A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Everless is a fantasy set in a world where blood is a major theme. Losing blood causes people's life span to be shortened according to how much they've lost, so that days, hours, months, even years can be drained away. The blood is then magically converted into coins that are used as currency but also can be consumed to add time back to the life span. Otherwise there's little violence except a few stabbings, and a throat slitting with blood mentioned but not described in detail. Important characters die. Strong language, sex, and alcohol are infrequent and mild. Narrator Jules is a good role model for bravery, loyalty, and making sacrifices for her loved ones. Everless is fine for young teens and up who enjoy fantasy, intrigue, mild romance, and adventure.
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What's the story?
EVERLESS presents the kingdom of Sempera, where your life's blood is not only your time on earth but also something that can be drained and magically converted into money. Here we meet 17-year-old Jules, who's tired of living in poverty, always at the mercy of the tax collector, ever since she and her father were banished from the Gerling estate when she was still a kid. Now that her childhood friend Lord Roan Gerling is about to marry the queen's heiress, the estate is taking on extra help and paying handsomely for it. Despite her father's warnings never to go near the estate again, Jules determines to get work there. Lucky (and pretty) enough to be selected, she's put to work in the kitchen. Being back on the estate brings back a lot of memories, and those memories start to raise more and more questions about who she is and where she came from. If she can get close to the queen and find what's hidden in the Gerling family vault, she just might find the answers she's looking for.
Is it any good?
Debut author Sara Holland creates a promising fantasy with an intriguing premise that, despite a few bumps, will be enjoyed by fans who like fantasy, mystery, adventure, and a smidge of romance. Everless gives us a variety of relatable, compelling characters, along with some villains, who keep the pages turning as the mystery and intrigue build. Readers will relate to Jules' struggle to make ends meet as well as her desire to know the truth about herself and her family.
Experienced readers may not be surprised by some of the twists that develop, especially about who's to be trusted and who isn't. And Jules is sometimes frustratingly slow to figure things out. Author Holland really keeps things moving as the mysteries deepen and Jules' adventures broaden, and she builds an immersive, imaginative world. Beware of the cliffhanger ending that screams for a sequel.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about fantasy novels like Everless. What are some of your favorites? How does this one compare?
Jules wants to learn the truth about her family and her past. How much do you know about yours? Is it important to understand your family history? Does it really matter?
Which characters did you trust right away, and which made you suspicious? Why? Did you turn out to be right?
- Author: Sara Holland
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Great Girl Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: HarperTeen
- Publication date: January 2, 2018
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 13 - 17
- Number of pages: 368
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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