Nancy O'Toole's Reviews > Ever

Ever by Gail Carson Levine
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's review
Nov 05, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: audiobook, fantasy, library, middle-grade
Read from November 05 to 10, 2010

Olus and Kezzi live very different lives. Seventeen-year-old Olus is a fledgeling god with the power to control the winds. Kezzi is mortal girl with a passion for weaving and dancing. When the two meet at a wedding, they quickly fall in love, but they have many obstacles ahead of them. Olus will live forever, while Kezzi has very limited time left. The two must embark on separate quests to prove their worthiness as a champion and a heroine. The result will make Kezzi an immortal goddess herself, but is that what she really wants?

Ever is a short, but fascinating children's book that feels very different from Levine's other works. Perhaps what I enjoyed the most was how Levine put her own spin on common fantasy plot lines. We've all seen stories where a teenage girl falls in love with an immortal boy, but I felt that Levine does certain things better than other authors. For examples, Kezzi's choice to become immortal wasn't an easy one. Deciding to stay mortal will result in dire consequences, but the cost of becoming an immortal is very high. I felt that this was done quite well. Something as big as immortality should not be gained without consequences. I also liked how Olus was not dramatically older than Kezzi, nor was he incredibly over-powered. I felt this put the two on more even footing. One thing that I thought that Levine didn't do quite as well was the short timeline. Kezzi and Olus jump from barely knowing each other, to being completely in love with plans to pledge their lives to each other very fast. Although the romance is sweet, I often found myself wishing the author would slow down the love story, or at least have the characters stop and question the enormity of what they're doing.

Another thing that makes Ever a unique read is it's treatment of gods and religion. Olus comes from a polytheistic society where the gods are far from all powerful and all knowing, making them feel almost human. On the other hand Kezzi lives in a monotheistic society wherever everyone worships Admat, a seemingly all powerful god who doesn't turn away human sacrifice. Readers with a Judeo-Christian background (as well as those with some knowledge of religion) will notice similarities between Adamt and God of The Old Testament, with some obvious differences. Through Kezzi, Levine raises some very heavy questions about faith. Does Admat even exist? Is Admat actually evil? As a Christian reader, I didn't always see eye to eye with Levine's examination of faith, but as a reader of children's literature I couldn't help but be fascinated by it. Children's literature rarely presents a book with even hints of a pro-atheist/pro-agnostic outlook, so it was surprising to find them in this short, often light, romantic fantasy book. From what I've seen, this outlook has resulted in many negative reviews, but I have to wonder how it will appeal to young girls raised in a non-religious household.

Ever is an interesting, albeit flawed book. I listened to an audiobook production of it and felt that both narrators (one for Kezzi, one for Olus) did a real top notch job. The story is fun, filled with adventure, and at times surprising depth. I do wish that the book had been a bit longer. Levine was bold enough to question the concept of an all-powerful god in this book. I wish she had been equally bold to question the idea that short-term infatuation equals long term love.

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Reading Progress

11/05/2010 "Listening to the audiobook on my way to work. I just started disc 2, but as there are four discs, this looks like a very short read."
100.0% "Just finished the audiobook. Review coming soon. Found this to be a nice little book. Not on par with Ella Enchanted, or The Two Princess of Bamarre, but just as enjoyable as Fairest."

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