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Never-Contented Things

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Seductive. Cruel. Bored.
Be wary of…

Prince and his fairy courtiers are staggeringly beautiful, unrelentingly cruel, and exhausted by the tedium of the centuries ― until they meet foster-siblings Josh and Ksenia. Drawn in by their vivid emotions, undying love for each other, and passion for life, Prince will stop at nothing to possess them.

First seduced and then entrapped by the fairies, Josh and Ksenia learn that the fairies' otherworldly gifts come at a terrible price ― and they must risk everything in order to reclaim their freedom.

368 pages, Hardcover

First published March 19, 2019

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About the author

Sarah Porter

9 books647 followers
I'm no longer checking goodreads. If you'd like to contact me, please write to wateryden (at) gmail (dot) com. Thank you!

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 302 reviews
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,084 reviews17.5k followers
August 2, 2020
This is a book about the attempt to find relationships and connections when in circumstances where it is hard to develop either, and how that can lead both to unhealthy behavior and to real love — it simply depends how it is expressed.

Don’t look at the average rating yet. We’ll talk about it.

Never Contented Things follows two foster siblings who are in love, or so they think – no, this is not romanticized – and their journey after one makes a deal with faerie. So, yes, the first half of this book is deeply fucked up, but that’s the point: we see these characters hit their lows and we are forced to empathize deeply with the situation they’ve been put in. Josh and Ksenia’s relationship is based on intense codependency, one where they have been forced into a mutual relationship based on necessity; the narrative does a frankly impressive job of showing this while still sticking in what the characters actually feel about each other. By 50% through, you’re rooting for both of their characters (in very different ways) but actively rooting against their relationship. Also, you are very fucking terrified of the faeries.

The reason this probably shouldn’t be a five is that I actively did not enjoy reading the first 20%, and indeed struggled with a lot of this book – you read because you’re almost too horrified and scared for these characters to look away. I do get why the average rating is somewhere around a 3. It’s not a fun novel.

This novel was also marketed, as I believe my reviewer friend Acqua pointed out, somewhat poorly — Never Contented Things is asking for a very certain type of reader, I think leaning older teen and new adult demographic, and is certainly not a book that should be placed on read now on Netgalley. I also have noticed that a great percentage of the bad ratings are readers who DNFed this and rated it one star, which is perfectly fine — it’s just that this has dropped the rating pretty damn far.

The reason this is, for me at least, a five, is that it is frankly one of the most emotionally cathartic novels I’ve ever read. Here are just a few things we should talk about in regards to this book:
➽gender as it plays into self-image
➽the idea of only loving what you want to see in someone
➽the fact that one of the plot points is essentially about the mortifying ordeal of being known and it made me cry
➽rape culture and the way in which Ksenia’s character has closed herself off due to being an unspoken victim
➽the degree to which the narrative works against romanticization of self-harm
➽the narrative’s focus on healthy love as not something revolving around ownership
➽the sheer tenderness of loving someone as your best friend before your crush and being willing to sacrifice a lot for them simply because you love them without it mattering how or whether they love you back
➽the idea that no matter what your past is you can always find your way out.

I’m going to really unpack all of these in further depth because I honestly just… have so many feelings about this. But if you’re already intrigued and want to avoid any possible spoilers, please do just go read it yourself! Seriously. It’s one of the most wonderfully well-written narratives I’ve had the pleasure of reading, go buy a copy, etc.

Ksenia is a character who projects, to the outside world, being very comfortable in her identity. Actually, she dresses androgynously to the point where characters mistake her for a boy (also, every description of her outfits within this book made me cry she’s such a legend). But inwardly, she’s not there for herself at all, not yet.

There’s a plot point in this book involving Ksenia’s inner selves being captured into tiny bodies and being used to create the upstairs of her and Josh’s house (it’s terrifying and I’m such a fan of it). And neither she nor Josh can get more than two steps on the stairs to the upper floor. This makes sense, given that Josh doesn’t want to see who she really is; it’s just that she doesn’t want to see who she really is either. The truth is that Ksenia is dealing with a lot of trauma from being sexually assaulted, something she has refused to allow herself to truly process because no one has given her the space to process what happened to her.

You’re still real enough that I love you.

We need to talk about the sheer fucking power of the other main relationship in the book, between Ksenia and Lexi. Lexi is Ksenia and Josh’s friend; she’s black, has had a steady boyfriend, and has grown up in a fairly stable environment. To some degree, she has historically been Josh’s best friend. But she also loves, and has always loved Ksenia.

There is something very wonderful to me about the way in which this relationship is conveyed. The reason Ksenia is willing to trust Lexi is because Lexi respects her boundaries and does not see her as a sexual object; that’s not anything Ksenia is willing or even able to give at this point. The two of them love each other as friends do and also as lovers do, but they’re willing to fight for each other whether the other loves them back or not. And though they eventually self-actualize and define how they love each other, they put each other’s boundaries first.

Okay, bear with me. When Josh attempts to seduce Lexi into the faerie world, there’s a moment where she walks up Ksenia’s stairs and tells her she’s not afraid of what’s inside and Ksenia subconsciously lets her, because Ksenia wants to let her in. There’s this one line Lexi says to Ksenia during this scene that is just… the most tender thing I’ve read in my entire life, and you don’t even think they’re going to be a thing at this point, but I fully teared up. It’s a scene 50% of the way through and I am in love with it. So there’s that.

I think I tend to be really sensitive to the idea of saving yourself for another person, or love solving personal problems. Which is why I so deeply appreciate the degree to which the narrative works against romanticizing Ksenia’s self sacrificing nature, even when it is technically what saves the day. Ksenia is someone who cares deeply about other people partially because she struggles to value herself on a deep level and considers herself on a lower level than other people, but this is written as a clear part of her characterization, not as a factor of just how in love she is with Josh or with Lexi. Like… chef’s kiss.

I also think using sapphic love as a force for good in any literature is, on some level, a revolutionary decision. Even in literature of today, queerness is so often framed as baggage, something that makes it harder to live a full and fulfilling life. In this book, queerness is a pathway to (subtextually) identity and (textually) to healthy love. That is such a major shift.

But what’s perhaps even more meaningful about this book is that it ultimately decentralizes romance as a path to recovery, while still emphasizing that anyone can come out alive from a traumatic past. Ksenia and Josh spend much of this book in a toxic relationship that each believes will on some level save Ksenia, or fix her. Josh’s approach to love is one tied in with ownership of identity, with owning who Ksenia is as a person. And without hitting you over the head, while still allowing the audience to connect their own dots, Never Contented Things subverts that narrative time and time again, allowing its characters to grow without romantic love as a savior.

Look. I know I’ve gone on about this book for a very long time at this point, but the main point is: I don’t think I’m going to be able to get these characters or these ideas out of my head for a very, very long time. This was so scary and so wonderfully cathartic and I know I’ll be reading Sarah Porter’s next book.

TW: discussion of rape and sexual assault, incest between foster siblings (criticized), codependency (criticized), parental neglect, some really terrifying body horror, death on page.

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Profile Image for Acqua.
536 reviews189 followers
July 31, 2019
Let's get one thing out of the way first: this is not like The Cruel Prince.

The synopsis might make you think it is, but there's no court intrigue, no hate-to-love romance, and they are just very different stories with completely different messages. Going into this expecting them to be similar will only lead to disappointment.

Never-Contented Things is a dark contemporary fantasy story about a codependent relationship between two foster siblings. It's ugly, messy, disturbing and hard to read, and if you're the kind of person who likes to read about teenagers doing the right thing, I really don't recommend this book. The main characters in this story are in no way role models, and they aren't meant to be. However, I think that stories about messed up teenagers finding a way out are very important.

