I have to get this out of the way first: I’ve heard a lot of people compare Everless to a movie called In Time – I’ve not seen this movie so I went into Everless with a fresh perspective. So I don’t wanna see any comments saying “but it’s just like that movie!” – I don’t care. I’ve not seen it, so I had no comparative material and my opinion reflects that.
I’d seen Everless all over bookstagram, and with a cover like the UK edition, how could I not buy it? I was a little apprehensive about it because Sara Holland is a debut author, but honestly Everless isn’t bad for a debut author! It’s not perfect but even with its flaws, it was an entertaining read!
Now the beginning is Everless’s biggest issue – if you can get past the first 60 or so pages you’ll be rewarded. The first few chapters are incredibly heavy on the info-dump, as a lot of inexperienced fantasy authors tend to do this, and this leads to a really messy beginning.
For all that’s going on, I didn’t really understand two key things: what the characters actually look like, or what the world is like. Honestly, the world building is too bare-bones for a brand new world and I didn’t get to grips with the world very well.
On top of this, the pacing was a bit slow for me – and I imagine it’s the same for a lot of seasoned readers – it took a long time for things to happen, but once they did the ride got really interesting!
“A drop of sweetness mixes into the grief inside me.”
The characters were quite cookie cutter, especially for YA. As usual with YA fantasy, our female teenage protagonist was annoying beyond all
comprehension, overly trusting and foolish and, of course, had a crush on one of the male main characters that caused such epic episodes of second-hand embarrassment I had to put the book down for fear of dying from cringe.
Jules, our aforementioned protagonist, is a really flat and uninspiring character. I couldn’t care about her and I feel no connection with her in the slightest. Perhaps I’m jaded but I can’t stand characters like her who have the naivety of a person less than half her age.
Liam is by far the best character – he’s fleshed out, three dimensional and actually has an arc that he goes through throughout the novel.
Because this is a YA novel, there just has to be a romance element to it *eye roll*. As you can tell, I didn’t buy into the romance aspect of Everless. In fact, it almost seems like the story was initially written without any romance and then the author or editor realised and hastily added one in – because you simply can’t have a YA fantasy without a romance involved *sigh*. I think it would have been just as strong, if not stronger, without the romance aspect.
Keeping with characters and arcs, there were some great villains throughout Everless and some great reveals of motivations , which was a welcome change, even if a predictable one for those familiar with YA fantasy/dystopia. There were also a lot of twists towards the end of the novel, however a lot of the plot could have been erased if characters would just use actual words and language to talk to each other rather than riddles (I know that would mean there’d be very little book left to read, but it’s frustrating when you can obviously notice it!).
All in all, this was a promising debut novel from a debut author and it’s set up the series nicely. It’s not a very quotable book, but not every book has to be I suppose.
There are much better YA fantasy out there, but there’s also a lot worse too. I think new readers in general, and certainly new readers to YA and YA fantasy would get more of a kick out of Everless but it’s still a lot of fun and I’m going to continue the series.
“And besides – what do I have to lose, if I’ve already lost everything?”
Does Everless sound like your kind of book? You can get it here, and there are even different covers to choose from!
[PLEASE NOTE]: I was not paid or sponsored to write this review – all the opinions are honest and my own.