In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.
Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.
Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic — the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff is yet another book that I’ve had my eye on for quite some time, and yet I always seemed drowned by too many others to justify picking it up. I had been going through the worst book slump ever when I saw it, and I wasn’t very optimistic that my luck in reading would change.
Holy hell, was it worth every dime I paid. A grim fantasy. A heroine I’ve been waiting ages for. A plot that kept me on my toes. This book had it all.
Mr. Kristoff’s setting is one of the more interesting ones I’ve come across recently. A land that has three suns, which of course means that it’s hardly ever night time. Once every 2.5 years there is “truedark”, where the night comes in totality. Every other 24-hour cycle is filled to the brim with a relentless light that comes with its own issues. The city that is the center of most of the goings-on is decadently described and evokes Italian structure at every turn.
This book’s setting and world building go uniquely hand in hand mostly because there are three suns. This brings about certain phrases and terms that are specific to this world. I never felt overwhelmed while learning the world I was reading about, and Kristoff managed to never info-dump. Every bit of the description was subtle. I felt like I was learning by subtext and not having specifics bashed over my head with every other page.
To top it off, Kristoff employed footnotes in many of the pages and I loved it. Some reviewers felt that it pulled them out of the story, but I never felt this way. The narrator in the footnotes shifts from 3rd person to 1st person and gave me incredible insights into Itreya and the world around it while managing to be witty, clever, and humorous. This helped with the world building immensely and never felt like cheating. Even without the footnotes, Kristoff created a place that was easy to understand and even more fun to learn about along the way.
Mia Corvere is the protagonist in Nevernight and I have never loved a female character as much as I love her. She’s a badass and I believed it. Plenty of authors try so hard to make their character the epitome of lethality, but none made me truly believe it like Kristoff did with Mia. She never got on my nerves and she seemed competent in most aspects even if she didn’t quite excel. She had her flaws, but they weren’t annoying ‘not”-flaws. We all know the ones.
Mia is sixteen years old, but this is NOT a YA novel by any means. Blood and gore abound so fantastically in this novel, along with some heavy sex. Both of which were written very well. I picked this book up in the Fantasy section, which is exactly what I was looking for.
The best thing about this story is the pacing and plot. Honestly, this book never lets up. Every single turn there was conflict, and when there wasn’t conflict, there was tension. This is so hard to accomplish and very few authors get it right.
Another thing I loved was that Kristoff understands how to get me to go “Oh my god, I should not be surprised but HOLY SHIT”. He is a master of foreshadowing. I would go a while, being tugged this way and that by a plot that never let up, and then just when I’d forgotten something that was mentioned 150 pages back, BAM, he hit me with a revelation that made my jaw drop and had me backpedaling through pages to see what I missed. There were no cheap tricks, and I was constantly surprised by how well he was able to plant and then pay off surprises much later in the story.
I have very few qualms with this book, as it’s quickly become a top 20 favorite of mine, but I will say that the fight scenes toward the end got to be a little much. For most of the book, the fights were incredibly written and never got dull. I was constantly on my toes and the stakes made me feel the tension that Kristoff wanted from me. But at the end, I was far too invested in what would happen and ended up getting frustrated with what seemed like pages upon pages of push, pull, feint, dash, and all that came with it.
It has been a long time since I’ve given 5 stars, but for pulling me out of a book slump, Nevernight has earned every single one of them. I definitely recommend picking this up and giving it a go.
Until next time,