EVERLESS (Everless #1) - by Sara Holland

EVERLESS - Sara Holland
Published: 2018 by Hachette
Pages: 362
Genres: Young adult / fantasy
Triggers/Content Advisory: Mild, occasional fantasy violence
Format: ARC paperback.
Source: Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
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.

A few days ago, I was in the mood for something to sweep me away. Something I could lose myself in for a few hours. Then Everless arrived.
It turned out to be just what I needed.

The writing is simple, but dreamlike. I love the intensity which courses under the words from start to finish, and that makes it an intoxicating, consuming, breathless read - as beautiful as it is moving. The emotion is understated, but it's deep. There's a sincerity to every character and every word that makes this book so powerful.

The plot is incredibly unique. There's not a lot of action, but the story never drags. There are so many secrets and mysteries lurking behind the scenes, and the anticipation/need for answers drives you from page to page. Towards the end, the twists blow you away.  They're excellent.
There's a real integrity to the plot and a real passion, and I feel like the author wasn't afraid to make her story unique and concentrate on what aren't the norms for a YA fantasy. Speaking of which, it is an extremely original story. Despite a rough first chapter - it begins with the all familiar scene of the heroine hunting in the forest - the story is unpredictable, unique, and intense. There's a lot of emotion in these pages, but it's never melodramatic. It's realistic and hauntingly relatable.

The world is so dangerous, so entrancing, and so different and vivid. It takes your breath away and you never know what to expect. It's also intelligent, with a rich history flavoured finely with mythology. I loved soaking it up - it's perfect escapism. You sink in, never wanting to look up, and it sweeps you along on a stunning journey.

Maybe I am a mystery— a secret— that needs unravelling...

The characters are beautiful. I love Jules, and I love how she's flawed, genuine, impulsive, and above all: kind and soft-hearted. She's not a push-over and she's definitelty capable, but she has a big heart. That and her impulsivity often puts her in danger or makes her trust the wrong people, but it makes her human - relatable. She's a wonderful heroine.
The secondary characters are also lovely. Everyone is vivid and genuinely lovable - even the villains' have a winning three-dimensional aspect to their personalities.

This book has so many incredible relationships. Jules' friendships - FEMALE FRIENDSHIPS TOO SO YAY YAY YAY - are strong, positive, and absolutely heart-warming. I love her interactions with everyone and how they all look out for each other. It's brilliant. As for the romance, there's barely any, and out of fear of giving spoilers, all I'll say is: I SHIP JULES AND LIAM SO HARD AND HELLO NEW OTP. So yes, there isn't much romance, but Jules' and Liam's friendship is spectacular. I WANT MORE OF THEM PLEASE.
Jules' relationship with her father is perfection. It's so realistic and beautiful, and I love his character as well. They truly have an amazing father-daughter bond.

Everless is a riveting whirlwind of alluring secrets, unique worldbuilding, and beguiling characters. It's beautiful, it's mesmerising, it's intoxicating, and you'll find yourself willing to  sell your soul just to escape into this world for a few more minutes. Even if it is on borrowed time...

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