Everless ★★★☆☆½

everlessTime is a prison. One girl holds the key. This is a thrilling, high-stakes new fantasy duology, perfect for fans of Red QueenThree Dark Crowns, and Six of Crows.

In the kingdom of Sempera, time is extracted from the blood, converted into coins, and used as currency or consumed to add to one’s lifespan. The rich aristocracy amass eons in their vaults, while the poor are forced to cut their futures short in order to survive in the present. And few families are richer than the Gerlings, who lord over the peasants from Everless, their palatial estate.

A fateful accident once spurred Jules and her father to flee Everless in the dark of night. But ten years later, in order to save her dying father, Jules must secretly return. Everless holds more temptations—and dangers—than Jules thought possible. 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.

This dazzling debut novel, starring a fierce heroine and rife with high-stakes adventure, engrossing mysteries, star-crossed romance, and captivating magic all set in a richly built world, will leave you counting down the seconds until the next installment.

I’m mixed about this one. I definitely loved the prose and the very literal take on “time is money.” I really loved the greater world that Holland created here with the Sorceress and the Alchemist, and general fantastical elements that wove their way around this story.

But I hated the pacing and particular character flaw so much I put it down.

I’ll start with world building. Holland did this phenomenally, which is part of why I’m so torn on this review. I loved how information on the world was presented, given to us in a slow, steady need to know trickle. We learn about the Sorceress and the Alchemist and how they bound time to the blood and how Sempera came to use it as a currency. We learn about bleeding and how more desperate people will bleed themselves dry to feed their families. And we watch Jules reach that same level of desperation to save her father.

My problems center around Jules, the main character, who is obsessed with a noble boy she hasn’t seen since she was 10 years old. When Jules returns to Everless and learns that Roan is marrying the Queen’s daughter, she is unjustifiably possessive of him. She wants to protect him from the outside world. She is jealous of his soon to be wife. She fawns over his every word and movement. It makes her very creepy and untrustworthy for me.

After she finds out that her father isn’t really her father (early enough in the book that’s not really a spoiler), she goes on a quest to find out where she’s from. And here is where the pacing really bothered me.

She visits and orphanage and learns about a disaster that happened some years ago, she finds a vault but doesn’t go in, she talks to people but doesn’t infer anything. Every scene started to feel like it ended with

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

So roughly 50% of the way through the book, I felt less and less intrigued by the mystery and more and more obligated to be concerned. All of which didn’t last long before I put the book down.

I’m still highly recommending Everless, though. Despite Jules’s crazy obsession and the poor pacing, I still think this is worth everyone’s time (ha!). I know you’ll all be drawn into the world and attracted to the mystery at Everless estate.

Everless publishes December 13, 2017

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