Everless by Sara Holland | 2018 Debut Book Review

Posted January 26, 2018 by Jana in Book Review, Debut Author Challenge, Young Adult / 16 Comments

Everless by Sara Holland | 2018 Debut Book ReviewEverless by Sara Holland
Series: Everless #1
Published by HarperTEEN on January 2, 2018
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
Amazon Add to Goodreads
0.5 Stars
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.

I’d really been looking forward to Everless. The cover is pretty cool, the premise sounded unique (although I recently watched In Time, so it’s less unique now. lol), and I’ve been on a bit of a fantasy kick as of late. Sadly, though, things fell a bit short for me and I wasn’t impressed. As always, my main points are bolded.

1. I tend to reserve the spot of my first book of the year for a book I’m really excited about. I’m not sure if that impacted my overall opinion of the book or not, but I had a lot of expectations going in. I was excited about it, it was going to be my first book of 2018, it was going to be my first debut of 2018, etc. It was a huge letdown. It is receiving rave reviews from readers, including many of my fellow book blogger friends, so am I missing something? I don’t even know, but I am seriously confused as to why I’m one of the very few people who did not like this book.

2. So… Everless is pretty much exactly like the movie, In Time. A Goodreads user asked how similar this book is, and Sofia Frost answered the question better than I could have. Possible spoilers below, so jump to point #3 if you don’t want to be spoiled!

*Main character’s family members die, cause they run out of time.
*Main character moves to place where rich and royal live.
*Main character falls in love with rich and famous (although in the book it is not really love at that point, but I am sure in future books it will become a full love story)
*Main character gains a lot of time. (book: ofc she can not just be a regular poor kid from the country)
*Prediction: Main character would try to break the curse of blood and time- and make everyone equal.

The end.

So… yes. Very similar to In Time. And I hated the movie, too.

3. Scroll back up and read the synopsis of the book. Sounds kind of cool, right? Well… think again. It’s depressing. This book was so depressing. Everyone is a ticking time bomb, not sure exactly how much time they have left. Unless they are rich, they live in an almost constant state of panic. I could never live in this world! I’d be filled with so much anxiety. I’d be scared to sleep. I’d be scared to read or watch movies because I’d worry I’d lose track of time. I’d constantly be worried I overestimated the time I had left and just fall dead one second. I’d never be carefree or happy. Even worse, I’d be scared to fall in love because I’d have to worry about someone else’s time, and not just my own. I’d be worrying about my family and my friends. How depressing is a life like that? Not only is the world depressing, but so is the backstory of almost every single character. Why did I ever think this was going to be a fun book to read? I read to escape to a happier place, and this book needs escaping from. I’ll take my real life, thanks.

4. Jules comes from tragedy. But did it make her smart? Did it make her strong? No. She fell in love with a boy when she was 7 while working for his family, his family ruined her life, she sneaks back to their estate to make blood-irons to help save her dying father even though he’s super against it, and she still has a crush on this boy. I’m sorry, but at 17-18 I didn’t know who I had a crush on 10 years prior, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t still have a crush on him. Especially after his family ruined my life and the lives of others I care about. Nope.

5. The romance…? It was barely there and added nothing to the story, but I see where things are going. No. I’m not at all on board. There’s no swoons, and I really don’t like the guy. Maybe there’s going to be a love triangle and the guy I preferred will end up with Jules, but I probably won’t ever know.

6. Something very Hunger Games happens (and not at all in a good way), and it’s totally spoilery for both this book and The Hunger Games series, so highlight the white space between the brackets if you’re curious. Needless to say, I was pretty furious. If you’re reading via email subscription or RSS reader and you don’t want to be spoiled for either book, jump ahead to point #7 because my whited-out text will only hide the spoilers if you’re reading on my blog. You’ve been warned.

[[[[[[Jules throws everything away to go to a very dangerous place to save her father’s life. He’s so so so against it, to the point of actually following her to beg her to come home. They speak for a few moments, she lies to him and tells him she will come home… all the while never actually planning to. She sends him home, lying that she will come soon. And what happens? He dies on the way home. He was so hell-bent on getting back to her that he wasted his time to try and save her instead of making sure he had enough time left for himself! SHE HAD BLOOD-IRONS WITH HER!! Why did she not give him any to ensure he would have enough time? She was literally there suffering in order to extend his life, but nope. Just like Katniss sacrificed herself for her sister Primm, only to have Primm die at the end, Jules sacrificed for her father, only to lose him anway. It’s maddening. I hate it when authors kill off the reason for a huge piece of the story. At least Katniss was amazing, though. And at least it wasn’t her fault that Primm died. Jules’s father’s death is totally her fault.]]]]]]

7. That was a much longer rant than I thought it would be, but I get madder and madder the more I think about this book. Jules is a wimpy idiot of a character. She has no street smarts, no brain, no fight in her. She has no personality whatsoever. I spent so much of the book yelling at her. By the end of Everless she has not grown at all, and I’m too exhausted to read another book so she can try to prove herself to me. And let’s be fair… every characters was flat and shapeless and boring. I wanted to smack them all.

