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.
This review contains no spoilers.
I received this book from the publisher. Many thanks again to Blossom Books.
I read this book in the Dutch translation titled ‘Everless. Het meisje en de alchemist.’
Trigger warnings// Death, alcohol use, blood, captivity. Please inform me if I have missed something and I will update this section.
Before I start this review, can we talk about how insanely pretty this cover is? The colours, the detail… Woah.
I was torn between giving this book three or four stars, but ended up giving this book the benefit of the doubt. But I am still not a 100% sure to be honest. After reading this book I concluded that I enjoyed it a lot, but while I am reviewing it, I see its flaws. So yeah, I had a hard time putting my thoughts and feelings into words for this one.
I read this book in the beginning of 2018, but while reformatting the review I had written back then I found out I didn’t remember much, and certainly not enough to rewrite the review. So I started 2019 with a reread of Everless and I must say that I enjoyed it a lot more the second time. I am not sure why I forgot so many parts of this story, but just to be clear it’s not the book’s fault.
The first time I read Everless I found it very predictable. Not necessarily in a bad way, but more in a ‘I told you so!’-way. Like I said, not bad, but I wished it could’ve surprised me a bit more. However, the second time I read it, I didn’t really feel that way. The story was very very slowly coming back to me while reading it, so it was kind of like reading it for the first time again. The book has a lot of foreshadowing and also many repetitions. Some things were repeated a bit too many times in my opinion. I was like ‘yeah, we know already…’. I guess there was sometimes a bit too much ‘tell’ instead of ‘show’ when it came to feelings and emotions.
Jules is a special snowflake. I mean, she comes from a poor village, she’s described as not being exceptionally pretty/average, doesn’t really have any outstanding skills and doesn’t win an award for social skills, and still she makes it to Everless, gets a great job and catches the attention of the Gerling boys. The other characters were also not very special. Especially the people Jules worked with were just a name to me. I couldn’t really picture them in my head and I didn’t really care about them either. The only characters I liked/found interesting were Liam and Roan Gerling and Caro. The thing that made me want to keep reading was the constant feeling of everything going wrong and I was curious, not because I was rooting for Jules. I didn’t really mind, but I guess if you value great characters this book isn’t for you.
Before I started reading this book for the first time, I knew this could be either a hit or a miss for me. The concept of time being currency, extracted from blood, sounds really cool and interesting. The one thing I was hesitant about after reading the blurb, was the whole saving her father thing. If people their time is up, their time is up, right? Luckily my worries were for nothing. Time is being used as a currency, but let’s just say that it’s not all fair play in Sempera for basically everyone except the aristocracy. That’s also stated in the blurb, but I just didn’t realize that ‘the poor’ meant ‘basically everyone that doesn’t work at Everless’. So while reading it made a lot more sense to me. So poor people run out of time quickly, because they need money. And you can get more time by consuming coins. Yeah. Let’s just forget that sounds pretty impossible, because it does make for a cool story.
The worldbuilding in this book was very nice. The kingdom of Sempera isn’t very complex, so it was easy to picture it in my head. I could clearly imagine walking through Everless, but also the other places this story took place in, even if it was just for a short amount of time.
The book definitely got more interesting and exciting towards the end. And the actual ending left me saying: “WHERE IS BOOK TWO? WHERE?! I need it, like, RIGHT NOW.” I know I said I didn’t really care about the characters, but still I am very eager to find out how the story is going to continue.
Though it is definitely not the most amazing YA book I’ve ever read, it was a real page turner. Both times I read this book in just a few hours. So if you want to read fantasy, but you’re not in the mood for something dense, definitely pick this one up!