By: Sara Holland

Genre: Fantasy

Publication Date: January 2, 2018

Bang Bang Review

The country of Everless uses time as currency and Jules’ father is running out of time trying to pay the taxes of the Gerling royal family.  Although Jules’ father begs her not to give her blood/time to pay the bills and warns her about going to Everless, the home of the royal family, Jules wants to contribute and defies her father.

So this is a debut and I HATE debut fantasy because it’s usually shitty.  This book is also only 360 pages which I’ve learned the hard way that if a book one in a fantasy series is less than 400 pages, that’s a PROBLEM.  It usually means the world is info dumped and the first chapter of Everless was indeed info dumped.  But because the mythology was interesting and the writing was okay, I continued to read.

Let’s start with Jules.  She’s your typical poor girl living in a land of starving people who are over taxed by the royal family.  Her father wants to protect her but she’s not gonna listen to her father-if she did, there would be no story.  No, she decides to go the Everless, the  castle, to work for the royals even though she and her father were cast out ten years prior because they knew too much.  Screw that, Jules goes anyway and she hopes to see Roan, the prince she befriended ten years prior.  And you know she’s in love with him because obviously and because she reminds us several times.  Then there’s the evil brooding older brother that she hates and you can probably venture a guess as to where this is going.  I forget to mention that Jules can stop time but she doesn’t know how or why and in other fantasies, the heroine would ignore this skill until it conveniently rears its head to save them but Jules actually recalls this skill several times so she avoids this trope. Jules is likable even though she’s constantly fawning over Prince Roan.  She asks the right questions albeit sometimes she doesn’t ask them at the proper times but nonetheless, she asks them.  She’s inquisitive and too nice for her own good which gets her into serious jams-WHY ARE YOU GOING BACK TO THE CASTLE WHERE THE QUEEN COULD POSSIBLE KILL YOU?  LEAVE YOUR DAMN CLOTHES, GIRL!

As a debut, the execution of the story was almost great but the end got a little convoluted and the answers weren’t coming fast enough.  Holland continuously presented the reader with more and more and more questions without equally providing answers.  Holland attempted to include clues for the reader to try to figure out Jules true identity and which characters were double agents but she fell too short and the ending was info dumped by several people-DAMN, THAT WAS UNFORTUNATE.  I liked the use of time as a currency which made for a solid metaphorical statement.

The female friendships in this story is worth mentioning because although it contains contentious relationships, there were a couple of pretty good female friendships which means it passed the bechdel test-YAY!

The world was the most interesting part of the story especially the mythology. There’s a sorceress and an alchemist and it’s all about them so I encourage you to pay attention to their story.  I applaud Holland for trying something different but the execution fell a bit too short and when you get to the end, you’ll see. I’m interested to see where Holland takes this story so I will be reading book two.  I recommend this series and I hope Holland’s editor encourages her to fix the pacing and stop the info dumping.  She needs to figure out a way to weave the backstory into the narrative and she needs to provide better clues and foreshadowing for the reader.

Spoiler edition to come.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbomb 3/4 (It was going to be a 4 until the last twenty pages.)