Released today, January 2, 2018!
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.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Series: Untitled #1
Author: Sara Holland
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
Page Count: 336
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Cover Artist: ---
My Rating: ★★★★★
I received this copy from the publisher via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
Most people find the forest frightening, believing the old tales of fairies who will freeze the time in your blood, or witches who can spill your years out over the snow with only a whisper. Even the spirit of the Alchemist himself is said to wander these woods, trapping whole eternities in a breath.
Jules Ember is no stranger to hardship. She’s been a servant all her life, working alongside her father to survive. Growing up on Everless, a wealthy estate owned by the Gerling family, she grew to be friends with one of the two Gerling sons. But when a tragedy struck, Jules’ father was blamed and they were cast out.
Years pass and her father struggles to provide for her. Knowing that his time was close to expiring, Jules decides to return to Everless for employment for time as a lady’s maid. Returning to the estate opens a floodgate of memories, some sweet, but many bitter. As she faces those ghosts of her past, she realizes that some of those ghosts aren’t as transparent as she believed.
Oh, this book was such a surprise! I thought it was going to be another mediocre YA fantasy novel with an eye-catching cover—I swear, I’m like a moth to a flame when it comes to amazing book covers.
There, I admit it.
Let’s get on to the things I liked:
#1 There are so many elements of mystery throughout this tale that kept me completely engaged, wanting to get to the end of the story as quick as possible! This book masterfully ties the past into the present by utilizing time as a major theme. Accompanying that, a creative myth is spun of an old feud between a sorceress and an Alchemist, lasting centuries long. These two aspects were keys to upholding this mystery. It felt like no matter what scene it was, there was a big, pink elephant standing in the corner, just waiting to be noticed!
#2 The pacing is fast and intense once the backstory is given and the characters are introduced. The first maybe 20% I was a bit…bored. But I waited it out, taking note of key characters and facts as they came along. Once the plot moves from that neck of the woods, it just builds and builds and builds…
#3 I won’t say much on this one so I don’t spoil anything for anyone, but the author does a great job at avoiding a possible love triangle! I was so worried we’d end up with yet another #teamwhosawhata and #teamforgetmenot (but really, I forget a lot of them because there are just too many in YA to keep track of!)
I’ll just say it’s not the nicest thing to happen in the book.
#4 The characters were well written and believable in each of their situations. While the fantastical undoubtedly takes place, it is not forced at all. I felt, especially with Jules’ character, that what happened to her actually could have happened. This is the key element that takes a fantasy story to an entirely different level.
#5 The climax and ending had me like…
Things I didn’t like:
There wasn’t much that I didn’t like about this book. It had a bit of a slower start. Once the characters were introduced and the stage was set, the pacing ramped up. The only thing I would have liked to see more of was a wider view of Sempera, the world/land in which Everless resides.
I thought this book was original, refreshing, and intoxicating. I’m awaiting the
Vulgarity: None that I recall.
Sexual content: Minimal.
Violence: Moderate – there were a few scenes that I cringed at.