Review: Everless by Sara Holland

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Time is a prison. She is the key. 

43320662. sy475 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.

Blood is money, time is power, desire is treachery. Welcome to Everless. 

5 Stars

Welcome to a deliciously morbid fantasy world where blood is not only just sustenance but time and power. A ruthless world of bloodletting where the aristocracy live for eons while the merchant and peasant classes bleed themselves into poverty and death.

Everless is a difficult book to review. Each page, not to mention the plot itself is deeply shrouded in mystery. This is a book best to delve into knowing as little a possible. Here there be twists, turns and antiheroes. Trust me when I say – Everless will keep you up at night. The concept of blood and time as currency isn’t the only device which makes Everless so intriguing. A sprinkling of superstition, a touch of alchemy with a heaping of politics and a hint of romance are intricately woven to create a mysterious twist to a sometimes tired genre. Basically, Everless took me completely by surprise and it deserves all the hype.

First things first – I have to talk about the world building. I was 100% on-board with the concept of Sempera and Everless from the very first page. It’s dark, bleak and morbid. As we find our footing in the small village of Crofton Sara presents us with a weary atmosphere. Thieves and bleeders loiter the woodlands ready to bleed the years from an unsuspecting traveler, time seems to ripple, stumble or even lapse and then there is the time lender. I mean, just imagine trudging into the time lender’s shop to bleed yourself and bind the time in your blood to iron for rent or even food. You sort of get the gist that this is an eerie tale, it’s inhabitants desperate. It’s pretty darn ruthless. But Crofton is literally only the beginning.

Feeling the chills yet?

Another aspect which cemented my five star rating was Sara’s writing style and her overall tone. Everless reads as a lush, atmospheric almost winter-y tale. Think Brother’s Grimm meets Caraval. The prose serves to be both lyrical and eerie while still shrouded in uncertainty and yet it never slows the plot. There’s tension, suspense and suspicion weaved into every page propelling the reader forward. And this only intensifies when we, along with our protagonist Jules enter the gilded halls of the Everless estate. I mean – how can you possibly not feel uneasy when the gentry stir blood iron in their tea like sugar cubes? Not to mention the fact that there’s a hidden vault, home to the Gerling family’s coffers of blood iron coins. Blood iron that’s been bleed and taxed from their people (*shudders*).

Anyway, I don’t want to give too much more away, only to say that Everless is well worth the read. A dark gem that stands out from the crowded, sometimes trope-y genre, Everless is like a breath of fresh air. If it didn’t make it onto your TBR in 2018, it really is a must read for 2019 – what with the sequel and final book in the duology Evermore having hit shelves earlier this month. Perfect for fans of brooding fairy tales and folk lore.Alexandra

 

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8 thoughts on “Review: Everless by Sara Holland

    • I guess that’s the thing about reading – it’s subjective. We relate to characters and plots differently. I would highly recommend giving Everless another go though – it’s wormed it’s way onto my favorites shelf!

      That being said, I had the very same experience with The Cruel Prince. Literally everyone raved but I think I must of missed something. I’m planning to do a re-read this year before reading The Wicked King because I have to believe that I wasn’t in the fantasy mood when I first picked it up! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • well, it helps that I got it in a book box ages ago, so I already own it! may as well give it a crack 😉

        I’m very certain that The Cruel Prince isn’t my cup of tea, though – not that it’s not a good book, but the very title makes me :/ I don’t want to read about fae being awful to the protagonist!

        Liked by 1 person

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