This is a very uncomfortable read with a beautiful message. A story that says that no matter what you went through, there's hope. You can heal. And maybe you will always be haunted by those memories, but you can get better.
I think we need this kind of stories too, because teens go through similar things - well, not the part were they're trapped by creepy fairies, but you can see that as a metaphor - and this deserves to be recognized. And we need messed up stories from the point of view of marginalized characters (all main characters here are queer) as well. It may not be the most positive representation ever, but it can help. Not everyone sees themselves in stories about unproblematic people.

This book follows three characters:

Ksenia Adderley, arguably the main character. She's currently living with her foster brother Josh and her foster parents, Mitch and Emma, who accuse her of having a bad influence on her brother. She's white, presents as masculine and is described as "not a girl" in some parts of this book, which makes me think she is nonbinary/genderqueer, but she never says anything about it (or, at least, if she did I missed it). She is attracted to multiple genders but doesn't label herself. She has been in multiple traumatic situations before, including sexual assault, and she's perceived as cold by many because she's very closed off. She says and thinks a lot of messed up things, but I understood her and she grew on me.
Joshua "Josh" Korensky, chubby, pansexual and gender-non-conforming. He's perceived as the "good" sibling by his parents. While I understood his motivations (and he is, after all, a victim too), I still kind of despised him.
Alexandra "Lexi" Holden, black, mostly into men but not only, grew up in a supportive family and is a good student. She's Josh and Ksenia's friend, she sees how the situation spirals out of control, and she has a major role in Ksenia's recovery. I really liked her PoV.

The relationship Josh and Ksenia have is unhealthy, codependent and becomes abusive throughout the story. Ksenia is over-protective because she feels like Josh is the only one who understands her and loves her. She is really afraid to lose him, as she has lost many people before. She takes all the responsibility for every time he messes up, and she is seen as the one who has a bad influence on Josh, even if she's actually the one who sees him as a brother. Josh, however, doesn't really see Ksenia as a sister, disregards her (lack of) consent because he believes he knows what she actually wants, and pressures her in romantic/sexual situations.
They're doing all the wrong things to remain together, and it's difficult to read.

But Never-Contented Things isn't just about unhealthy relationships. The friendship between Ksenia and Lexi was healthier, and even the romance (f/f? f/genderqueer?) that develops from it seemed to be. I really liked Ksenia and Lexi together.
One could argue this is a story about a romance helping a person get out of an abusive relationship, but I don't really agree. Ksenia isn't saved by Lexi, or by Lexi's love. Lexi helps her realize she has a problem, but the decision to confront the truth about herself and her relationship with Josh was, ultimately, Ksenia's. Ksenia doesn't just get out of a relationship, she gets out of the mindset that got her there, and that's why I didn't mind that this book ended with a romance.

I won't lie, I didn't enjoy reading most of this. While it does have its fun moments (...the scene about Prince on the burning chair made me laugh out loud), I almost DNFed it multiple times. It made me feel sick. I also highlighted entire pages of it, especially near the ending, because the character development was wonderful.

What I liked the most about Never-Contented Things was Ksenia's character arc. It's one of the most well-written arcs I've read in a while.
This is a story about denial and self-hate. Ksenia believes she can't be loved or understood, and that's why she gets too close to the only person she believes loves her; she also believes she is a bad person, that she doesn't really deserve to be happy. That part in which she says that she struggles to appreciate the good things about herself, that she gets she should in the abstract but doesn't really feel it? I understand this kind of double standard more than I'd like to.

You might have noticed that so far I've barely mentioned the fairies. That's because this is not really a "fae book", the fairies here are... kind of incidental. They make the situation worse, and they add a lot of creepiness - pool party with dying ghost horses? Door graveyards? Eyes growing on your hat? There's a lot here - but they're not the focus.
That doesn't mean they weren't awesomely disgusting. Especially Unselle. She's the girl on the cover of this book, and everything she says and does is very creepy and wrong on so many levels. I loved reading about her.

Trigger warnings for: foster brother/sister incest, codependency, parental neglect, emotional abuse, sexual assault, on-page death, body horror, mentions of suicide.
Profile Image for Ashlee » libraryinthecountry.
774 reviews643 followers
February 7, 2021
This book is disturbingly twisted. I was tempted to DNF it multiple times, but I was also incredibly fascinated by the story.

Rather, the reason I wanted to DNF it at times is because of the way it made me feel. Parts of this book are downright messed up, and I would argue this book is only appropriate for older YA audiences, if it’s going to be marketed toward that age group at all.

First of all, I want to give a content warning for sexual assault, graphic violence, drug and alcohol use, suicide, non-consensual elements, and early on it’s clear the two foster siblings at the heart of this story are harboring romantic feelings for each other. I have a pretty open mind when it comes to taboo topics in books, and I’ll tell you, the relationship between Josh and Ksenia wasn’t even what made me feel uncomfortable in the first place.

If you saw mention of faeries in the summary and have noted that it’s been compared to The Cruel Prince, I want to preface that the elements of faerie are NOT the crux of this story. Take The Cruel Prince and make the faeries even fiercer, without remorse and only seeking entertainment and you *might* come close to characterizing the faerie elements of this story. Now, take two broken and lost teenagers, who aren’t sure how to survive without each other and put their lives under the thumb of those faeries. Much of this book takes place IN Faerie, though it is never referenced as such and takes some understanding of faerie folklore to realize that is what’s going on.

Furthermore, one of the main characters, Ksenia is vaguely referenced to as genderfluid multiple times, and I really loved her character. But, I felt as though she was continually treated more as thing and a plot device in this story than anything else, and certainly her identifying as non-binary felt as though it wasn’t meant for representation but so that the pieces of this story would fit together better (like I said, it’s only vaguely referenced, as though the author didn’t want to actually say it out loud). 🤔

The idea behind this story is fascinating, though I am disappointed that there weren’t enough consequences for the perpetrators. There is some utterly wrong, unforgivable things that happen in this book. There is one particular character whose obsession with another character takes them across some lines that should never be crossed and I feel as though they only received a slap on the wrist in the end.

This book is well written, with a solid plot, but I am not really sure who I would recommend it to. That’s compounded by this book’s tone putting me into a similarly uncomfortable and weird mood while reading it. I’ll just say this – if you give it a shot, keep an open mind and try to read through to the end if you can! It’s about 2.5 stars for me, but I am rounding it up because it is well written and interesting, if anything else.
Profile Image for Melanie (mells_view).
1,709 reviews331 followers
March 21, 2019
3.5 “If you let yourself feel how empty the sky is, you know you’re always falling into an enormous hole.”

To start, if you are looking for a book like a certain cruel, wicked, and fae driven YA series (I was), this book will NOT make you happy. If you are looking to read something that has non-traditional main characters, dark fairies as an accessory, and a very dark magical Labyrinth (yes my age is showing) feel to it, then you will LOVE this story.

The relationships are unhealthy at best. There are betrayals, secrets, and lies. But at the heart of this story it’s kind of a question of forgiveness. Like how can we love someone who has wronged us? Can we forgive someone for wrongs they’ve done when they aren’t really themselves? Especially when it’s someone you can relate to so well. Someone who understands you on another level that no one else does.

“How can everything become nothing, just because someone did something wrong?”

Personally this story did not work for me. It may simply be because I had expectations from the synopsis that were in no way close to being met. I think this is a GOOD and unique story. One that hasn’t been told over and over in the YA world. I think being “fresh” works in Never-Contended Things favor. I grasp what the author was going for, and think that there is a very niche group of people who will LOVE this book. Sadly. I can’t sit at their table, because I didn’t love it.

I’m giving this book a 3.5, and rounding up to 4 for goodreads because it is well written, unique, and takes you on a crazy dark (YA standard) ride. I don’t feel right rating it lower simply because it doesn’t appeal to me. That being said. I’d maybe edit the synopsis. In my opinion it is SERIOUSLY misleading to anyone who has read a certain other YA series.


*ARC provided by NetGalley*
Profile Image for Silvia .
635 reviews1,402 followers
July 15, 2019
I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.

