This was another YALC proof giveaway. I’m not entirely sure if this will be the UK cover art, but it’s the only art available online at the moment. And look how awesome it looks!
When I read the synopsis of this, I thought it sounded a lot like the film In Time, with Justin Timberlake, which I watched, and thought it had an interesting concept. Add that to extra high fantasy elements and a YA slant, and I was hoping for great things from this book!
In the land of Sempera, time is extracted from blood and used as payment. Jules Ember and her father were once servants at Everless, the wealthy Gerling family’s estate, but were cast out after of a fateful accident a decade ago. Now, Jules’s father is reaching his last hour, and she will do anything to save him. Desperate to earn time, she arrives at the palace as it prepares for a royal wedding, ready to begin her search into childhood secrets that she once believed to be no more than myths. As she uncovers lost truths, Jules spirals deeper into a past she hardly recognizes, and faces an ancient and dangerous foe who threatens her future and the future of time itself.
I thought there was a lot of great stuff going on in this book – a corrupt money system based on time, where the poorest struggle to live from month to month, and the richest live for centuries. Jules clearly had some dark secret in her past, which she and her father had been fleeing from for ten years. Then, with her father struggling to survive any longer, bleeding his last hours to pay the rent, Jules is forced to take matters into her own hands.
Lots of things in this book were super – I really liked Liam, the mysterious, dark, dangerous heir of the Everless family, and hope to see more of him in the future.
My main issues with this book were a) it was kind of predictable in places. A good few twists and turns were pretty easy to see coming. But that said, there were also a few that I didn’t see coming, so that kept me on my toes.
My main main issue, however, which is b), was Jules was entirely incapable of listening to anything anybody told her. Don’t go work in Everless, her father said. So she goes to work in Everless. Stay away from the Queen!, she was told. So she tries to get appointed as the Queen’s handmaiden.
I also have issues with long-lost, hitherto unknown, family members inciting in characters the feelings of love and protectiveness that would be present if it’s family that you’ve known and loved and grown up with. But hey, maybe some people are capable of offering love to people they’ve never realised were blood tied to them before.
In any case, while there were some weaknesses in this book, it also had some nice strengths, with an interesting baseline, and a setup for a much bigger second book.