by Gail Carson Levine
Kezi is a talented weaver and dancer, living in the city of Hyte. She lives happily with her mother and father, wanting for little except to marry a good man and grow old with him.
Olus is the Akkan god of the winds. Out of loneliness, he leaves the company of his parents on Enshi Rock and goes to live among the mortals. The beautiful mortal girl, Kezi, catches his eye... but he dares not reveal himself to her.
But when Kezi's mother falls ill, her father makes a dangerous bargain with the all-powerful god, Admat. When her mother recovers, Kezi must be sacrificed.
In an attempt to save Kezi's life, she and Olus join forces to undertake a series of tasks. As they do, they find themselves falling in love. The stakes couldn't be higher... for, if they fail, Kezi will be lost forever.
I've wanted to read this book ever since reading (and enjoying) three of the author's other middle grade books: Ella Enchanted, The Two Princesses of Bamarre, and Fairest (I gushed about them here). While I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the others, I liked it enough to read most of it in one sitting.
Ever is classed as a middle grade book (ages 10 and up, actually), but the romance and the deeper themes about questioning blind faith and obedience make this book suitable for young adults as well. Olus sounds absolutely dreamy; like many guys in YA fiction, he's depicted as god-like... but in this case, he actually is a god! The story was told in alternating points of view, switching back and forth between Kezi and Olus. I liked both main characters. Olus might've been fairly one-dimensional in the hands of a less-skilled author, but he had some interesting traits that you wouldn't necessarily expect to find in a god. Kezi was also a good character, more innocent and ignorant, but trusting and loving. These are characters you can actually root for.
I must say, though, that I realized how much of my mind is in the gutter (much like that of a prepubescent boy) when I was reading this book. I'm sure it was unintentionally funny, but I couldn't help suppressing some giggles whenever Olus referred to "my wind". Especially the reference to his "wet" and "dangerous" winds. This is not really a book for boys, though, so I'm sure most female readers are probably more mature than I am. Wet and dangerous wind... *snicker* (Double entendres aside, being a god of the winds is actually pretty cool. I don't think the story would have been quite the same had Olus been the god of something entirely different.)
All in all, this is a very enjoyable story. Although it had a bit less of a fairytale feel (and more of a mythology feel) than some of Levine's other books, it might still appeal to the same audience. I'd probably recommend it to kids over 12, though (I don't think I would have been thrilled with the kissing bits when I was 10).
Overall: 3.8 out of 5