img_8014As someone who did not expressly enjoy Everless by Sara Holland, I was surprised by how much I liked its sequel, Evermore. Evermore jumps right into the action, picking up the story where we left off in a remarkably fast-paced manner and does so quite well. The stakes have increased exponentially and the massive amount of tedious world building that plagued the first novel is not present in this one. Instead, Evermore‘s focus is more on the story of The Alchemist and the Sorceress.

The boring uselessness of random characters in the first novel is basically nonexistent here and we are instead left with a mystery that actually captures and keeps our interest. I think this is partially due to the fact that the story moves from one action scene to another, never really bothering with dull exposition as we eagerly await more knowledge about Jules’ past lives.

The time we needed to get to know the characters that were unfortunately skipped over in the previous book is actually given to us here, making me feel as though the initial novel in the series was wholly incomplete. Frankly, I think Holland should have simply published them both as a single novel, cutting away the excess from the first and giving readers more insight and development as she does here. Jules is remarkably less annoying in this one and underdeveloped characters with little purpose do not take up an unnecessary portion of the text.

Ultimately, Evermore was much better than its predecessor. It had a phenomenally superb conclusion, reaching such a wonderful end that I very nearly gave the book five stars for that point alone. But though Jules is significantly less annoying in Evermore, she still retains a lot of her most frustrating traits which made it difficult for me to enjoy reading from her perspective. I struggled with the implications of the romance and how the characters came to love each other as it felt deeply underdeveloped.

Unfortunately, Evermore is plagued with a depressingly subpar romance that literally feels as though it has no real place in the story. It was poorly executed and never felt real to me. I didn’t care that Jules loved Liam, nor did I ever really believe it. Liam’s love for Jules was far easier to buy, but not precisely for the reasons Holland presented. And, ironically enough, Liam felt like an entirely new character. As it’s been so long since I read the first book, I was able to easily disconnect from the unfortunate way in which he was characterized for Everless. This was good for Evermore but does impressively diminish the quality of the first book, enough so that I’m seriously considering lowering my initial rating.

I cannot help feeling as though the misleading about Liam’s character in the first novel was demeaning and unnecessary and, had I read both these books at once rather than with a period of time in between, I do not think I could have forgiven the ridiculous 180 that his personality showed. It just didn’t feel realistic in the slightest and served more to irritate me than to shock as was intended.

Overall, Evermore did impress me at times and this was both a good and bad thing as it did serve to diminish my opinion regarding the quality of Everless. I’m not unhappy that I read the series, but I probably won’t ever reread it, either.

I was provided a free copy of this book via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

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