EVERMORE (Everless #2) - by Sara Holland

evermore - sara holland - books - everlessEVERMORE - Sara Holland
Published: December 2018 - HarperTeen.
Genres: Young adult / fantasy / romance
Pages: 368.
Triggers/Content Advisory: Fantasy violence.
Format: eBook.
Source: Borrowed.

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: not only are the stories true, but she herself 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.

Jules must delve into the stories that she now recognizes are accounts of her own past. For it is only by piecing together the mysteries of her lives that Jules will be able to save the person who has captured her own heart in this one. 

I loved Everless, and I've been excited about Evermore for a long time. I buddy-read with the lovely Di, and our feelings about this sequel were similar.  Keep a look out for her review!

I truly love Sara Holland's writing, and I can't wait to read more of her books. There were a few times in this novel where I thought she was leaning towards over-description, but overall I just loved it. It's easy to read - Holland has a lovely way with language.

The plot starts with breathless action and emotion. It's unpredictable, the stakes are high, and Jules is on the run. I was hooked from the very beginning. It's so engaging. 
However, after that initial "wow", things start getting slower.  Jules is still compelling and so are the many flashbacks that start intertwining with the present plot, but the story isn't action-packed anymore. It's all very safe and leaning towards mediocre. It's like Holland didn't know how to top the fantastic first few chapters. So instead, she drags everything down to a compliant level.
I also think a number of incidents and details could have been executed better, because compared to Everless, Holland appears to lose momentum. It's a big pity.

 We've all lost people. Remembering their stories won't bring them back... People forget in order to survive."  

I have to lie. Maybe that's what love is made of. Maybe it's what allowed me to hold onto the Sorceress's heart for centuries." 

Jules is a terrific heroine. I adore her passion, her incredible drive, and her impulsiveness. Yes it makes for some messy decisions, but that's human. She's human. She never stops trusting her instincts, and she's not afraid to rush into something she believes is worth it. I loved that.

In Book 1, Liam was easily one of my favourite characters, and his relationship with Jules was probably the best thing about the book. But in Evermore I found it lacking. He doesn't have much agency, he's cut down to little else but a love interest, and his relationship with Jules isn't enough of a slow-burn. Things happen too fast, and he needed an actual purpose in the narrative.

Another thing I loved about Book 1 were the many female friendships. But here, Caro and Ina's appearances in the story are minimal and Jules and Ina hardly spend a solid moment together. Their relationship is great, but let's actually see more of it please! Same for Caro and Jules: their dynamic is awesome and Caro is a formidable heroine, but in Evermore Caro and Jules' interactions are limited to brief flashbacks and the odd confrontation at the beginning and end of the story. They needed more page time together; the book desperately needed it.

Evermore benefits from its unstoppable heroine, knockout beginning, and powerful final twist. But Holland fails to build on the strong aspects of Book 1, and delivers a weak story as a result. It's enjoyable, but it could be so much better. 

← Everless