In the wee hours of the second morning of 2017, I finished this book and almost cried because it was over and I wanted answers.
I need to know why!
Why do I feel so overwhelmed and joyous to have read this book yet somewhat disappointed? Why did that happen? Why am I in awe of this man’s writing? It was thrilling, magical and oh so very adult. With that being said, Nevernight by Jay Kristoff is a book I do not regret reading so let’s jump into the review.
Destined to destroy empires, Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.
Six years later, the child raised in shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day that she lost everything.
But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if she is to have her revenge, Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult.
The Red Church is no Hogwarts, but Mia is no ordinary student.
The shadows love her. And they drink her fear.
Oh my god, where do I even start? I was instantly captivated by this book, the first few pages gripping me and so beautifully written. It starts off with the narrator introducing us to who and what Mia has been called, and leaves us to read to make our own judgement of her. The next few pages are a contrast between Mia’s first time having sex and her first time murdering someone. I found the comparison and allusions to each other very creative and clever, attributes that are woven throughout the rest of the novel.
I loved the premise behind the story: a young girl out for the blood of the men who sentenced her father to die finds herself being educated at an assassin’s school was so cool. The school itself was awesome with the ‘subjects’ they learned separated into Halls, training themselves in the ways of being deadly in all shapes and forms. What I loved was the brutality of the Red Church, but it was also the aspect that let down the rest of the book. The Red Church was far more violent than the actual murders and assassinations that took place throughout the book. Also, just a fair warning that this is an adult fantasy book despite the main character being sixteen. There are detailed sex scenes, which I thought were fantastic but placed so close together that it was almost like reading a porn-without-plot book for a good 100 pages.
Oh, and the f-bomb is dropped like there is no tomorrow.
I absolutely loved the Venetian elements, the details in the geography and how Kristoff weaved magic into the world without being cliche. I also liked the footnotes at first as they were sarcastic, witty and explained concepts that Kristoff has built in this world of violence and blood. But I often found myself skipping them when they took up almost half the page. I honestly couldn’t be bothered to read them, sorry Jay.
Holy smokes I love Mia. She is the epitome of fiery, sass and recklessness. I loved the concept of her being darkin and the rarity of their kind. But do we get to know about darkin? Nuh uh. We have to wait for that one, little lamb. I love Mister Kindly, tha not-cat shadow that keeps her nightmares away He is too precious and his conversations with Mia were some of my favourite parts. Mia’s characterisation grows but also stays stagnant in some ways. At first I thought she would become the soulless assassin and while she has cold-hearted moments, she showed she cared. She also showed this care by stabbing some people and slitting their throats. 10/10.
Some of my favourite quotes by Mia are:
“Apologies,” Mia frowned, searching the floor as if looking for something. “I appear to have misplaced the fucks I give for what you think…”
“If I were going to name my blade,” Mia said thoughtfully, “I’d call it ‘Fluffy’.”
God, I love her.
Warning: spoilers ahead!
Now, the romance was doomed from the start yet I wanted it so badly! I needed this fledgling love between competing assassins to last. It was a solid romance, starting off as a slow burn and friendship; I was so ready to jump on this ship and sink with it. I honestly loved Tric and his origin story. He was also just so sweet yet stoic, ugh it was great!
Now here are some of the issues I had with the book:
- Uh, what the heck happened to Lord Cassius being the greatest assassin of all time? ONE LOOK AT THE TRINITY AND HE WAS A GONER! How even?
- I hated that they all got their faces changed and enhanced. I understand why but I also didn’t think it was necessary that the art of seduction required you to look like a model.
- Things were also rather predictable, but I guess that’s just me being critical.
- The deaths were also predictable yet still so painful to read. I had a feeling that Tric would die the moment I got attached to him.
- Mia’s decision to turn down being a Blade was so WEIRD! I guess her self-doubt started when Naev told her the Church gives but takes back more, but it felt rather uncharactertistic of her to turn down the only opportunity she had at reaching the men who killed her father. For 6 years she waited and when it’s given to her with a condition, she backs down because she couldn’t kill an innocent yet afterwards goes on a killing spree? I feel like her denial of the Blade position was more for plot than character.
Regardless of all that, I am dying for a sequel. Kristoff has a beautiful way of writing and I am in love with this world and these characters. Please give me more, Jay. I need it!
Have any of you read Nevernight? What were your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time.