Joining us for an Author Takeover today is author and Potterhead Sara Holland, whose fantastic young adult novel Everless is out now. Much like our beloved Potter series, Everless tackles the trouble with becoming obsessed with living forever, and the unfortunate imbalance this creates when it comes to power. Sara joins us today to ask if it’s worth it.
In the land of Sempera, the rich control everything – even time. Ever since the age of alchemy and sorcery, hours, days and years have been extracted from blood and bound to iron coins. The rich live for centuries; the poor bleed themselves dry. Jules and her father are behind on their rent and low on hours. To stop him from draining himself to clear their debts, Jules takes a job at Everless, the grand estate of the cruel Gerling family. There, Jules encounters danger and temptation in the guise of the Gerling heir, Roan, who is soon to be married. But the web of secrets at Everless stretches beyond her desire, and the truths Jules must uncover will change her life for ever … and possibly the future of time itself.
Life’s Too Short
Immortality is a classic villain motivation. I mean, look no further than Harry Potter‘s Tom Marvolo Riddle, the boy who becomes the Dark Lord, who splits his soul so that he can’t be killed by normal means. My 14-year-old mind was blown when I read somewhere that “Voldemort” is derived from the French words for “flies from death.”
When it comes to bad guys’ goals, living forever ranks up there with “ruling the world” and “avenging everybody who’s done me wrong.” And when this works, it works because on some level we can all understand it. Power—maybe you feel you could use more money, more clout. Revenge—maybe you nurse a secret grudge or two, daydream of turning back time so that you can deliver that killer comeback. And immortality… maybe you’re kept up at night because a human lifetime is simply, factually too short to read all the good books in the world.
(Or is that just me? Just me? Okay…)
Like any motivation, the desire for more time—or infinite time—only becomes villainous when it becomes harmful, superseding all other goals, desires, and considerations. Yet, often, our literary immortal creatures—elves, fae, vampires, and so on—pose a danger to humans. And most of the time, if you see a mortal character trying to achieve immortality, they are on their way to becoming a villain if they aren’t one already. This is the case in the world of my book EVERLESS, where you can add years, even centuries to your life, but it must come from someone else. For them, immortality (even though they can’t live forever really, that doesn’t stop them from trying) is inherently somewhat villainous, because it’s a zero-sum game.
In recent years, we’ve seen a ton of great YA focusing on characters whose motivations are less than noble in the traditional sense—they want money or power over all else (at least they think they do). THE YOUNG ELITES comes to mind, and SIX OF CROWS, both of which are deeply and widely beloved. I wonder if we’ll see a protagonist—hero or antihero—sometime soon whose stated goal is to achieve immortality. I know I’d snap that book right up.
I don’t think I’d be the person to write it, though. Because despite EVERLESS’s subject matter, there’s little that’s more frightening to me than the idea of actual immortality—the world changing behind you, loved ones leaving you behind, the earth someday being sucked into the sun, etc., etc.
That said, if anyone is writing a book about immortals dealing with the inevitable heat death of the universe, I’ll be first in line on your release day!
Everless is available to purchase now.