I think back to the stories I wrote as a child, how Fox and Snake’s innocent games slowly darkened and changed until Snake was curling around Fox’s heart, stealing the life from her.
I have to say, during the first half of Sara Holland’s debut book I thought that it was just fine. I was starting to think that it wasn’t all that different to other YA fantasy books, all the usual tropes were there (you know; a Special Snowflake heroine who doesn’t really know she’s special, an evil ruler, picture-perfect love interest, the beginnings of a love triangle etc.) and I knew where it was going.
The mysteries became more intriguing, there was tension and surprises and subversion. It. Was. Great.
In a world where time is a currency that can literally be drained from blood, Jules watches her father waste away, running out of time. Against her father’s wishes, and her better judgement, she decides to head to Everless for work; a wealthy estate that they had, under strange circumstances, fled from many years ago.
It was a bit slow and heavy to start with, a lot of world building and info-dumps to set everything up, but the premise is interesting enough to carry you through.
I really loved the mythology about the Sorceress and the Alchemist; it added so much history and culture and the meaning behind it was constantly growing and changing.
There was only a little bit of the flat, dewy-eyed romance (that’s how I saw it anyway) and a slow-burning hate-to-love interest, and there was a lot more of my favourite thing: female friendships, yay!!
Although I definitely needed more. More Jules and Ina in the next book, please!
There were a lot of moments where the reality of the premise – blood and time as currency – was so raw and tragic. Imagine bleeding yourself dry to look after your children, to keep a roof over your head and food on the table. It’s not as fantastical as you think, right?
It was a really captivating read, and I can’t wait for the sequel!