I am so upset with myself that it took me this long to read Nevernight. Words can't even describe the emotional rollercoaster that I went on while reading this book, but let me try. Awe. Disgust. Affection. Betrayed. Shocked. Nevernight, the first in The Nevernight Chronicles by Jay Kristoff is an elaborate R-rated adventure. If you don't mind crass language, gore and guts, and non-cats, then you need to pick up this book.
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?
Pictured above is the UK edition of Nevernight because, well this might sound odd, but I don't particularly care for people on my covers. Realistic-looking people creep me out and I just don't like the idea that someone pretended to be a character in the book and now that's how I'm inevitably going to imagine that character looks like. But I loved Nevernight so much that I also just ordered a hardback of the US version. Oh, and pre-ordered a signed first edition of Godsgrave, which comes out on September 5th. Oh yes, I was very much obsessed after reading the very last page of Nevernight.
What's not to love? You've got a crazy heroine... no, heroine isn't even the right word. She's a young woman training to be the deadliest of assassins, and we learn what Mia Corvere is willing to sacrifice in the process. Spoiler: a whole damn lot. The relationships that this killer forms throughout the book are so much fun. There's plenty of witty banter, some steamy R-rated scenes, and equally gruesome (but jam-packed with action) R-rated scenes.
It's not an unfamiliar premise- that is, the cutthroat school environment, not deadly young adults attempting to kill each other left and right. The sense of competition keeps things exciting, and the mix of deadly arts spices things up so that we're not plagued with the same line of assassin training throughout the entire book. It worked really well to showcase Mia's strengths and her weaknesses.
Something that I found really interesting to Kristoff's writing style were his footnotes. Or, I should say, the narrator's footnotes. Within the first few pages, we learn that the book is framed by someone who wants to tell Mia's true story, without the embellishments and hearsay that we might have otherwise come to believe of the little assassin. And so, the narrator inserts little footnotes throughout the entire book to give us extra details about a certain type of art mentioned, or a quick summary about a type of monster that Mia encounters. We're never left wondering what these terms thrown at us are, and in employing this neat trick, Kristoff builds a lavish world with history and mythology and culture.
Guys. I can't recommend this book enough. It's obviously not for the faint of heart (did you notice how many times I said "R-rated?"). But if you enjoyed the A Song of Ice and Fire books, look for spunky protagonists with shady pasts, or just want to switch things up on your reading list, you need to pick up Nevernight and give it a chance.
I rate Nevernight 5/5 stars!