4.5 stars, rounded up after careful consideration.

This book's biggest flaw was the way it was marketed.

First things first, I loved this book. I think it might have been a 5 stars under slightly different circumstances, and if I can ever bring myself to read it again I think I will be able to give this the 5 stars it probably deserves.

Before we get into what it did right and why I liked it, let me once again do the job that the publisher* failed to do and clarify that, first of all, that blurb is totally misleading. Prince is not the protagonist of this book and he's frankly not even that important. Fairies in this book are just a clever excuse to explore humanity, or better said, some very fucked up and ugly sides of humanity. And that brings me to my second point, which you should keep in mind before even thinking about reading this book: this is fucking dark. It's ugly, it's triggering, it's maddening, and if you manage to read enough of it it has one of the most satisfying character developments and conclusion of any book I've ever read.

To put this on Netgalley without a single trigger warning, and especially to set it as "Read Now", was a huge mistake and a huge disfavor to both readers and the book itself. I'm sorry if I come off as harsh but I'm not just here to review the book, if the publisher really cares about feedback I hope they will take this into consideration for the next books they put up for review.

* (hi, publisher person that will read this when I send my review through Netgalley! please don't take this review as your cue to never approve me for your books ever, again, thank you)

This is initially a story about the codependency between two foster siblings, Josh and Ksenia. Their relationship gets about as unhealthy as you can imagine, and because for the first good chunk of the book we only get to see things through Ksenia's eyes, our reading experience can get incredibly frustrating. If you're someone who while reading needs to be told at any given moment, "This is wrong, btw," then you should stay away from this book. You know it's so, so wrong, but the book *shows* you that it is instead of telling you, because character perspective matters and that's the whole fucking point.

As the story progresses and the codependency slides pretty heavily into abuse, you get a different, healthier POV. And thank god, because reading Lexi's POV chapters are like emerging to finally take a breath after being held under water by Ksenia and Josh. And still it's a while before things can get better, because they need to get worse first.

What truly struck me about this book were two things: the writing, which is absolutely stunning and it completely captured me from page one, and the fact that Ksenia is given all the compassion, all the redemption, all the healing and forgiveness we usually bestow upon male characters. And I don't know if she's a female character, other reviewers have said she's possibly genderqueer, although this isn't explicit in the text, but she's a character I feel was missing in YA, or maybe I just haven't encountered one like her yet.

The leading theme in this book is how abuse will affect the mind and affections of a victim. How a victim is left alone, ignored, blamed even, and is left so vulnerable to the slightest hint of what they think is love. They think, this is the best I can ever hope for. This is better than it was before, so it must mean it's all I'm worth. And sometimes things really are good, but sometimes they're really fucking not, and Ksenia was unlucky enough to first read the definition of love from the dictionary of Josh, except Josh is a victim too and his definition of love is all wrong, too. This book does an amazing job at never victim-blaming anyone but also at showing the effects of your first, your second, your life-long abuse, because those things can't be ignored when we talk about abuse and especially when we talk about surviving it.

Ksenia isn't magically saved by her love for Lexi, or by Lexi's love for her, but she's given the tool to dig herself out of eighteen years of wrong, and that's the most powerful message you can send readers.

There are so many other things I loved about this book. Everyone is queer (Ksenia is possibly genderqueer and attracted to multiple genders, Josh is fat, pansexual and gender non conforming, Lexi is Black and discovers her multiple-gender-attraction throughout the novel), the writing, as I said before, is absolutely beautiful and atmospheric. The faeries are seriously creepy as fuck and I loved (hated) them. The conclusion was the best one I could hope for. But seriously, the best thing of all is everything I talked about for most of my review.

Now more than ever I encourage you to read the trigger warnings and know that it's okay if you think you can't handle them; these aren't things that are just mentioned in passing, they are very real in the novel and it WILL get super uncomfortable even if this stuff isn't usually a trigger to you. But if you think you can, give this book a try because it's so, so worth it.

Trigger Warnings: incest, codependency, abuse, sexual assault and rape, death on page, violence, body horror, parental neglect.
Profile Image for Mel (Epic Reading).
904 reviews274 followers
May 17, 2019
This is a dark, creepy book. It's not horror but it's skirting the line. While this is clearly written in the tone of YA/Teen it is maybe only appropriate for about 15+ due to the sex scenes and gore. Sarah Porter takes us into the realm of the Fae (without actually ever referencing fairies) that is far from all happy and delightful. Some things are easy: obtaining food, having clothing, no money needed, etc. While other things are harder: no real people, creepy fairies, mini versions of yourself, crumbling infrastructure, etc. The overall morale is quite simple, even if the story itself is complex, in order to get something you must give something. Be careful that what you're getting is worth that is being sacrificed.
Yes it's true some believe there is incest in this book. Read #10 below for more

Tips to Reading Never-Contented Things
I'm gonna give a list of tips. These are things that I found I had to accept or make my brain ignore in order to get a bit of enjoyment out of Porter's novel.
1) Fairies exist. They will not be called fairies (and they are clearly evil).
2) Remember the standard fairy rule: never eat or drink while in the Fae realm.
3) Stop thinking you know what will happen and just go with it. This story is teens making decisions and (of course) those decisions may not always be logical or make sense to you as the reader. Remember being a teen is confusing.
4) Yes teens have sex. If you'd like to live in a world of ignorance leave this book behind.
5) Children are creepy and vulnerable.
6) You might want to keep the lights on while you read this.
7) Little mini gremlins (as I called them in my head) are clever. Not weird or stupid; but clever.
8) Just because it's obvious what is happening to us doesn't mean our characters see the whole picture.
9) This is a fictional story with magic. Therefore anything can happen.
10) Finally and the most important; FOSTER SIBLINGS BEING ATTRACTED TO ONE ANOTHER IS NOT INCEST!!! They met at 11 and 14. This is NOT incest at all. They are not blood related. They merely live in the same house. You may find it awkward or weird (and you're supposed to) but it doesn't make it wrong, illegal and is technically not inappropriate. They are just two teens, like any other, that met each other as teens. Sorry to yell but it infuriates me that people are condemning this book because a core plot point is incest. It's not incest as there is zero blood relation!

Choosing Who To Love
Even were the attraction between our two leading teens incestual it would be okay to be in this book. Why? Because it's fiction. You may not want to read it and that's fine. Then put it down. One of my favourite books as a teen was Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews. Partially because it's so horrifying but also because it made the point that you don't choose who to love. You just fall in love. It helped 14 year old me understand that the world is messed up, and as we humans live in this weird world, so too can our desires be explainable. It doesn't make us bad people; it's merely a complication that we have to deal with as we (ourselves) deem appropriate. We may need to follow a few laws in place for our own protection (and that of future offspring) but that doesn't mean that we are fundamentally bad people.

Writing Style
This likely would have been a higher rating had the writing style been a little smoother. At times Never-Contented Things felt disjointed. Like there were chunks of the story missing. I also felt that too much was revealed too soon. It was very obvious to me from the get-go what was happening. I'd have liked a little more mystery to the events transpiring and subtle foreshadows. Readers are smart (yes even teenagers) and can sort certain things out in their mind. In fact many readers love to have ah-ha moments that have pieces falling into place perfectly. But you can't have an ah-ha moment if you've known what's happening all along.

The idea here is not necessarily new. Fae realms and trapping humans has long been a fundamental piece of most fairy stories. What's unique here is the driver that leads our characters to decide to act the way they do. One of those pieces is the unique relationship between our two lead foster kids. It would have helped understand their co-dependent relationship had there been more back story on where they came from and how they got to the foster home where they met. I also felt like no time was given to the foster parents who (obviously) have an influence on the teens and setting rules. More early development of all our characters (before any fairies show up) would have been great.
My favourite part of all is the little nod to traditional fairy stories by making one of the most evil of them named 'Unseelie'. This is the name commonly used to describe the lower or underground or evil Fae court. It was perfect and an early tip off to just how far these crazy fairies might be willing to go.

