Wednesday 27 November 2019

Book Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Last Updated: 11 October 2021

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff book cover

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.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

Wow, wow, wow! This book was certainly a wild ride.

I have been listening to the audiobook version of Nevernight over the past few months in the car on my way home from work. I've never really tried audiobooks, other than listening to the Stephen Fry Harry Potter audiobooks on holiday as a child, but after this experience, I'm definitely interested in listening to more! I'm normally a fast reader so listening to the audiobook version made me savour the story, taking time to digest what was happening rather than rushing through at breakneck speed like normal. The narrator was brilliant, the writing excellent; this story certainly got its hooks into me!

Nevernight is a dark fantasy story that is full of twists and turns, a winding tale that definitely does not shy away from difficult subjects like violence, death, and sex. But despite all its gore, a brilliant story is at the heart of this book. Jay Kristoff is a master of the written word, with quirky descriptions and plenty of creativity in his world-building making for a truly stand-out read. In particular, the first half of the book is littered with footnotes giving further information about various parts of the world. Are these footnotes relevant to the story? Not particularly, but they are brilliant, snappy, and often, wonderfully sarcastic.

All the main characters are complex and varied, with many different facets to their personalities. Mia is the perfect anti-heroine, driven and flawed yet still vulnerable. Mister Kindly is also a brilliant addition to the story, providing a lot of the additional sarcasm that makes a great undertone to the story. I also enjoyed reading about the different acolytes and getting to know the wider cast of characters, but my favourite character of them all was Tric. An intense, deadly assassin training to become even deadlier yet who is also downright adorable? This shouldn't work, but in Nevernight, it works a treat.

Just as you think you know a character, there's another twist and you're kept guessing right to the very end. Nevernight is suspenseful and expertly paced; a great combination in any book.

By the time you reach the end, you're left wishing for more. Nevernight is the first in a trilogy, so I'll definitely be adding book two (Godsgrave) to my tbr list even if I'm not sure I'm emotionally prepared to read it just yetNevernight is a truly stand-out novel and it is one of my favourite books I've read this year.

"The books we love, they love us back. And just as we mark our places in the pages, those pages leave their marks on us. I can see it in you, sure as I see it in me. You're a daughter of the words. A girl with a story to tell."

Rating: 5 stars

Nevernight is available to buy now.

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Have you read the Nevernight Chronicles? Let me know in the comments below!

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