Please note that this review may contain spoilers for Everless. You can read my review of this novel [here].

Evermore was written by Sara Holland and first published in 2018. It is a fantasy novel set in a world where time is currency, focusing on a teenage girl’s mission to defeat a wicked sorceress. The novel forms the concluding part of the Everless series and follows on directly from where Everless (2017) left off, therefore I would strongly advise reading the novels in sequence to have any idea of what is going on.

Jules Ember’s life has been turned upside down. Not only has she been framed for the deaths of both the Queen and Lord Roan, but she now knows the truth about her power to slow the flow of time. She is the reincarnation of the Alchemist – the hated figure of legend who stole the immortal Sorceress’s heart and bound time to the blood of everyone in Sempera. Now, nowhere is safe for Jules. Not only is she hunted and despised for her supposed crimes, but Caro will stop at nothing to recapture her. The Sorceress wants her heart back and that means it first must be broken.

Although Liam and his friends try to smuggle Jules to safety, she knows that she cannot run away. Her sister Ina – now the new Queen – has no idea of what Caro is or the danger that she represents. The only way that Jules can protect her sister is by finding a way to kill the Sorceress but doing so seems to be impossible due to the Sorceress’s terrifying ability to regenerate herself. If only Jules can find a way to access her inherited memories from the time of the Alchemist. Perhaps they could contain some way to stop her archenemy.

With Liam’s help, Jules travels across the land in search of places that were significant to the Alchemist. In doing so, it’s not long before she sees glimpses of an ancient jewelled dagger which could well have the power to kill the unkillable. Yet can these memories be trusted, or are they just another way for Caro to trap her…

I have to admit that I was not sure what to expect from Evermore, but it certainly was not what I got. It is a really unusual sequel to Everless in that it did not have the same feel as its prequel. One of the things that I noted in my review of Everless was how effective its pacing was. While the novel was rather slow-burning, this actually acted in its sfavour. It took its time to build a compelling mystery that concerned Jules’s parentage, the origin of her powers and why her father did not wish for her to return to the castle. Evermore is an animal of a different kind.

The story this time moved at a rate of knots and was always focused on its end goal – the final confrontation between the Sorceress and the Alchemist. Because of this, it did not carry anywhere near the amount of tension that Everless enjoyed. While the fast pace meant that I never felt bored, there were no real mysteries to be solved this time around.

Whenever Jules is passed a new clue, she pursues it instantly and so the story zips from one location to the next. Perhaps this will hold some appeal if you found the original too slow but, personally, I felt that this was to its detriment. I could not get lost in the story as I did last time as it was just too rushed to really draw me in.

The book also felt a lot more like a straight fantasy story this time around. While the concepts of blood-iron and timeletting are still a feature of this world, they don’t play into the story anywhere near as much as they once did. Now that we know who Jules is – and that she is apparently immune to the effects of timeletting – it does not seem to be anywhere near as big a deal. Its reduced role unfortunately made the novel feel a lot less unique this time around. Evermore felt more like a reimagining of a faerie story, and even then, this was only in the loosest possible sense. I must admit that I have now read both books and yet I’m still a little vague as to how the legend of the Fox and the Snake entirely fits together.

Yet, despite my concerns, the story did start to draw together towards the climax. After a lot of adventuring, I was surprised to find that the plot wrapped up rather swiftly over the last 13% of the Kindle version. I honestly was expecting this series to be a trilogy, as I felt that there was still so much more ground to cover.

While the ending did feel rather rushed, particularly as so much was merely summarised in the epilogue, it did at least finally shed some light on the truth behind the Alchemist legend. While I liked this twist a lot, I was disappointed by just how tacked on it felt. One character who was ultimately instrumental to the tale is only introduced towards the end of this novel and so I felt that Holland could certainly have spent a third book fleshing this person out and better explaining how they influenced the actions of both the Alchemist and the Sorceress in the past.

In terms of characterisation, Evermore is also a bit varied. While it does provide a bit of growth for Jules, allowing her to take charge of her destiny and finally search for a way to end the Sorceress’s reign of terror, the hurried pace did not allow much time for quiet moments. It takes almost three quarters of the novel for her to truly talk about Roan’s death, despite the strong feelings that she previously held towards him.

Her relationship with Liam also simmers for most of Evermore. While I do appreciate that this is not the main focus of the story and there are some very good reasons for pushing him aside, Liam feels like a very different character this time around. He is nowhere near as dark and commanding, mostly spending his time following Jules about and playing no role in the climax. Ultimately, I found this to be a bit of a disappointment.

The supporting cast were also not very well fleshed out. While there is no shortage of strong female characters in Evermore, they seem to have a habit of fading out of the story. Liam’s female guard friend and Stef the hedge witch surface briefly to fulfil a purpose and then vanish without much of a thought. Similarly, old female characters like Caro and Ina only really appear at the start and end of the tale as they make little effort to pursue Jules after her daring escape. This was a shame as they are both of vital importance to Jules’s story and so I would like to have seen more of them.

So, all in all, I was left a bit disappointed by Evermore. While it was an action-packed read, it lacked the world-building and enthralling plot that drew me into this series. While I would certainly consider reading more of Holland’s work in the future, this novel just did not speak to me.

Evermore can be purchased as a Hardback, eBook and Audio Book on Amazon.co.uk

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