To read this and more of my reviews visit my blog at Epic Reading

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.
Profile Image for Alana.
662 reviews1,268 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
March 4, 2019
DNF @ 50%.

Y’all, I had to do myself a solid and pull the plug on this. I legitimately felt like I was on heavy drugs reading this, it’s such a weird story. Just when I thought it couldn’t get weirder it did, and not in a “this is unique” type of way, it’s a “what the fuck am I reading” type of way. The whole foster sibling / incest discussion / one is in love with the other was just a big nope.

Plus, this promised TCP vibes but where were the Fae?!?!?

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Profile Image for Fiona.
1,220 reviews224 followers
March 13, 2019
I was the one who said the magic words, and now we're all living under a spell.

This is one of those ratings where I'm being objective, because though it's not an easy, or entirely enjoyable read for me, I was still very much in awe of some of the writing here, and the subjects tackled.

In a small town near Buffalo, beautiful and untamed Josh goes missing after partying with a group of beautiful strangers. His foster-sister, Ksenia, was there but even she can't find him - until one day when a domino falls and kicks off a bigger chain reaction than anyone could have predicted.

Firstly, the good points - the writing here is lush and poetic, and will absolutely resonate with it's audience. The book wraps some ugly and weighty subjects up in those pretty words, but they're things teenagers have to think about, and for the right reader this book is going to feel like a revelation and validation all in one. Add to that faeries done right - full of teeth and torments - and you've got yourself a dark opera of a book, emotions always front and centre and everything tinged with pain, but lifted by the ever-present promise of escape.

For me, being a few years past the teenage/twenties emotional minefield, it was always on the verge of edging into too much. But I'm not yet far enough away that I've forgotten how it felt back then, and for a teenager going through a hard time, this book might just be that everything to escape into that some of our characters so desperately needed.

Overall a very good book, even if I'm no longer it's target.
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,709 reviews703 followers
March 17, 2019
DNF at 34%

I don’t normally do books about faeries unless they have Holly Black’s name on them, but that cover and synopsis really sucked me in. And I’m not sure how to review this book.

This story was a struggle from the beginning. I had heard poor reviews from friends, but wanted to give it a try. Pretty much from the start, I could tell there was something off about the relationship about Ksenia and Josh...and yeah it’s absolutely what you’re thinking.

Plot wise, nothing made sense. I mean, I understood the general idea of what was happening, but it constantly felt like 50 words were being used when 5 would have worked. For me, things that should have been given a bit more clarity were the parts that were ignored. If that’s a specific choice for a reveal or something down the road, I didn’t get to it.

From the part that I did read, I didn’t see much of the faeries, which seems a bit odd. Perhaps things would have changed for me if I would have continued. Sadly, it just didn’t hold my interest. I didn’t care for these characters or their journey and the overuse of the words “baby” and “chubby” really annoyed me.

FYI: lots of talk of incest and a few mentions of rape

**Huge thanks to Tor Teen for providing the arc free of charge**
Profile Image for Sol ~ TheBookishKing.
303 reviews179 followers
February 27, 2019
This ... is so bad wow I can't believe I just wasted three days of my life reading this Foster Incest plot with horrible Fae characters and the worst dialogue to ever be published.

RTC. Soon cause I need to rant about this stupid shit.
Profile Image for Amy Imogene Reads.
927 reviews794 followers
August 13, 2019
4 stars

It's the nightmare in the corner of your eye when you're about to fall asleep. It's the daydream that starts out innocuous and turns sour before you realize your own train of thought. It's twisted, it's stunningly inventive in its nightmares, and the portrayal of its characters is unsettling for a purpose.Never-Contented Things is one of the darkest fantasies I've ever read—and it's not here to cater to any of your preconceptions.

Imagination: ★★★★★
Nightmare Quality: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★
Character Introductions:

Sarah Porter has created a tale that is stunning in its breadth of darkness. Because of its deep dive into the unsettling, I think it's safe to say that Never-Contented Things is not for most readers. Take the charismatic, glittering world of Holly Black and remove all of the redeeming aspects of her faeries and their world—the beauty, the inherent hunt for good, and the semi-likable character traits—and you're a step closer to Porter's take.

Androgynous Ksenia is living a lackluster life with her foster brother, Josh, and their friend Lexi. Things seem normal, until Ksenia and Josh find themselves at an outdoor party and the guests are...odd. This is the arrival of the tale's brand of Fae—all cruel, and several steps away from the ethereal beauty that the genre is used to—and Josh and Ksenia soon finds themselves in an upside-down, everything-is-just-so-slightly-wrong world where the details are not like Wonderland, or Faerie, but rather a completely warped version of their mundane surroundings. It's incredibly hard to describe the concept, but suffice to say it is haunting and not at all like any other preexisting trope. I can't overemphasize enough how intensely unique Porter's vision is.

The plot progresses in the form of six parts which rotate points of view between Ksenia, Lexi, Josh, and Unselle. In terms of enjoyability, Lexi's sections are the clear winner. Lexi's grounded, no nonsense approach to the surreal madness of the plot is a refreshing breather from the occasionally disturbing sections of the others.

While we're on the subject of disturbing aspects... The reason Never-Contented Things stalled out at 4 stars was due to its frankly alarming character introductions for both Ksenia and Josh. They are foster siblings with hard backgrounds—which are not their fault—but due to their intensive closeness fostered out of past trauma there is the introduction of romantic feelings that have bubbled up out of their closeness. It's incredibly hard to push through—especially as it’s our introduction to these characters. It's convoluted and leaves a bad taste in your mouth. I almost considered DNF'ing it due to the unsettling relationship discussions.


Never-Contented Things needs this confusion/bad taste. Without divulging spoilers, I'll just say that by the end of the story I understood why the romantic confusion was included. I still think it was made weirder than it needed to be and probably lost quite a few readers before the plot became unputdownable, but the justification is there. It's just buried in the last sections of the plot.

Overall, I do think Never-Contented Things provides a new slice of the Fae genre, and is extremely unique in its approach. I don't think I'll ever quite forget it...and it certainly will come to me the next time I'm in the dark.

Many thanks to the publisher via NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Makenna Fournier.
329 reviews66 followers
January 2, 2019
Considering this has been one of my most anticipated books lately, I did not think I would end up writing a review for it saying it was my most disappointing read of the year, yet here I am. I have honestly been putting off writing this review because I didn't want to, but now I have like 4 reviews to catch up on from the procrastination of this one, so I think it is time. And small disclaimer before I continue, I did not end up finishing this book, I had to DNF it after the first part, there was just no way I could force myself through anymore of it. I will point out certain things that I don't know for sure and I cannot completely comment on the, and what I think could change later on in the book, but mainly this review is just me talking about why I couldn't push through the book anymore.
There were just so many things I did not like, so I don't even know where to start, but I guess one of the biggest problems I had getting into it was how long it really took for the Faerie aspect to come in. As a reader, I was able to identify some of the characters who I am guessing were Faeries, but even after I was a 100 pages in, the MC still didn't even know what weird world she was in, yet alone that Faeries were at all involved. I am sure if I had continued this book I would have gotten to actually learn about the Faeries, but I was not a fan of the fact that I was such a good portion into the book and it still felt like I hadn't really learned or seen anything.
The lack of Faerie in this book was disappointing, but that was something that could have changed later in the book, what was not going to change, and the ultimate reason why I put this book down, was the two main characters, my dislike for them, and my extreme dislike of them together. I did not like Ksenia and Josh's relationship at all, and considering that was what the whole first part was about it is no wonder I couldn't get into the book. Now, it was not the fact that they were foster siblings, but their codependency with each other, and it made me so uncomfortable that I just couldn't continue to read this book (but also just Josh in general, some of the things he did or said were crossing a line for me). I have hopes that later on in the book that relationship is called out more, but I didn't know if that was going to happen, and I couldn't continue to read anymore of the book when I didn't know and it was still making me uncomfortable.
Part of me never wants to look at this book again, but I think that, if people whose reading tastes I trusted read this and love it, and I knew my fears for the second half were not true, I might be willing to give this book a second chance, because honestly with Sarah's other books the endings were what made me love them. If that doesn't happen though I don't ever plan to come back to this book.
Profile Image for Nastassja.
423 reviews986 followers
January 29, 2019

Reading this book was a big challenge for me. First of all, I deceived myself by believing Never-Contended Things would be similar to The Wicked King. But Never-Contended Things is a story under an absolutely different sauce. It's a tale of two foster kids Josh and Ksenia, who love each other more than anything, bordering on obsession. Faeries are just a side dish to Josh's and Ksenia's story.

