Published August 9th, 2016 by Thomas Dunne Books
Nevernight Chronicles #1
So, let me tell you a little story about why reviewing books is the most wonderful yet terrible thing to ever happen to me:
Head on over to the Nevernight Goodreads page. Okay, now click on the *reviews* link up at the top. Don’t know what I am talking about? Fine, I’ll make this easy and just click this.
Okay, were all on the same page now? Take a look at the first five reviews that show up (not including Mr. Kristoff’s creative use of GIFs to describe the plot). There are THREE 1 star reviews, and TWO 5 star reviews. That is pretty drastic and extreme different opinions. And that is also the sole reason why I put off reading this book for so long even though I pre-ordered it.
But, I finally did it. And now Nevernight is sitting safely and happily on my all time favorites shelf.
Moral of this story: everyone has different opinions. While reviews are entertaining to read and may possibly steer others towards (or away) from a certain book, at the end of the day, read the damn thing because YOU want to… or not. That’s cool too.
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?
Nevernight opens with the most mind-blowing and uniquely structured scenes that i can remember reading in recent years… possibly ever. I kept rereading those pages; it took me a whole night just to get past the first chapter because I continued going over the words, again and again. It is, simply put, amazing. (I told my boyfriend he doesn’t have to read the whole book but he needs to read this part; if he doesn’t like it I may move out). I don’t want to get into the gritty and dirty details, no need to spoil it for you, but the first 10 pages certainly raised the bar on my expectations for the book.
With my love for the beginning out-of-the-way, I think it is worth mentioning – again if you have read any other review for this book that addressed this point – but Nevernight is not a YA novel. Just because the main character, Mia, is a 16-year-old, that does not automatically classify this book as young adult. There isn’t just some blood and sex, there is A LOT of blood and graphic sex (aww yess), not to mention the insane amount of cursing that ekes into casual conversation (Mia is a girl after my own heart).
- I think it should be noted that I am not complaining about the non-YA-ness of Nevernight, in fact, I loved it even more for that reason. I don’t even really have a problem with some people labeling it as YA (teenagers curse and have sex, we should probably not pretend that doesn’t happen). I think it should just be known that this book doesn’t fit in the same category that you would put Throne of Glass or An Ember in the Ashes, you see?
Nevernight is unique in all aspects: from the characters (OMG a shadow cat) to the setting (Hogwarts for murderous want-to-be assassins) but most especially in the writing style. Kristoff did this weirdly, amazing job of fully submerging me as a reader into his world through simply the narrator’s tone of voice. And while I have read that some people found the footnotes to be off-putting, personally I loved them.
The thing about footnotes, is that you do not HAVE to read them. Sure, there was some great little tidbits of history thrown in there, and reading them fleshed out the world a little bit more, but ultimately they are extras. Sometimes if the footnote was explaining something I didn’t particularly care to learn more about, I just skipped it. But, I never skipped any of the footnotes where the author made a funny comment, a sarcastic quip, or a little foreshadowing. Those were my favorites.
Yes, the writing is thick and flowery, but it feels so appropriate to the world that I cannot imagine a different style working. And honestly, Kristoff created such amazing characters, that I hardly noticed the thick language after a third of the book anyway. Mia was so great: a bad ass, but not the best in everything she did. Smart, sarcastic, sexual, and sure: those were some of my favorite characteristics of hers, but I could probably sit here all night and write-up a dossier on why she one of my new favorites.
Instead of dragging this review out any longer though, I will just tell you that I absolutely loved Nevernight. The plot was bloody and fascinating, twisting and turning at all the right places. And while the ending wrapped up the storyline of book 1 well enough, I am extremely excited to see what the bigger picture is for the overall trilogy!