Today I’m excited to have on the blog Jen Wylie’s short story collection about a place called Ever. This book was so good that I read it in one sitting! Made up of 6 short stories that when put together equal one novel, this book is for anyone who enjoys fantasy, young adult, coming-of-age literature.
I received this book via Author. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.Tales of Ever by Jen Wylie
Published by Untold Press on March 23, 2014
Length: 288 pages
Reviewing eARC from Author
A few months ago, I was a normal girl. Life sucked, and just like everyone else, I took the simple things for granted. At least until I got this new power, a "gift" my mom called it. Apparently, I'm a firestarter. I didn't want to be. I didn't ask to be. It would be cool if it wasn't so dangerous and I knew how to control it. When an uncle I'd never heard of showed up to take care of me after my mom died, I should have been grateful. As it turned out, my whole family isn't normal and more than a little bit crazy. I thought things couldn't get any worse. I was wrong. They banished me to Ever.
I literally could not set this book down! It is that good!
Tales of Ever by Jen Wylie is a collection of 6 short stories about a girl banished to a place called Ever. Misha is a sixteen year old orphan who like her parents before her is a firestarter. Because her gift isn’t dormant like most women, her family she didn’t even know she had banishes her to Ever, a magical prison for people from all realms who have done wrong. Ever is unlike any place she’s known. A rainbow colored sky that indicates time and when drinkable water will be available, plants that will eat you and creatures that look cute but are deadly, Ever is Misha’s personal hell. But when she finds out that her dad was banished to Ever as well, Ever becomes a place she can have a family again, all she has to do is find him.
I loved these characters! Told in first person from Misha’s perspective, we get a glimpse into her fear, courage, and loyalty/love. For a sixteen year old, Misha is surprisingly a strong character, taking what happens in Ever in stride and not really wallowing in self-pity like I’m sure most would if their evil Uncle banished them to a magical realm of death. But Misha isn’t alone. On her first day in Ever she meets Jadus, a young man who isn’t human, in fact though most of his features look human, he’s quite bird-like. Misha accidentally saves Jadus on her first day in Ever and Jadus takes her under his wing. Teaching her what she needs to know to survive this new world. I like Jadus, he’s honorable, loyal, and very protective/sheltering of Misha. Then there’s Shade. Misha meets him when she is split from Jadus. Shade is her shadow boy. When there is light he can project a shadow of himself that thinks and acts of its own accord. I love Shade, he’s like an annoying older brother you can’t get rid of.
But it’s not the characters that make this story, it’s Ever itself. This world is unlike anything I’ve ever read. Ever is a magical realm created to hold those who are banished. It’s full of dangers. Pretty much all the food is poisonous, the plants can eat you, cute and cuddly animals have a mouthful of shark teeth ready to devour you in a moment of weakness. Then there’s the not so cute animals that are just large and scary, like giant spiders, hawks the size of a small plane, and dragons. Then there’s the beautiful imagery of the rainbow colored sky and the description of these deadly animals and plants. I felt like I was there. I just loved it!
My only dislike of this book was that I felt like the story moved too fast at times, and I would go back and reread a section thinking I’d missed something. Like in the very beginning when Misha becomes an orphan and her mother dies. One paragraph her mother is teaching her about her firestarter abilities, the next paragraph the summer is over and Misha is at her mother’s funeral. I thought I’d missed something, but no it happened that fast. There were other instances throughout the book that I felt like there was missing time and I had a hard time keeping straight the timeframe of the story because of it.
Did this affect my overall liking of the book? Absolutely not. I still found this story intriguing and I really hope there will be more tales from Ever. This book can easily be a standalone, the author doesn’t leave you hanging. Yes there are more questions at the end of the book, but for the most part it is all wrapped up neatly. Even so, I sincerely hope there will be more. I’d love to hear Jadus’s and Shade’s stories and others! Overall, if you enjoy YA lit, coming-of-age fantasy stories, this one is a must read! I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I know I wasn’t 🙂