8. So much of this plot was driven by miscommunication and pointless secrets. If the characters would just TALK to each other instead of waiting for everyone to figure it all out and find the answers themselves everything would have resolved on its own! Jules’s dad comes to the estate to warn her and instead of actually warning her in a way that makes sense he spouts out a bunch of mumbo jumbo that would have only made sense to Jules if she had already known what he was talking about. They say mankind is getting suckier and suckier at communicating with one another due to social media and texting, but these characters have neither. So what’s their excuse? When the fate of humanity rests on a teenaged girl, don’t you think the guy with all the answers could at least give them to her? That’d be too easy, though. Then we wouldn’t have a trilogy.

9. The characters and the world were underdeveloped. There was nothing keeping me there except my desire to actually finish a book so I didn’t start out the year already behind on my Goodreads goal.

10. This might be the most critical piece of my review… but the writing just wasn’t good. And I feel so bad for saying that. It’s easy to not like a story. We all have our likes and dislikes, and that’s widely accepted. All authors know that the story or the characters or the world, etc. that they wrote will not be loved by all. But I always feel so horrible for saying I didn’t like the writing because that removes the story completely and has to do with the actual words instead of the details. But I just didn’t like the writing. It wasn’t memorable or filled with pretty details. There were no quotes I highlighted to save and re-read later.

All in all, I could not get past the fact that this felt like a copy of the movie In Time. Immediately I started looking for all the similarities, which just frustrated me to no end. And I really think that if it had been amazing I would have been ok with those similarities. I hated the movie, so it would not have taken much for me to like it more. lol. But I just didn’t. It was depressing and underdeveloped and frustrating. I’m sorry to say that I would not recommend it to anyone, unless they were looking for In Time fanfic… and is that even a thing?

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16 responses to “Everless by Sara Holland | 2018 Debut Book Review

    • Jana

      Maybe I was too harsh when I said I hated the movie In Time. lol. But I really didn’t enjoy it. :P Maybe you’ll like the book more than I did since you were happier with the movie than I was.

  1. Wow, I think you’re the first person I’ve seen to rate this book that low! Not that I can blame you, really. I felt pretty “meh” about it, but I thought I was the only one. It’ll be interesting to see if we’ll stay in the minority or if the longer the book is out, the more negative reviews it’ll get. I really loved the sound of the premise, but everything else felt too cliché and/or dull. And the romance was really laughable.
    Kate @ The Magic Violinist recently posted…Character Karaoke – The Music that Inspired a Witchy Romance

    • Jana

      BLAH, I know! We seem to be members of a very small club right now. I’m glad to know I wasn’t alone in my dislike of this book, though. It makes me feel better. You’re right about the dull writing and the silly romance. It all just felt very simple and lacking in imagination to me in certain areas. I’m definitely curious to see if our club gets bigger the longer the book has been out.

  2. Danielle Hammelef

    Thanks for this detailed review–I enjoyed your explanations and you’ve helped me with my TBR for 2018.

  3. Jenny

    Dang! I hate when the first book of the year sucks so bad. I’ll avoid this one now. It sounds like it has all the qualities I hate in a book.

    • Jana

      Yeah, me too! I’m not a superstitious type at all, but it does kind of feel like a bad omen for the year for me. lol. I don’t think you’ll be missing out if you skip this book, especially since it’s going to be a trilogy. That’s a big commitment!

  4. Don’t feel bad, I DNFed this book! I didn’t make it very far. I could just tell by the writing that I wasn’t going to enjoy it – it’s SO bland and dry. And the story felt generic AF. I started to regret my decision because everyone has been raving about it, and I was really excited to read it, but from your review it sounds like I made the right choice!
    Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat recently posted…Review: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

    • Jana

      Oh, you totally made the right decision. I SO wish I had DNFed it! I just had such high hopes and for some reason I thought things were going to get better. I should have just given up. It remained dry and flavorless until the very end. There was a semi-interesting twist that made me wonder for a second if I might want to read the second book just so I could see how it all played out, but then I remembered all the muck I trudged through and changed my mind. lol. There’s plenty of fish in the sea!

  5. Like Kate said, this is the first negative review I’ve seen of this book! I had no idea that Everless was so disheartening. If I do end up reading this, I’ll be doing it at the same time as a YA contemporary to even things out. :) I did like the movie In Time, but I was also 13 and I suspect my critical reading skills were non-existent, haha! :D

    I hope you like your next book better!
    Genni @ Ready, Set, Read! recently posted…The Brushed Off Sexual Assualt in Oblivion by Jennifer L. Armentrout

    • Jana

      I knoooooow! I hate being one of the few people who either loves or hates a book because sometimes it makes me question my opinions, but I really can’t see how I could have loved this one. I don’t know what all the other reviewers see in it. lol. I do think that reading it with something lighter and fluffier would have helped me, so that’s a good idea. Maybe check it out from the library so you don’t have to gamble with the story as much. :)

    • Jana

      In Time wasn’t the WORST movie I’ve ever seen. Justin Timberlake is in it, and he actually did a better job than I thought he would. Sometimes celebrities can’t jump from music to acting well, but I thought his part was well played. I just didn’t like the concept of the story, which makes me really question why I ever thought I’d like Everless since they are so similar. lol. I think you’d be fine skipping them both unless they really call to you someday. The book in particular really isn’t worth the time. There’s much better options out there, in my opinion. :)