I’m certain there’s plenty more to come I’m also satisfied that a lot of my initial questions have been answered.

The Themes: The big three for me were loss, trust, and betrayal. I love novels where things are not always what they seem. It messes with your equilibrium as a reader when you’re unsure whose words you can trust and when you’re not quite sure if what you’re being told is the truth, part of a bigger truth or an outright lie. While some elements of this novel were predictable there were plenty that weren’t.

Time: Time really is money! I’m obsessed with the possibilities surrounding time travel (no, there aren’t flux capacitors but time is most certainly messed with) and the concept of time in general. Any book that twists my notions of time around into a reality that both ignites my imagination and turns something from improbable to possible and believable in my mind in under 400 pages grabs my attention.

Social Class: Servants and the elite. Higher and lower ranking servants. The whole idea of one group of people believing they’re better than another group for any reason disgusts me and I love that this was explored in Sempera’s society. The imbalance and abuse of power was integral to the way this society functioned and had done for centuries.

The Magic: It’s magic! Of course it was awesome!

Yay, me!: Although I didn’t know how it was going to play out my gut told me to trust one character and not trust another. For once I was right about both!

Okay, so maybe more than a few points. 😃 Now, off you go and read this book if you haven’t already!

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Hachette Children’s Books, Australia for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Time is a prison. She is the key. Packed with danger, temptation and desire – a perfect read for fans of The Red Queen. 

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.