Secondly, if you look deeper you'll see a story of codependents and almost-incest, though Josh and Ksenia are not blood-related, it still felt like their feelings for each other were too twisted for the average sibling relationship. Faeries were just an instrument to create a surrealistic atmosphere where everything is a turned upside down reminiscent version of our world, swirling around Josh's and Ksenia's feelings.

I was never a fan of surrealism or magic realism, so I was not able to grasp the concept of this story and to enjoy it fully. I was standing away like a passerby, observing the poisonous circle of lies, love, obsession and redemption, but I was not sympathizing with or feeling for Josh and Ksenia.

The language was lush and darkly alluring, the atmosphere electric with eeriness and magic. Sarah Porter masterly created a world full of magical and psychological references that blend together seamlessly. But in my opinion, it is a story for a narrow circle of readers who will be able to appreciate and understand the aforementioned references. Unfortunately or fortunately I am not that kind of reader.

Verdict: not my cup of tea!

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book!

Profile Image for Jennifer Gaarder.
109 reviews14 followers
March 19, 2019
This E-Arc was provided to me by Tor Teen and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. These words are my own. Thank you!

Never-Contented ThingsBy Sarah Porter
Tor Teen, March 19, 2019
368 Pages, Kindle Edition
From Goodreads:
"Seductive. Cruel. Bored. Be wary of… Prince and his fairy courtiers are staggeringly beautiful, unrelentingly brutal, and exhausted by the tedium of the centuries ― until they meet foster-siblings Josh and Ksenia. Drawn in by their vivid emotions, undying love for each other, and passion for life, Prince will stop at nothing to possess them.
First seduced and then entrapped by the fairies, Josh and Ksenia learn that the fairies' supernatural gifts come at a terrible price ― and they must risk everything to reclaim their freedom."

Goodreads Rating: 2.96/ My Rating: 4.00


A dangerous and cruel story about love, lust, and power, Never-Contented Things rises above many of your favorite fae books and twists what you may already know and makes a strange package. Josh and Ksenia are foster brother and sister living in a small town who have a peculiar relationship. She is 18; he is 16. She loves him, but he is in love with her.
I think most reviewers missed this.
Though they have this love for each other, nothing could have prepared them for what was to come for the next steps.
They go to gorge to find fun with their friends. Instead, they find a group of "kids" they've never seen before and are immediately drawn to their party. Their music and clothes, their beauty are so inviting, yet, Ksenia is on edge.
She does not trust what is going on. Kissed by some strange boy, she finds herself unconscious until morning and Josh went. The group of kids had taken him.
For the next three days, she tries against hope to find him only to have reappeared in the woods naked and alone. He goes to the hospital and seems strange. EVERYONE seems odd, like under some spell. Josh is talking fast and asking weird questions and pushing Ksenia to trust him and love him and ONLY HIM. He finally asks her to love him and live with him forever and ever. To this, she agrees without realizing what comes such a promise.
They go home; only, it isn't home per se. After some time, Ksenia finds she is no longer in the world she once knew. Josh has somehow transported them into a better world, complete with their home, their town, some kids and well nothing needs to be paid for...ever.Is she happy? Does she want to be here?
Later in the story, Josh escapes to the real world to lure their best friend Lexi (Alexandra) to the better world. Lexi is shocked at the fact that Ksenia is alive and well. You see Ksenia died. Many children died over the last six months for no reason at all. She visits the world only to find it is not better. It is strange, Josh is not a nice person and is very possessive of Ksenia. She doe not like what she sees and feels like something should be done.
When she is warned NOT to eat the food or drink anything at all, she becomes more than wary. Escape becomes scary, and she barely makes it with the fae at her heals. She realizes that her friend is in terrible danger and decides she HAS to rescue her.
This story encompasses so much action and little romance except for the ending. I was distracted by how Josh handled himself but expected it. You see, he knew Ksenia was a person who loved him, was hurt many times over as a foster kid, and felt he could save her from all of that. He thought his love alone was enough, and also thought he could force her to feel as strongly about him as he did about her. These things he was wrong about.

When she became more and more upset with him about the arrangement, he could not believe it. He thought things were better when really, they were all magic, a trick, an illusion.
The fae was cruel and spiteful. The final battle showed just how evil they are. Using Josh as the head knight to lead the charge against a human, his enchanted mind thought it was the thing to do. With the insistence of the fae, he was all about it. He did not have the single thing that would save his humanity, and that is free will. The fae stole that from him when he made his deal with them in the beginning.

So I guess the questions of the day are:
1.) Is the love that Josh and Ksenia unnatural and indeed incest?
2.) Do they ever escape the prison that is designed by Josh's deal with the fae?
3.) What happens with Lexi? Did she invade fae territory?

Well, these and more questions can be answered really if you read the book, but I will say this. Technically speaking, they did not have an abusive relationship; they had an inappropriate one. Ksenia wanted to leave and start a life of her own and Josh didn't want that. Enough said.


The writing flowed smoothly and was very well done. I was in awe of the style and the way it was done. I was not displeased with the way she worded the things, and there was a specific dimension between the characters' dialogues.


This was a character driven book for sure, though, the plot was there and not that well sketched out. I was not displeased with the way it was written, however. I thought she did an excellent job of making the characters the center of the story instead of the escape plot. Also, the idea of making the romance between Ksenia and Josh the center of the story would have made it a little dry. Though much was said about Josh's love for Ksenia which was more obsession than love, the majority of the story, which alternated in POV between Josh, Ksenia, and Lexi was about the characters themselves.

What I Liked:

The prose and quality of the storytelling, the twists and the cruelty of the fae when such deals are made that is what made it real for me. I knew that things that are too good to be true usually are. You do not find out until the end what the cost of this beautiful life is, but when you do, it's just awful. It is then, the reader finds, this is the cost of doing business with cruel things.

What I Didn't Like:

I disliked the obsessive quality of Josh's character. This was a significant flaw. He was over the top and probably overdone. If his role had been dialed down just a little bit, it would have been a little bit better to digest.

Overall Impression:

This was not a story about a brother and sister running off in love as I see in other reviews. It also not a story about obsession on both accounts. Ksenia loved her brother YES; however, she was not IN LOVE with him the way he was with her. Also, what I think he felt was more obsession than love.

This was a sad story in that this shows the lengths some people may go when struck with obsession and they want to possess a person so badly. Luckily, Ksenia had Lexi or, who knows?
This was a terrific story overall, and I would like to read more from this author! She is an excellent writer, and I do like that she goes for characters that have flaws and come from difficult backgrounds.

I rated this a 4.00.
Profile Image for Heather *sad DNF queen*.
Author 19 books461 followers
January 18, 2019
This is how you do scary fairies.

I really enjoyed this, although it was hard to get through at times. 1) The subject matter was occasionally a trifle disturbing (not necessarily a bad thing). 2) The paragraphs tended to be long, with dense, flowery writing. The descriptions were probably my favorite thing about this book, and I can't fault the writing, however much it might have slowed down my eyes sometimes.

