Wow. What a read. I wasn’t sure what to expect, as I read the synopsis and it sounded fun and intriguing, but it became so much more than that. The book was chosen as the August Read for the online book club I set-up, and I’m so glad I read it.
I also love the fact I’m reviewing this book at the start of Goodreads’ YA Week. ‘Nevernight’ by Jay Kristoff is Young Adult, but it’s also high fantasy I would say, with perhaps a little science fiction thrown in for good measure…
Well. Onto the review, shall we?
Mia Corvere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.
Destined to destroy empires, the child raised in shadows made a promise on the day she lost everything: to avenge herself on those that shattered her world.
But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, and Mia must become a weapon without equal. Before she seeks vengeance, she must seek training among the infamous assassins of the Red Church of Itreya.
Inside the Church’s halls, Mia must prove herself against the deadliest of opponents and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and daemons at the heart of a murder cult.
The Red Church is no ordinary school, but Mia is no ordinary student.
The shadows love her.
And they drink her fear.
What a brilliant book. It had echoes of Mark Lawrence’s Red Sister, hints of the Roman Empire, and all the while on a world with three suns.
It took me a few chapters to get into the speed of the writing, not to mention the writing itself. The book is split into sections as well as chapters, with the first section of the book swapping between past and present – the past written in italics, linking with the present moment. Also, as a mention here, there’s a lot of footnotes in the book, similar to Terry Pratchett books if you’ve read those. It develops worldbuilding through those footnotes (as well as the book itself), and while it took me a little time to get used to, I quite liked it after a while.
I haven’t read many books by Jay Kristoff. The only other one I’ve read is ‘Illuminae’, which is a whole other type of format to this book. So perhaps I wasn’t sure what to expect. Now that I’ve read it, I am convinced he is a new master of fantasy and science fiction.
The plot moved along at a good pace. Not too quick that I felt lost as to what was happening, even in the fight scenes, but fast enough that it kept me hooked to the end. And there were a number of moments I was like… what! Noooooo! And there were certainly a few surprises that I didn’t even see coming. Hats off to the writer but honestly, am trying to keep the spoilers to a minimum!
The characters were all great and all different. With many of them being teenagers, I absolutely got a feel of the Young Adult genre and the characters being as such – drama orientated, emotional at times, and all while they were assassins-in-training, so you can imagine the incidents that happened.
I was a bit shocked at the amount of death in the book. I mean, honestly, there’s a lot. Jay Kristoff has to be on par with George R.R. Martin for sure for the amount of death. I’ve read Game of Thrones, so I wasn’t overly fazed, but still. I was shocked over the how, rather than the numbers I think. Some of the death incidents were quite surprising.
Mia as a character was interesting. She’s got a shadow that eats her fear, so of course she’s quite bold and brave with him feeding off of her. But it’s nice to see the times when her fear overwhelms her. It makes her more human I think. Other than I felt she was entirely likeable. You could see she had a moral quandary more than once, and that made her better in my eyes than the rest of the assassins. In some ways, I felt that some of the other characters’ warnings were right. She is different. She’s still a killer, but she has vengeance and the goal of righting wrongs done to her that invigorate her. I think she was one of my favourite characters – which is always a plus considering she’s the main character! I liked the characters of Mercurio and Naev too, though they didn’t get much ‘booktime’. I just felt like they were good characters.
Overall I loved the book. The plot was never boring, surprising me at every turn – this isn’t your run-of-the-mill YA book. This is clear fantasy too, and considering my love of the genre I was very happy with all of it.
I give it 5 out of 5 stars. Now I’m off to buy the next two books, because I have a book hangover only they can cure.
Kate @ Kandid Chronicles x