Nevernight by Jay Kristoff | Book Review

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff | Book ReviewNevernight by Jay Kristoff
Also by this author: Illuminae
Series: The Nevernight Chronicle #1
Published by Macmillan on August 9th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Epic, Science Fiction, Steampunk, Historical
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9781466885035
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Nevernight is the first in an epic new fantasy series from the New York Times bestselling 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.
Revenge.

I am so late to the party when it comes to Nevernight by Jay Kristoff. It turns out that I absolutely loved this book. Now I should provide the caveat that while I read this, just about around the time I was really getting absorbed into Nevernight there was a twitter thread I think about a certain character’s portrayal being problematic, I will touch on that at the end of this review. However, personally, I tore through this book, despite it being one of the longest netgalley eARCs on my TBR. I just felt called to read it — I was craving a long, absorbing fantasy where there’s going to be no small amount of bloodshed. Frankly, Nevernight was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff is the first in his Nevernight Chronicles series. I think that it is going to be a trilogy, but I am a bit unsure. The book is about a girl named Mia Corvere. It opens with an execution. Allegedly, her dad who was nobility committed some kind of treachery. So, he’s being publicly executed. Mia’s mom will not let her look away. So, then Mia’s family goes back home and her mom and brother are pretty much thrown into jail. Mia goes on the run. She ends up training under this guy to join this church of death and destruction. And the plot gets all The Count Of Monte Cristo and I AM HERE FOR IT. So, we get flashbacks and then Mia’s time training with the Red Church — leading up to potentially becoming a blade.

So, Mia Corvere’s whole life is pretty much portrayed in Nevernight – from childhood on to adolescence. From what I understand, she’s like 16/17 years old. However, I am pretty sure that this book falls under the category of adult fantasy and not young adult. Anyways, Mia is awesome. She’s got this vulnerable sort of side. While she is at a school for assassins, you would think that she would be totally battle hardened. She’s not. She manages to fall in love, make friends, and trust people. She should be honed into a cold blooded killer, but again, she’s not. This is central to the book and a big conflict that Mia endures. She also has this secret — she is chosen as evidenced by her cat made of shadows (you’ll meet him and love him, I hope).

The world building is one thing which sucked me into Nevernight by Jay Kristoff. It reminded me of The Way Of Shadows with how gritty it is. The Red Church which hosts the assassin school uses what’s called blood magic. There’s a price to pay for the magic too and it is not pretty. Also, there’s several murders which happen. Oh, and there’s also this prison and sort of a violent prison break event that goes on. I especially enjoyed all the bits about the Red Church and the training. Also, there’s this society which makes me think of roman society — especially with how different ranks are spelled. I thought the world building was very intricate — in addition to gritty.

So, as I mentioned before Nevernight is a very long book. I mean, it says it’s only 400 something pages, but I would imagine that it probably has small type in the physical book. In fact, this took me several days to read. I did like how it was written with a few exceptions. I did not 100% love all the bits about Mia’s changing body and idk, it just felt awkward to be in the audience of reading about that. I did, however, like reading about Mia’s different relationships with different people. I also enjoyed how the mentorship with Mia and the guy who finds her was written. Like I said, I really liked this book but your mileage may vary.

So, okay, I guess there’s a twitter thread about how Nevernight uses the Maori people for inspiration and portrays the Maori in a problematic way. I am 100% not qualified to comment on this. However, I do think that these concerns are valid and that it presents an opportunity to do better with the next book and with the portrayal. I think wrongs can be corrected and I am not about to throw a screaming hissy fit because a fave is problematic — by this I should clarify and say I mean that I will not go on a rampage because a book I like was called out. What I will do is say yes, these concerns are legitimate and I am aware and think that there should be better representation. I’ll also lift up the voice of the blogger who has brought this to light by linking her right here.

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four-half-stars
About April (Books&Wine)

April is 28 years old and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. In her free time she can be found reading, working out, or eating junk food. She often wears her sunglasses at night.

Comments

  1. I really liked Nevernight too! I saw that thread after I had read it and reviewed it, and I definitely agree that the concerns are valid and will hopefully be addressed in the books to come. Otherwise, it was a really solid read and I was totally swept up in the story!
    Alexa S. recently posted..January TBRMy Profile

  2. This is a title I keep putting off. But your review has convinced me that I should actually pick this up soon! It sounds very promising with some solid world building and future potential.

  3. I still haven’t gotten into this, but I need to — it looks exactly like the kind of fantasy I live for. Glad you finally got to it and enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing your review!

  4. The worldbuilding sounds promising and I liked that you mentioned The Count of Monte Cristo! I love that movie, though I haven’t read the book. Sometimes I love long fantasy and sometimes they’re hard for me to get into; glad you liked this one overall! I might have to give it a second look.
    Morgan @ Gone with the Words recently posted..Review: Of Fire and Stars by Audrey CoulthurstMy Profile

  5. I’m never on Twitter so I didn’t even know about the drama! But thanks for linking the blogger who brought this issue to attention–I definitely want to read the post! I really enjoyed Kristoff’s debut, but it took me sooo long to read and I never finished the series. I felt the same way about his prose with this book–it just felt like it was going to be so purple and even if I pushed through this book, I didn’t think I could push through another two books of his writing. It just doesn’t work for me, plus the pacing.. BUT, this series sounds sooo good and I love the premises! I’m so glad you enjoyed it and I’ll be looking out to see what you think of the sequels–I know I can be convinced to pick this up if the sequels are worth it. 😉

  6. Thank you for your insightful review! I’m really excited about reading this book!

  7. Lovely review April 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed this book so much. Yay 😀 I loved it to pieces, and I cannot wait to read book two. <3 So glad you loved most of it as well 🙂

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