Having read several fairy books where the evil, cruel fairies are... not evil or cruel, this book came as something of a surprise. I guess I had been lulled into complacency by those other books, because I was surprised this turned out to be a dark as it did. I expected some kind of romance with the fairies in question, but that's so far from what actually happened.

My one gripe with the book is that it's a little light on plot. Normally this isn't much of a problem, but with all that lush writing, I kind of needed something more going on. Oh, there's action, and a lot of self-searching among the characters, but somehow it didn't quite balance. It was like, I need to describe all this beautiful clothing and dangerous fairies and weird occurrences, so I'll just whip up some characters and stick them in a town and see what happens. However, those characters were all fully fleshed, with unique voices in their separate POVs, which is no small thing.

Overall, this is a must-read for people tired of watered-down fae. It might not be an easy read and it deals with some uncomfortable subject matter, but it's very well-done.

I received a copy of the book via NetGalley.
Profile Image for Elle❤🖤.
225 reviews41 followers
March 10, 2019
3 stars

*Thank you to the author and NetGalley for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

This book...makes me feel soconflicted. The premise is something that I am always drawn to - seductive and dangerous fae who like to play games. *cough* Cardan *cough*

And that's what I got. To some extent.

The book starts off strong, and I thought "This is great! I don't want to stop reading!" But somewhere along the line, everything became kind of...weak.

This book was staged as following Prince and his posse of bored faeries, seeking to play and manipulate the lives of humans for their own pleasure and entertainment. They've discovered their next target, and won't desist from their games until they are under their complete possession.

However, this all seems to be taking place behind closed doors, because we hardly get a glimpse of the fairies in action. I could count on one hand how many interactions they actually have with the main characters, so don't be expecting a lot of page-time with them. I was left really dissatisfied with the lack of scenes and interplay they had in this book. If I pick up a book about fairies I want fairies on every page, dammit!

The other thing is that the book felt very rushed, yet so painfully slow at times. I don't know how that works...

This book really missed the mark with me. I was so excited to read this, and don't get me wrong, it was really enjoyable at times. Maybe my expectations were too high, but I was left unfulfilled at the end of it.
Profile Image for Raquel Flockhart.
455 reviews306 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
March 30, 2019
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

DNF at 46%

I feel like I’ve been scammed. The synopsis of Never-Contented Things sells something that it’s not true: a fantasy story. So imagine my surprise when I started it and I found myself reading a contemporary book with magical realism elements. I don’t know who wrote the synopsis of this book, but they are misleading the readers. Because if I had known what I was really getting into, I wouldn’t have even requested the ARC.

I don’t like magical realism at all, so I think my experience with this book was doomed to failure from the beginning. Nonetheless, I tried to finish it. I really did. But then I decided to stop forcing myself to read it and decided to DNF it, because I wasn’t enjoying this bizarre story at all.

Never-Contented Things is a dark story about two fosters siblings, Ksenia and Josh, that have an unhealthy, questionable and problematic relationship. Josh doesn’t see Ksenia as a sister and she, afraid of losing the person she loves the most in the world, tries to give him what he wants. I want to point out that the author condemns this toxic relationship from the beginning, but having to read how Josh tries to pressure Ksenia into having sex with him just made me sick. I know that was probably the author’s intention, but I still had a hard time reading that. Also, trigger warnings for sexual assault, parental neglect and emotional abuse (and probably more, but these are the ones I found before DNFing this book).

I was curious about other relationship, as I decided to read other reviews at some point—I needed to know if this book improved at any point. But even the possibility of a f/f relationship wasn’t enough to force me to finish this book.

As I mentioned before, my main problem was the magical realism. It’s just not my cup of tea and the setting and plot of this story were just too wacky and bizarre for me. Also, the fairies are mentioned in the synopsis as if they had a leading role, when the reality is that they hardly appear, at least in the 46% of this book I read.

There is one positive thing I have to say about this book and it’s that all the three main characters are queer. Ksenia and Josh are both pansexual and gender non-conforming, and I’m pretty sure Lexi is bisexual.

In conclusion, I really think Never-Contented Things is a book meant for a very specific audience, but it definitely wasn’t for me.
Profile Image for Sarah Marie.
1,830 reviews227 followers
May 17, 2019
Never-Contented Things by Sarah Porter

4.25 stars

Ksenia and Josh are the odd foster kids who are a little two close for people who are being raised as siblings. When they encounter a Prince and his fairy in the forest where they usually drink and party, they are sucked into a dark and layered world of cruelty. Josh goes missing and Ksenia must pick up the pieces of his leaving. Lexie, their best friend, has to figure out what is going on and enter the dark world of the faeries to save her friends. Never-Contented Things is based off of the poem “The Goblin Market” and if you know anything about that the poem there is sexual fruit things, sister incest, and possible antisemitism. I read the poem for the first-time semester and was scarred by it. Not in a bad way, but I’m still not sure psychologically where I stand with the poem. Never-Contented Things seems to garner the same reaction from reviewers that “The Goblin Market” did with me, but I’ll be honest once I got to Lexie’s POV in this novel I was sold and ate this book as quickly as one who happens upon goblin fruit. I was sucked into this world and its strangely dark oddities. I would categorize this as horror fantasy. It’s on the more adult side of the YA spectrum, but it definitely has some promise to stand apart from the usual YA fantasy. It’s dark and creepy. The writing has a lot of stilted moments. Ksenia’s POV for the first portion of this novel is off-center and made me feel a little uncertain if I wanted to continue reading. I’m glad that I did because as much as I toed the line of DNFing at the first 25% once I got to Lexie’s POV, I saw where Porter was going with this story plot wise and was immediately impressed. Porter has a fantastic imagination that lends to a creepy and horrifying fairy story that will leave the reader unsettled. I was impressed with how once this story found it’s footing it became a stellar and definitely impressive tale.

Whimsical Writing Scale: 4

The characters in this novel seem to be where people have the most problem. Particularly in regards to the representation of certain communities, but as I don’t belong to those groups of marginalized people I won’t speak on their behalf and I’ll be discussing the characters as how I interacted and engaged with them (see OWNvoices reviews for more representation commentary).
Ksenia is an odd duck. I don’t mean that in a bad way. I liked her androgynous character and her ambiguity of gender, but she was not always the most engaging to interact with and then she would suddenly become the most fun to follow. That’s what I mean by as an odd duck. I was going back and forth in a tug-of-war, but once I got to the final portion, I was a definite fan of where the story was going for her.
Lexie is my favorite of all the characters we follow. She has the best characterization and development of plot. I enjoyed how Porter’s writing of her and the plot was gripping. Lexie offers a layer of friendship, loyalty, determination, and love in a story that is wracked with obsession and manipulation.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: Ksenia- 3.5 Lexie- 4.75

The Villain-Josh would be easy to brand the villain, but he is a young boy with no comprehension of the extensity of his actions. What he does is despicable and absolutely disgusting in regards to human life, but he is young and it is obvious that he is not grounded in reality which comes from trauma and abandonment issues. I didn’t like him at all. In fact, I hated him, but I also realize that he’s a kid and doesn’t deserve to be hung by his toes (nobody deserves that).
The real villains here are the faeries. Those are some unsettling creatures. No, thank you. They are led by Prince who has a monopoly on the fae people and is obsessed with spreading his world into the human world. He creates changelings out of straw and makes dead bodies to trick people into believing that the humans have died as he forces them to live in his cruel world. We also have a chapter from Unselle, a faerie with high-rank in the Prince’s command. She is unsettling. The villains are definitely creepy and I didn’t want to encounter them. They were kind of my favorite thing about this novel as well as the creepy and unsettling world they inhabit.

Villain Scale: 4.5

This novel isn’t perfect. I think many will be unimpressed and have issues with it. There is a lot of blurred lines and issues, but when I think of how messed up “The Goblin Market” is I can’t be mad. It’s a fantastic twist on the tale and I’m impressed. It wasn’t as amazing as I thought it would be and it’s not as bad as most of the people who DNFed it say it is. I’m glad I read it because I had a lot of fun. If you are looking for a dark YA fantasy with questionable morals and horrifying creatures then this one is for you. (It worked for me.)

