Faye Middleton is sure she is a Defect. In her Primeval society, that means she has no powers, and when she goes to her Culling ceremony, she will be cast out of the way of life she has known since birth. In her world, she is part of a dual society, the Coven, populated by Hunters( usually male) and Witches (usually female), two parts of a whole who form a life-long bond together. Hunters and Witches need each other to work their magic, their affinity bond usually leading to a closeness that results in romantic pairings. With a telepathic bond, and a Divine need to be with each other, that is the way her parents, and many others have formed families.
She and her best friend Katie have reached their human majority, and Faye is sure she will be forced to part with her as well. Defects can’t mix with Primevals, so she prepares for a life without powers and family.
But on the day of her Culling Ceremony, her parents are missing, never having returned from patrol. Panic sets in, and is only heightened when she sees the participants in the ceremony are an odd number, meaning there will be an odd one out, confirming her Defect status. But when the Culling Quartz comes to life in her hand, it burns out of control, marking her as both a Hunter and a Witch. Something unheard of, a myth in the Coven: the Everlasting.
But she is told she must hide her powers, pretend to wait for an affinity partner that has not come of age, because the news of her power will awaken questions within the Coven and even the dreaded Darkyn Witches. It was the Darkyn that originally believed that Witches and Hunters should be separate, and caused a war that almost destroyed the Coven. Any number of creatures would die to have Faye under their control.
Faye struggles to find her place, and finds herself attracted to a tortured Hunter, Jaxen Gramm, and her feelings for him cause her difficulty since he is already paired with another Witch. They struggle against their connections a they train and hone her Witch and Hunter skills.
4 out of 5 Whatzits
I was immediately drawn into the story: the outcast, the Defect. What a draw into this world. Even without the long Proclamation setting the world up, I would have been able to see Faye’s world. The set up as she plans her future for when she is cut off from her world is great. Ms. Knoebel establishes Faye’s friendship with Katie and also makes her a strong link for the protagonist. The tension built up with the parents’ disappearance makes the moment of her Culling better. The tortured relationship between her and Jaxen works well, even with the secondary addition of a curse. Of course, since it’s a Young Adult/New Adult, the torturous aspect of the relationship is plucked repeatedly. I lost my patience with all the “almost kisses” and the hot and heavy with “interruptions.” But, I guess some is to be expected with the genre?
I liked it, but I also felt that there were a lot of new things thrown in so far in the book, that they required additional suspension of disbelief. I was already in the world and story, but establishing new characters, and new parts of a mythology (“Dagger of Retribution”), made me feel like I Was playing “catch up.” The whole of Everlasting would have made perhaps two YA/NA novels, and then each new reveal would not feel so rushed. There was a lot happening; I just wish each piece had been given it’s due time to mature. Worth the read if you like Paranormal/Fantasy in your YA/NA.