After some time off to focus on school, I now have more time for book and movie blogging, finally. And the book I just finished was based off of time. I love coincidences sometimes.
Jules Ember, originally from the kingdom of Everless, had to run away from her home and the name Liam Gerling was affiliated with the phrase “run” courtesy of her father. She lived her childhood and pre-adolescence in the town of Crofton, wanting desperately to do more to help her father make ends meet in the blood-iron currency. In this world, it’s not just money people swap for services. It ends up more like you could choose to, or be forced to, give up a few years off of your lifespan and body and give that time to a loan shark after you for rent. Well, Jules thought she’d be able to get a job in her old home and get enough money within a few months or years to help them get by and figure matters out, all the while keeping her head down. That didn’t work out well. Now someone who meant the world to her is dead and she has been framed for his murder, as well as of Everless’s queen. She must now figure out what to do – whether to run or find a way to fight – as she has a bounty of up to 500 years on her head, and if captured and killed, the power of a longtime enemy of hers will be nothing short of invincible.
In my review of Evermore’s predecessor, Everless, which I gave the same grade to, I said some bad stuff ended up going on in my life while I was in the middle of the book, but Everless was still a good enough read for me not to instill my bad mood onto it. Still, I was actually hesitant to read Evermore because I didn’t want to worry another bad occurrence would take place. It sounds kinda silly now that I’m writing it, but I figured it would be better to just not have things that would remind me about the circumstance. I thought I was kinda out of my mind checking this book out so soon after, but curiosity about what would happen to Jules got the better of me. And I’m happy to say I enjoyed myself just as much as the first one (story wise, not personal situation wise. I’ll shut up about that now, cause it’s kinda irrelevant to the book.)
I think the best way to explain my enjoyment of this book is to first talk about the dislike this book seems to have. On Goodreads, it has a surprisingly much lower rating than Part One. A rating of 3.86 compared to a 3.55 is kind of like the difference between a B-minus and C-minus on that website. And I think the reason for this is this Part Two changes its focus a little. Everless’s concept was familiar but incorporated fresh spins. It’s easy to understand why in real life, those with less money aren’t expected to live longer, and when someone manages to be immortal, they’ll fight and let others die to keep it that way. Everless blended these ideas and came up with an authentic and haunting society of the poor and privileged, filled with genius concepts around the idea of blood-iron.
Evermore doesn’t tackle the sci-fi trend as much. Sure, there’s the idea of a fire burning possibly for ages because blood-iron, literal time, is feeding the fire, and aging rope threads so they break under weight, but this second entry focuses more on Jules running from the authorities and trekking across the region hunting for a secret weapon. Some book critics I guess wanted more of the sci-fi that made Everless such a best-seller. For me, however, Everless’s cliffhanger promised there’d be a fast-paced chase story, and unlike a significant amount of sequels that promise that, this one delivered very well. I really enjoyed myself as I followed Jules on her complex treasure hunt.
The book also does not cheat on its tragedies. There are hints it would be possible to manipulate time so something reverses and does not actually happen, but there are a significant bunch of characters that die and stay dead instead of coming back to life. Holland managed to keep me guessing who would survive. There is death in some unexpected places, so when it seems the book is going to introduce a chapter with a break from the action and some history or geography, you still may want to be on your toes. That’s what a good fugitive book is all about. The romance is also very sweet but not over-utilized. Jules has to commit acts that would scar almost anyone.
A few flaws are around. Jules wasn’t able to quite convince me enough that a lie she tells someone she’s close to was worth it. The climax involves getting some rest at a very inconvenient time in a very dangerous environment, but that was kinda disregarded. There’s also an ending that’s a little too hasty, and edges on weird, and not a lot of room is around to discuss the fate of a side character.
Still, the Everless duet is a solid series I would recommend to reluctant readers, a sci-fi fantasy with lots of wonder, and I’m keeping an eye out for Holland’s next book, Havenfall!