When Borders closed down around the world, it was sad, of course — it was the only book superstore of its like in Melbourne, for example — but it also led to some insanely great bargains in the final days of its EVERYTHING MUST GO sale.
There were two Borders in Melbourne, and I remember bouncing back and forth between them, in the months leading up to the final closure, snapping up new titles for what felt like pennies on the dollar. There were hardbacks for the cost of paperbacks, and paperbacks for the cost of second-hand paperbacks. It was very exciting. On the final FINAL day of the sale, I found myself in the SFF section of city store, mere minutes before closing time, and the books were all $1 each. $1! I stacked them high, dropped them at the counter then went back for another load. In all, I I bought something like 50 books that day, and being in such a hurry, I most assuredly judged them by their covers.
For this one, I took a look at the cover and thought: YA fairy tale retelling. Possibly medieval YA romance. Either of which I would have welcomed. But it turns out, no, this is a fantasy novel told in the sparest of prose that almost feels like it’s… Gilgamesh, or something. It deals with a young girl, due to be sacrificed to a god, who becomes the consort of yet another god. Told in alternating chapters, Kezi (the girl) and Olus (the god) fall in love and speak in flat formality while they seek to gain her immortality.
I’m not sure what Levine was going for here. Maybe it was some kind of experiment, trying bring the sensibility of an ancient text to modern day YA PNR. Neither character has any… character. They sound pretty much exactly the same. Even the life-and-death stuff is boring. The only thing I like about this book is that it equates Christian mythology with pantheist mythology, and shows the corruption that comes with religious power, which is exactly as it should be.
But other than this, the book is just terrible. TERRIBLE.
EDIT: Hey! Turns out Levine also wrote Ella Enchanted. Perhaps that was subconsciously in my mind when I thought it would be a fairy tale retelling, as much as the cover. I really liked Ella Enchanted. I can hardly believe this was the same author. I suppose I should be impressed that she was so prepared to try something so completely new. I am, but I still don’t like it.
TBR DAY 48: Ever by Gail Carson Levine
GENRE: YA Fantasy
TIME ON THE TBR: 7 1/2 years.
PURCHASED FROM: Borders, Melbourne Central.
KEEP: NO WAY.