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Ever
by Gail Carson Levine
244 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Fiction/YA/Fantasy

From the cover blurb, I had great hope for Levine's newest release. Despite their younger core audience, I loved Ella Enchanted and The Two Princesses of Bamarre. And the premise of Ever excited me so much: Kezi is a talented weaver and dancer raised in Hyte, a country following a monogamous religion worshipping Admat. Olus is the youngest Akkan god yearning for mortal companionship. They fall in love and must overcome the ultimate sacrifice--death--to be together. Plus I had heard hints of faith being a major theme, with Kezi becoming agnostic at the end. I'm not so sure about that last part, alas. Ever is frustratingly simplistic in both construction and content.

To be fair, Levine doesn't hide the book's intent or style. On the first page, Kezi's style is set forth--simple, plain, concise. This can work, and maybe it works for other readers, for me it became irritating because I wanted more depth and less choppy skimming over the surface. I enjoyed the religious themes, as expected, but not as much as I expected. I enjoyed the fairytale/divine myth format, but I was unsatisfied by the resolution; Kezi didn't give up or lose anything permanent and she lacks a sense of true agency throughout the book. It's a quick and competent read--however, I expected much more from Levine, especially with this amazing premise. Essentially, I wish this had been an older YA or adult novel instead of younger YA skewing to middle-grade. That's not Levine's fault but she definitely could have done better even within genre and age restraints.

ETA: And as [livejournal.com profile] meganbmoore mentions, it's narrated in first-person present tense, if that's an issue. I tend to slip into the narrative easily and don't notice the POV unless it's really jarring, so I forgot to note it.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-01 07:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meganbmoore.livejournal.com
I saw this book on the "New Releases" shelf when it first came out and that's how I first heard of Levine, despite having seen the Ella Enchanted movie several times. I ended up reading most of her other books first (I have insane love for Ella Enchanted, Two Princesses of Bamarre and The Fairy's Return, and like Fairest, though not as much) and not being able to finish it. Granted, part of that was the dual first person present tense narratives. I...have an irrational hatred of first person present tense. But beyond that, something just didn't click for me like in the other books.

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January 2011

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