Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1)
Author: Jay Kristoff
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Originally Published: August 11th 2016 (UK)
Format: Hard Cover (429 pages)
Synopsis: 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.
My Rating: ★★★★★
Oh, Nevernight, where do I begin to praise your excellence?
Let’s start at the very beginning…
From the outset, Jay Kristoff promises us a bloody, murderous and uncompromising story. A story comprised, I must warn you, of much blood and gore, a lot of violence, persistent use of strong language and spattered with some very explicit sexual descriptions (not your average YA). If that doesn’t catch your eye then Nevernight probably won’t be the book for you. But if that fills you with excitement then what are you waiting for?
Never flinch. Never fear. Never forget.
Mia Corvere is a girl with cold-hearted revenge in her soul. Orphaned at a young age after the hanging of her father and imprisonment of her mother and younger sibling, Mia narrowly escapes her own death. After being brought back from the brink by her mentor and spending years training in the bloody arts of the murder, Mia embarks on a journey to seek her revenge and battle her way to the top of the deadliest assassins at the Red Church. Mia is everything I love in a character. She is strong, she is centred, she is determined, she is passionate, she is independent and, despite everything, she cares. She is so real and her character was incredibly well developed. Her language leaves little to the imagination and if cursing offends you then I urge you not to pick this book up. I loved everything about her from the very beginning right up to the very last page. I can’t remember the last time I willed on a character as much as I did Mia. Believe me, it wasn’t an easy journey. Kristoff threw in as many curve balls as he could to throw Mia off task and as a reader I relished every challenge she faced.
There was also plenty to like about the many other Acolytes in the book. I actually really liked Tric and was really glad to learn more about his background. Another character I loved was Ash. Another strong, unrelenting female character? Yes, please! There were many sides to her character and I loved the idea of her being the cheeky one. I also really loved her unexpected arc towards the end of the book, I thought it worked really well. I loved the rivalry between Mia and Jessamine. It made sense that Jessamine felt the way she did about Mia and I always felt a little on edge whenever her character was mentioned in a scene with her. Hush was a sneaky little devil too.
I absolutely LOVED everything about the Red Church. I thought each of the Shahiids were interesting, my favourite was Spiderkiller, despite not knowing an awful lot about her. It reminded me of a much, much more deadly version of Hogwarts. The training and challenges were relentless and bloody: everything I had been promised from this book. Whilst some of the descriptions were extremely violent and made me flinch on occasion, I loved how real this made the world feel.
My only slight down point on this book was that it did take me a little while to get into at first. The writing style is very heavy at the beginning and it’s not particularly easy to read. Whether this changed throughout the book or whether I got used to it, I’m not sure. But a few chapters in and I was totally hooked and unable to put it down. I actually grew to really love the use of footnotes. They made the main body of the text less of an information dump and that way I felt myself really thrown into the world Kristoff had created. I also liked the flickers back to Mia’s past as they really helped to build and establish her character and personality.
What did I love most about the book?
I just really, really loved the characterisation in this book. Not only Mia but so many of the other characters had such complex personalities and backstories and Kristoff obviously took a lot of care in crafting the characters for his story. Characters are always the most important thing to me when reading and I think that was one of the reasons I truly fell for this wonderful book.
“You’ve got the look of a girl who’s no stranger to the page. I can tell. You’ve got words in your soul.”
“Your mind will serve you better than any trinket under the suns…It is a weapon…and like any weapon, you need practice to be any good at wielding it.”
“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.”
I could go on and on about how much I loved this book but the only real way for you to understand is to immerse yourself in the story. Push through those slow opening chapters and you’ll get a real treat, I promise! This is an action-packed, extremely bloody and fantastic story that I certainly will not forget. Jay Kristoff, I applaud you and cannot wait to see where you take us and Mia Corvere on her next adventure. Incredible!
Have you read Nevernight? What did you think?