Release date: January 2, 2018
Review by Robyn Colclough
Due to be released in January 2018, Sara Holland’s novel Everless is an incredible new story that takes you on an amazing adventure through the magical land of Sempera. Our feisty, yet humble, protagonist named Jules – a mere servant to a world of high ranking royals and wealthy families – gets herself tangled into a web of lies, loves and losses. Will her decision to travel back to her childhood home, and to come face to face with her dangerous enemy, be a move too far?
One of my favourite things about this novel was Holland’s creative and unique take on a slightly predictable generic formula. Usually, you know what to expect from a YA fantasy novel which centers on a young female protagonist. However, the world Holland has created is so different and unique; the story was a joy to read, standing out amongst the thousands of young adult fiction books out on the shelves.
The core of Everless revolves around the notion of time itself, and its connection between life and death. In ancient times, the world of Sempera was divorced from time; however, in Jules’ world, all time can be sold and bought through the deadly currency of blood irons. These blood irons separate the weak from the strong, the rich from the poor, and ultimately dictate your fate. The richer you are, the more time you can buy. This premise is highly intriguing and leaves you yearning to discover more about Holland’s magical universe.
Additionally, the characters are diverse, intense, well defined and intriguing. Jules is an ideal narrator; her curious nature allows Holland to offer detailed descriptions of all the people she meets throughout the narrative. Indeed, the story is cleverly written – our knowledge paralleling Jules’s awareness; we are kept in the dark regarding the truths Jules remains blind to and therefore experience things with her for the first time.
One of my few criticisms of this novel is Jules’ lack of awareness regarding some of the events that unfold, even though they are clearly anticipated within the story. For example, when a character deliberately plans to hurt one of Jules’ love interests out of spite, Jules only discovers this after it is too late – despite it being clearly foreshadowed beforehand. I feel this detracted somewhat from her characterisation as an otherwise clever, brave and strong character, and ultimately made her look stupid.
Overall, I immensely enjoyed this book. I was thrilled to read a story that surprised, shocked and sucked me in – a real rarity. I am biased in my love for fantasy fiction; however I feel this is a fantastic example of a YA novel that has separated itself from the pack. I would recommend this action-packed adventure novel to anyone looking for a unique read to add to their bookshelf.