Plotastic Scale: 4

Cover Thoughts: I love this cover. It freaks me out, but it’s kind of brilliant in design.

Thank you, Netgalley and Tor Teen, for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
January 10, 2020
Originally I was so excited for this book because I love fae. I love reading about them and when I requested this I was sooo in the mood for some good fae story. But then the very mixed reviews came in and I lost a bit of my interest.

Which was a good thing. I know this sounds weird, but hear me out. This story sounded like a book about fae. It isn't though. There are fae in here, but they don't really matter. Prince is barely in the book at all. They are but a clever way to have a closer look at humanity, emotions, trauma and friendship.

It is brilliantly dark and twisted. But not about the fae. I think this suffered a similar fate than Three Dark Crowns did. The way both books were marketed made everyone expect things the books weren't and never really attempted to be. In the case of Three Dark Crowns a fast-paced action-y book (like Hunger Games) and in the case of Never-Contented Things a story about humans going to live in a world of fae and revolving way more around the fae.

I think both books would have way better ratings when the readers knew better what to expect and the marketing was done in a way only people truly interesting in these kinds of books read them. Better for the readers and the books imo.

But since I waited a while and read a couple of reviews and knew this before going in I can honestly say that I loved this book. So much! My little black heart rejoiced while reading it.

It goes deep into the emotions people have, about how trauma shapes us and the way we interact. How we say certain things that can start a whole mess (unintentionally). How twisted love and friendship can get. What we would do for other people and for ourselves and so much more.

It's told in different parts and we get 3 (and 1/2) POVs. Ksenia and Josh, the adoptive siblings and their friends Lexi.

Ksenia is very closed off to everyone but Josh. Both have been through a lot and cling to each other. But while everyone adores the open, lovely and charming Josh, people think less favourably of Ksenia. Lexi is the exception. Although she, too, has trouble with the secretiveness and emotional distance of her.

This book is very character-focused and slow-paced. Which is exactly my kind of book. I loved the deep look into who they truly are. It took a while for us to see it though which made it even better.

Ksenia and Josh get sucked into the strange, dangerous and toxic world of the fae. Or rather Josh goes in and kind of tricks Ksenia into coming with him.

The fae are fascinated by the feelings they have for each other and how codependent they are.
We slowly get to see more and more how truly toxic their relationship is. And how it slowly spirals into really dangerous territory.

I immediately loved Lexi. She is a great friend who isn't afraid of voicing hard truths. She truly cares for Ksenia and even Josh.

I loved how we slowly unravelled who they are deep down. How they influence each other. The deeper I got into the story the more I loved Ksenia.

I never really trusted Josh, he was too charming and manipulative from the start. But I could definitely see why Ksenia loved him.

The way Sarah Porter used the importance of names and what we associate with them was brilliant. Ksenia has many different names, especially after she is in the other world. And they each name different parts of her. That was so clever and I loved the part with the stairs.

How Lexi talked to the different parts was heartwarming. How she gave them each the right name.

The ending was perfect. I can't tell you how much I loved it!! The character development both Josh and Ksenia (but mainly her) did was amazing. Lexi was so supportive and challenged Ksenia to fight not only for others but maybe work on doing it for herself, too.

Lexi's family is amazing, too. I also loved how her character stood for the fact that people can struggle under positive and negative expectations and that although those are two very different things ... it can still be difficult sometimes to deal with. Her family is very supportive and she had their love throughout her life.

The rep in this was also very well done. Josh is pan and Ksenia is (maybe) bi/pan. Also, Lexi is black and also not straight.

This is a story about emotional healing and about how you sometimes love people that aren't good for you. That sometimes love is not enough to overcome other struggles. And it showed the contrast between a toxic and a healthy relationship brilliantly without disregarding the characters feelings. I appreciated that a lot. It's not easy to stop loving someone you are so entangled with.

If you like character-focused stories that are dark and twisted, difficult and wonderful I highly recommend this!
Profile Image for Melanie (TBR and Beyond).
508 reviews364 followers
February 7, 2019
I won't be officially rating this because I didn't finish it or read at least 70% of it.

Unfortunately, I could not finish this book. I really tried, I was so excited for a new fae book. This really barely had fae and I've been told it never mentions the word once all the way through the book by a reliable source. My biggest issue is there a lot discussion on incest between two foster siblings that grew up together. One is in a more care-taking role and tells the younger one to wait a bit longer before they are intimate. It's just so uncomfortable and I'm sure the author meant for it to be that. It just made me super uncomfortable and I didn't feel like it was marketed how it actually read. It was marketed to the fae crowd that like Holly Black and I think that is very misleading. This is going to be a really polarizing book, you'll either love it or hate it. They'll be no middle ground on this one I'm sure.
Profile Image for The Story Girl.
1,290 reviews73 followers
February 25, 2019
"But what would we be, my darling Ksenia, if we could not spin love into webs far stronger than spider silk?"

Never-Contented Things is a dark tale about different kinds of love, infatuation, and the lengths a person would go to realize their obsession. And it's told from three different perspectives, all queer:

Ksenia Adderley, who is just days away from turning 18 and being turned out of her foster home that's she been living in for the last 6 years.
Josh, age 16. He had lost so much that he was "a little compulsive about pulling people in."
Lexi is Josh's best friend and blames herself when things start to go wrong.

The synopsis of this story honestly makes it sound like it's similar to The Cruel Prince, and I really think that does the book a disservice and leaves people disappointed when they come expecting one thing but get another. However, for those who do like darker tales, I think they would really enjoy this one. It makes you wonder what price you'd sell your soul for. What lengths would you go to so that you could be with the one you loved? Combine that with the author's lyrical writing, and you really do have a good story.

"So we kept wandering, and the night colored blue all over us like it wanted to steal our shapes and paint us into being part of it forever."

But I will say that it is a story that involves a relationship between two foster siblings. It's not shown as something healthy, but the infatuation is still there: "You are not anything that ever existed before you, because when you were born it created a totally new phenomenon. The past snapped off and fell away in crumbs. I knew it the first time I saw you, like you were a fundamental shift in what was even possible, and with you I'd be able to walk straight up the walls, and my footprints would scorch the paint."

A lot of messed up things happen throughout the book, but it is also healing in its own way.

"If you let yourself feel how empty the sky is, you know you're always falling into an enormous hole. An oubliette, I think is the right word: a place for things meant to be forgotten. Even starlight forgets the brutal fusion it came from by the time it reaches the Earth, because the sky is just that fathomless."

Overall, if you're looking for a book about unhealthy relationships and learning how to forgive someone who wronged you, then pick up this book when it comes out in March!

All quotes have been taken from an advanced copy of this book and are subject to change upon publication. Thank you to the publisher for providing me a copy of this to review via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Nia •ShadesOfPaper•.
831 reviews109 followers
March 18, 2019
You can find this review and others on my blog shades of paper

Okay, I was so pumped to read this book, because lately I’ve been so obsessed with faeries and anything that have to do with them, so when I knew that this book was about faeries I immediately added it to my TBR, and it became one of my most anticipated releases of this year, and I have to say that it was so much different from what I expected.

The thing about this book was that when I initially picked it up, I expected a story like The Cruel Prince, and I ended up pretty disappointed because it had nothing to do with it. In fact, it was entirely different. Though this book had very wicked faeries in it, it was more focused on the two main characters’ relationship and the toxicity of that love, and how these two characters grew throughout the story, and I really enjoyed that.

However, I had a lot of issues with the writing. There was something about this particular author’s writing that made me feel disconnected to the story, and though I was actually enjoying reading about these characters, I was engaged enough with it to fully love it. There was a big difference between the dialogues and the descriptions, and that made the characters at times seemed pretty juvenile, because even though the descriptions were flushed and creepy and so atmospheric, the dialogues were so plain and awkward, and even forced at times, and that created a huge gap between those two things, and that was one of the reasons why I lowered my rating.

