Review Blog

May 05 2009

Ever by Gail Carson Levine

cover image

HarperCollins, 2008.
(Ages 9-14) Imagine that you are a young girl on the brink of womanhood, and because of an oath that your father has made to the god, Admat, you are going to be sacrificed. Kezi, knowing that she has only a month to live, is trying to keep up her spirits, when she notices a majestic, muscular young slave at a wedding. Unknown to her, it is Olus, the god of the wind, and he has has fallen in love with her and is determined to help her. He offers her the chance to become immortal, but to do that they both have to undertake a difficult task to prove their worth.
The author has written the story in the first person, with alternating chapters told by Kezi and Olus. The reader gets to know the two characters quite well as they recount their fears, feelings and what is happening around them. All the sentences are short, as are the chapters, and this makes for ease of reading. The exotic setting, perhaps the Middle East, is fascinating, particularly the descriptions of rug making and dancing, both of which Kezi excels at.
On the surface Ever appears to be a straight forward love story between a young god and a mortal girl, and younger readers will enjoy the plight of the young couple and the action surrounding the difficult quest that each must undertake. More discerning readers will spend time pondering the meaning of love and what some people are prepared to sacrifice for it. Religion is also a major theme and Levine examines the way that two different belief systems can operate: in Kezi's world there is only one god, but in Olus's domain there are many.
A very attractive cover will be sure to draw in readers, who will then have to read on to find out if Kezi survives and if the young lovers find happiness.
Pat Pledger

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