Friday, September 16, 2016

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff {review}

by Jay Kristoff
♦publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
♦release date: August 9th, 2016
♦hardcover, 429 pages
♦intended audience: Adult
♦series: The Nevernight Chronicles, book 1 
♦source: from publisher for honest review
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. 

Review: Do not be fooled by Jay Kristoff's previous body of work---Nevernight is not a young adult book. Nor is it for the faint of heart, the seekers of HEA love stories, or those looking for a fast-paced read. Nevernight is none of those things---however, it is a pretty awesome story.

The story follows Mia Corvere, a seventeen-year-old assassin-in-training.  Mia is out to avenge her family’s murder. She sets out to train under the assassins of the Red Church, always accompanied by her shadow cat, Mr. Kindly. Once there, she forms alliances, hones her skills, and is forced to face a memory that she’s kept deeply hidden.

The storytelling and world-building is rich and incredibly ornate—at times even a little overwrought with purple prose and vulgarity for my taste. For me, it was not a fast read, in fact I struggled to get past the first 50 pages. After that, it drew me in--still not fast-paced until the third part, but I was definitely fascinated by the characters and the ways of the Red Church. So much gore and merciless violence, people...brace yourselves if you're even a little squeamish.  The story is peppered with footnotes, and while some were hilarious tidbits of sarcastic genius, others disrupted the flow of the story with just too much information. It jumps from the present to the past, letting us in on how Mia came to be where she is, the story of her family, and also how she came upon Mr. Kindly. The story is told in three parts, and it was the last of them that really shone. In fact, up until this third book, I was planning to give this a rating of 3, maybe 3.5---but the finale brought it up to a solid 4 for me. It brought everything together in an incredible, heartbreaking, and exciting end, and will no doubt make even those readers that may have, like me, found the first parts a little slow-going desperate for the next book in The Nevernight Chronicles.

(a shorter edited version of this review was featured in San Francisco Book Review)


Jay Kristoff is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of THE LOTUS WAR, THE ILLUMINAE FILES and THE NEVERNIGHT CHRONICLE. He is the winner of two Aurealis Awards, an ABIA, nominee for the David Gemmell Morningstar and Legend awards, named multiple times in the Kirkus and Amazon Best Teen Books list and published in over twenty-five countries, most of which he has never visited. He is as surprised about all of this as you are. He is 6’7 and has approximately 13030 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell.

He does not believe in happy endings.


Purchase the book:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon


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