Still, I adored our female protagonist. I couldn’t care less about the male character, but I think that our main character was so complex and interesting, and had such a great character arc and evolution throughout the story that even though there were things I didn’t enjoy, I was still interested in continuing with the book because of her.

Overall, this book had its pros and its cons. The characters and their interactions and relationships in the book were very complex and real, but at the same time the writing was a bit odd and I feel we didn’t get a lot of information about the faerie or the fae world, and that was one of the things that I was the most intrigued about.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This doesn’t change my opinion whatsoever. All thoughts are my own.


I GOT AN ARC ADLVKFGKS *tries not to freak out*.
910 reviews256 followers
October 21, 2019
Ok, I think I have forgiven the author for the nightmare (and not in a good sense) that was When I Cast Your Shadow. This was back to creepy-in-a-big-way but compulsively readable, more like Vassa in the Night. Twisty turney slippery slimy dark and scary, full-time horror with some wicked moments of inventiveness and startlingly good imagery.

Though I'm knocking a full star-and-a-half off at LEAST for Josh. Possibly more.

And what is it with this author and the bordering-on-deeply-inappropriate sibling relationships?! Two out of three is beginning to be a pattern.
Profile Image for Kelly Van Damme.
688 reviews24 followers
May 30, 2019
If you’re looking for a story like The Cruel Prince you won’t find it here. This is a tale of faerie but it is not a Disney fairy-tale with beautiful magical creatures; the faerie are most definitely Unseelie, they are cruel, never-contented beings, far from human and out for the human blood and suffering on which they thrive. This story is chock-full of crazy, mind-boggling stuff and in my opinion, it leans closer to horror than to fantasy. Although the main characters Josh and Ksenia are teenagers, this didn’t feel like a run-of-the-mill YA novel and I think this may appeal more to readers of horror, than it will to those who enjoy the typical YA fantasy novels and don’t like horror. There is a bit of a love interest, but again it’s rather dark. Josh and Ksenia are both living in the same foster home and so they are technically brother and sister, although obviously not at all blood-related, so their relationship didn’t feel incestuous to me. Said relationship is quite obsessive in nature, and even more so once the faeries get involved. Josh is entrapped by the faeries and wants nothing more than to have Ksenia with him. All the while he doesn’t realise that he’s gradually being stripped of his humanity.
Never-Contented Things has its roots in Changeling lore, but not in the way that babies are taken from their families and replaced with a faerie child. Here, the faeries steal children and teens, lure them away and leave replicas in their stead, exact copies, although the keen observer might spot a difference in behaviour. These replicas serve only one purpose: to die. Consequently, the stolen ones’ families and friends believe their loved one is dead, while the real child is alive but hidden in the faerie world. Speaking of which, there is no faerie mound of any kind, it is a sort of alternate reality, a copy of the real world.
While it took me a little while to get into the story, I ended up really enjoying it and I will definitely look into Sarah Porters’ other work. I think that the less than enthusiastic reactions to this on Goodreads are from readers who went in with the wrong expectations.
Profile Image for Arybo ✨.
1,323 reviews134 followers
March 23, 2019
I completely forgot to write the review! This does not mean that I did not like the book, on the contrary. I thought I had already written positive things and liked them the most. Hey, it means I can come back now, after a week, and see if the book is as good as I remembered it.
Let's start with the characters. The cast is very small, including young people who have close ties with each other. Not only they are particular teens, with their own personality, but they also have a particular bond between them, of friendship-brotherhood-love. To this somewhat ambiguous state of affairs one day it’s added the disappearance of one of these boys, a disappearance that changes the dynamics between the characters. After a while the disappeared boy reappears and seems to have changed somewhat, especially in his ways of doing things. Although not explicitly stated in the book, the reader immediately understands that the boy is under the effect of a spell, a magic thing. A cruel magic, which soon leads the various characters to confront their fears and their own insecurities, in order to regain the love and security of their ties. In the end not everything will be the same as before and, perhaps, not all evil comes to harm.
I especially liked the parable of the characters: how they change during the story, how they fight against themselves and / or against the preconceptions, prejudices and obstinations of others, how they acquire a rare three-dimensionality this way. There is not a character that is stereotyped and everyone is given the opportunity to express what he or she thinks and feels through the continuously changing POVs. Instead of being destabilizing, the change of narrator helps to focus on history and events, keeping the focus on what happens to all the characters, even the "bad" ones.
I really liked the description of the fairy people: sneaky, selfish, pusillanimous, cruel. No sexy fairies here, only manipulators of the human mind who enjoy seeing humans suffer.
A truly unique book that does not have a specific genre, but that mixes ya, fantasy, folklore, genre literature, with a bit of romanticism and so much love, love that can be fraternal, friendly or heartfelt.
If you are looking for something peculiar, I recommend it absolutely!

***thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the arc of this book in exchange for an honest review ***
Profile Image for Megan ❀.
445 reviews214 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
March 11, 2019
ARC provided by Macmillan-Tor/Forge via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts and review.

TW: incest, abusive relationships, sexual assault, suicide

dnf at 26%

Don't trust the synopsis for this book. I thought this would be like The Cruel Prince, but the fairies are only really an aesthetic to make the book's atmosphere feel even more surreal and disturbing. In reality, this is a dark contemporary about abusive relationships that has magical realism elements. That's probably someone's cup of tea, but it's not mine.

Look, I get it. Teens can get involved in some really messed up sh*t. Stories that deal with hard-hitting topics are just as important as fluffy romances and badass warriors. But stories like these have a very specific audience, and I'm not that audience. Even if the incestuous relationship between Ksenia and Josh is clearly condemned and treated as wrong in text, I don't want to read about it. It makes me feel icky, and this is simply a story I don't want stored in my brain.

The one good thing I can say is that this story thoroughly queer, not just in terms of sexuality, but also gender presentation and identity. I think it's important to pay attention to how teens are rejected and displaced due to varying shades of queerness, and I really appreciated how in-tune Sarah Porter seems to be to that. I also thought Josh's dialogue came off as especially child-like, which made me wonder if he was meant to read as having a mental disability. I honestly couldn't tell whether it was intentional or not.

Really, reading this book comes down to: are you interested in the topics it deals with and can you stomach said topics? I couldn't, but I can understand why other readers will.
Profile Image for murphy ✌ (daydreamofalife).
228 reviews97 followers
March 28, 2020
3.5 / 5

The story is different now; that’s how it goes. You think you have a good hold on the thread, you think you can follow it, but then it twists and winds and knots in your hands and suddenly you’re on a path you never even knew existed.

Well! That was one hell of a ride. And before you ask; no, it was nothing like The Cruel Prince. I've seen a few comparisons between the two in other reviews, and can't help but wonder what some of y'all are smoking. Just kidding. Mostly. But really, besides both books being in some way about Fae, they're completely different, and just because you like one doesn't mean you'll like the other.

This book follows Ksenia and Josh; two foster siblings with a very deep, very codependent relationship, and their friend Lexi. What Josh and Ksenia have is something that you (or at least I) actively root against during the story. And then there's Lexi, bending over backwards trying to help her two friends.

The story is set for the most part in a sort of mirror world, a reality like our own, but not quite the same. Josh is lured there by the Fae and Ksenia soon follows, trapped by the Fae and her own feelings. Lexi eventually enters the picture, and it's up to her to get things moving, to throw the proverbial wrench into plans, if you will.

The storytelling is dark and masterful and more than a little surreal. From beginning to end this story is a bit like the Fae themselves; enthralling, mesmerizing, and dangerous.

Honestly, I'm not completely sure how I feel about this one. Enchanting and disturbing as it was, and though I read it in a matter of hours, I had a crease in my brow the whole time, just this side of totally enjoying it.
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