Thursday, February 14, 2013

Book Review: Every Never After

Every Never After
(Never #2)
Published By: Razorbill Canada
Publication Date:  March 12, 2013
Page Count: 312 pages
Buy it at:  Chapters Indigo
Source:  ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher Via NetGalley
  Audience:  Young Adult General Fantasy

"It's happening again..."  Yep! It surely is!  Those who enjoyed Lesley Livingston's Once Every Never will undoubtedly be in for a treat with its much anticipated sequel, Every Never After.  In the first book of this series, the adventure was predominantly Clarinet (Clare) Reid's, but in the second book, it is Allie who accidentally sets in motion a time-traveling journey of her own.

Who would have thought that an innocent childhood blood ritual between friends would have such crazy consequences later in life?  I bet Allie didn't when she and bestie, Clare, shared a little blood oath when they were wee lasses.  The result, of which, was that they quite literally became blood sisters and fortified a blood curse that originated with Queen Boudicca and tied the girls together several centuries later to a string of time-traveling adventures way beyond their wildest dreams.

Soon after the events of Once Every Never, where Clare--with a lot of help from her friends--traveled way back in time--to the time of the Druids and Romans--to set some things right and rewrite some wrongs, and inadvertently sent the villain, Stuart Morholt, to imprisonment in the past.  Not a bad thing really...he got his just rewards, right?! 

All our favourites from the first book join us in the second, with a few really great new additions, but as I already mentioned, this is mainly Allie's adventure, with Clare and Milo trying to figure out a way to bring Allie back home.  While experiencing Allie's bizarre journey right along with her, what I found was that the quiet, somewhat shy and self-described brainiac-nerdy-girl was actually quite fun and interesting.  Her inner-dialogue very much contained Lesley's trademark snark, and now I could see why she and Clare were such good friends.  Her reactions to her situation were, I think, realistic from a 17 year old's perspective.  She did appreciate the predicament she was in, but every so often would find her mind drifting inappropriately at times...especially when it came to Marcus.

I can't say too much about Marcus without spoiling some of the story (although I DID accurately guess his secret) but I can say that he is the Roman soldier that Allie eventually took a liking to.   She couldn't help but notice his gorgeous features even though he was somewhat mean to her at first, but it was apparent fairly early on that he was also trying to protect her from what her captors would normally do to an alleged sorceress that literally appeared in front of them out of nowhere.   It took a while for both to trust each other but once they started to let their guards down, I liked what I saw happening between them.  There is a scene close to the end that was just so entirely sweet and lovely and swoon-worthy that I will always remember it.  Not to mention I will always have Forever Young playing in my head when I think of that scene again...and for some time was the case for me.  A blast from the past!

And can I just say that Stu reminds me of the meanie magician in Frosty the Snowman?  That's how I picture him to look and sound.  Ha!

What I also really liked about this second book was that we got to see some things from a different perspective.  Wherein with Once Every Never, the story was focused on the plight of the Celts serving under Boudicca and how they fought against the Romans who were trying to overtake their lands and basically eradicate them.  But in Every Never After, we get an interesting and thought-provoking look at the side of the Romans.  No...the majority were still hell-bent on dividing and conquering but we got to see there was more to it from their side, and that not ALL the Roman soldiers were ruthless and evil.

What came first...the chicken or the egg?  This query pertaining to this story made my head hurt at times.  I admittedly got a bit lost as some of the pieces to the time-traveling puzzle and the blood curse were being revealed.  And I hate feeling I did spend some time rereading certain parts to try to get the full meaning of the latest reveals, but eventually I just learned to plow on through with just being satisfied for getting the gist of it. 

But I do have to say that Lesley's stories are always chock full of adventure and fun, and Every Never After is no exception.  Good, clean fun--this is a safe read for younger teens.  The romance is light and sweet and the characters are full of personality and snark.  Lesley cleverly inserted recaps from the previous story to tie the two books together, of which I was completely thankful.  There is a pesky cliffhanger at the end too...and it pains me to have to wait a whole year to find out what happens to one of my favourite characters in this book.

I'd like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to review this installment prior to its release.


It's happening again!

Despite their vow to each other at the end of Once Every Never, best friends Clare and Allie once more find themselves in trouble—and travelling in time. Indulging in a low-key vacation at Glastonbury Tor, taking part in an archaeological dig while soaking up the sights of summertime England, the girls have promised each other: no time travel shenanigans; no involvement with dangerous Druids or villainous museum thieves; and definitely no weirdness about the fact that Clare is now seriously dating Milo, Allie's super-genius hottie cousin!

But when Allie makes an unexpected discovery at the dig site—a skull—the grisly artifact sends her spiralling back in time to a Roman encampment besieged by rampaging Celts. Caught between the Legions and the war band, Allie is rescued from certain death by Marcus, a young Roman soldier with a secret. As she struggles to survive in the past, Clare and Milo race desperately against time in the present to bring Allie home...before she loses her head OR her heart.

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