Reviewed by Heather C
Author: Jay Kristoff
Series: The Nevernight Chronicle #1
Heroine: Mia Corvere
Genre: YA Fantasy
Length: 448 pages
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Release Date: August 9, 2016
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Nevernight is the first in an epic new fantasy series from the New York Timesbestselling author, Jay Kristoff.
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, a sixteen year old Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic ― the Red Church. Treachery and trials await her with the Church’s halls, and to fail is to die. But if she survives to initiation, Mia will be inducted among the chosen of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the only thing she desires.
THIS. BOOK. WAS. LONG!! And now I am completely drained and exhausted. It took me 20 days to finish this book because it was so dense and dark and depressing. Yes, I read other books along the way, but I could only take Mia and her story in small doses.
Set in a fantasy world with three suns where complete darkness only occurs every few years, Nevernight tells the story of Mia Corvere. Orphaned after the hanging of her father and the imprisonment of her mother, Mia vows vengeance. First, she must train to become a Blade (an assassin for the Lady of Blessed Murder)…if she doesn’t die first.
The idea, the characters, the setting…all of this was amazing!! Mia is one of the strongest heroines I’ve read in a long time. She’s a hardass and determined and her biggest downfall of being an assassin apprentice is that she has a heart. She has a purpose, and the author takes the time to allow us to believe in her purpose, even though it can be hard to justify the murder of people following orders.
I don’t want to go into a huge amount of plot details because: 1. the plot was too complex and intricate to simply outline in a review. Plus, who wants that?! And 2. One of the best things about this book is that I had no idea what to expect next. All I knew was nothing good was going to happen and I was just biding my time before the next big twist or heartbreaking betrayal was revealed.
I finished reading this book nearly a week ago and it still guts me every time I think about it. That’s a good sign right? Even so, I’m still a little conflicted on my overall feelings. On one side, part of me wants to say “This is one of the most brilliant books I’ve read all year.” And then on the other side of the argument, I have to ask myself “Why did it take me so long to finish?” I struggled a lot during the middle and it is very possible that if I hadn’t received a review copy, I may not have kept pushing myself to the end. The good news: I ended up binge reading the last 30% and dammit I want the next book…now! Although I’m probably not emotionally ready to read the next stage of Mia’s story, I don’t regret reading the “birth”.
Extra thoughts: I must make it clear that this is my first experience with this author, and his writing style is very different from what I’m used to reading.
For one thing, the story begins by alternating between two different points in time, so it took me a bit before it was clear to me the narrator was telling the tale of a single person: past and present. Once that finally made sense in my head, I was immediately sucked into Mia’s story…and then I ran into the footnotes!
So this brings me to my second point. When I saw the first number denoting a footnote, I was so confused trying to figure out where I needed to go to read it. And since I was reading on my Kindle, it wasn’t like I could just glance at the bottom of the page, or at the end of the chapter where I eventually discovered the footnotes to be located. So, initially, I stopped reading each time I came across a footnote and flipped forward to read the extra information. Some of it was probably useful to the whole of the story, but I found that most of it was just silly. And after a few chapters, I eventually stopped flipping to the footnotes and ended up skimming them after I finished each chapter instead. Unique idea, but mostly pointless in my opinion. Although, if I was one to reread books, I probably could better appreciate all of the footnotes on a second read through.
And third, good gods the prose was near ridiculous. Okay, it WAS ridiculous but eventually I think I became numb to it and some of the nonsense seemed to make sense!
Caution: Be aware, this is a young adult story as all the main characters are teenagers, but there is explicit sex, gruesome killings and graphic torture on the page. You won’t see me complaining 🙂
Overall Impression: I Liked It
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*