Author: Sara Holland
Narrator: Eileen Stevens
Audiobook Length: 9 hours 58 minutes
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.
Everless is the first novel in a duology of the same name. The reviews for this story vary greatly from DNF all the way to loving it, so I was curious to see how I would fall within that range. Jules Ember grew up at Everless, where her father served as a blacksmith, and would play with the princes, Roan and Liam Gerling. When Liam pushed Roan into a fire, Jules saved him, which prompted Jules’s father to take her and leave Everless. When her father runs into debt ten years later, Jules offers to pay instead through working as a servant at Everless.
In this novel, a person uses their blood to either add or subtract time from their life. I absolutely loved time being used as currency in this story! This was the standout as it was huge part of the story since Jules was surrounded by those that could add plus those that were affected by the additions/subtractions. As Jules is working to pay off her father’s debts, she has to work at avoiding the queen, who she was warned to stay away from while she begins to reconnect with Liam and Roan. This reconnection actually initially confused me as I did not fully connect with the transitions from “strangers” back to close friends. I do not know if I missed something, but I just felt it happened too quickly just to move the story along.
The story begins with a lot of info-dumping as the world, characters, and plot are all introduced. It does feel like a lot given to the reader all at once and I wish that it were spread out a little more. I am okay with a little info-dumping if it cannot be helped, but this felt like too much given at the same time. The pacing itself reads like a duology where it is a slow build-up towards the last quarter, or so, where the action picks up and there is a cliffhanger set-up for the sequel. The characters themselves are decent, but I needed a little more exploration to fully connect to them. As this is a duology, I have hope that there will be more exploration in the sequel and will have to read it to find out.
There is a ton of potential is this novel where I can see it turning into a great duology. There are many elements that, for me, need some work, but it has many pieces that I enjoy in stories. The ending itself does end on a cliffhanger which was interesting as it does make me want to see what happens in the sequel; however, one part of the ending made no sense, to me, and negated an element from the novel. The rest of the ending worked fine enough, especially since there is a sequel, but it is just this one piece I really did not enjoy. Those that read the story may know what I am talking about and those who have not may read it and feel the same or they may not. As this is a novel with potential, I can see myself continuing to read the next one soon!