Genre: YA/NA, Fantasy
Source: a copy in exchange for an honest review
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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 by Jay Kristoff has to be one of my favourite books of the year. As I am writing this, I have just turned the last page and I am reeling with so many emotions and feelings so I apologise in advance if my review is slightly incoherent.
So the story follows Mia Corvere, an orphan, who would do anything to avenge her father (who was executed in front of her), and her mother and little brother (who were thrown into more or less the lowest depths of hell aka a terrifying prison). Mia is intelligent and brave, and though she appears ruthless and at the end of the day, is a murderer, she shows a few times throughout the story that she still has empathy towards others and we see her commit a few selfless acts. Seriously, I think Mia has got to be one of my favourite characters to read about, ever. She’s so complex and flawed, but is also very clearly suffering from PTSD and is ignoring the trauma of everything she went through. Also, as the story builds we learn that she isn’t exactly your average person… meaning, she’s darkin. (We have yet to actually learn what that means though).
Nevernight is ruthless, but what else would you expect from a story filled with assassins all trying to best each other for a chance to become a Blade? At Red Church, which is where these apprentice assassins are trained, there are four ‘halls’; The Hall of Truths, the Hall of Masks, the Hall of Pockets and the Hall of Songs. If I had to sum up these four halls it would go: poisons, seduction, thievery, and swordsmanship. To get in to the Red Church in the first place, you’d have to present a tithe, which for Mia was a bunch of teeth from a guy she murdered. Mia’s one goal and one reason for doing this was to avenge her family, she even gave up her childhood and spent most of her life training and preparing for Red Church. We see this through flashbacks, mostly in the first part of the story, and the fact that the chapters at the beginning are split between past and present took me a while to get used to but when I did, I realised it added so much more to the story.
I have to admit, Nevernight was an intimidating read at first. I mean, the ARC itself is over 600 pages (but I know this isn’t the case for the finished copy) and it’s the first book I’ve ever come across that has footnotes. Actual footnotes, guys. I was surprised the first time I flipped through the book and saw it but as I read the story, I realised I loved 99% of the footnotes, they were hilarious and made me laugh aloud most of the time. Those that didn’t make me laugh were usually informative and prevented a sort of info-dump in the story.
So we have our assassins, and we have the Red Church… Now, let’s talk about the plot. I don’t want to give too much away, but this story was intense throughout. There’s death and betrayal around every corner and I didn’t want to put it down at all.
Also, all of the other assassins have their own stories and I wanted to learn about each of them. Tric (the romantic interest, you could say) was my favourite, other than Mia, and though there were warnings everywhere that romance was definitely not the point of this story, I couldn’t help but ship them SO HARD. I blame Jay Kristoff’s steamy scenes, we wont even go there though but if you’re a fan of steamy scenes (I mean, who isn’t?) there’s your added bonus.
Overall, this was one of my favourite books of the year and the first solo book I’ve read by Jay Kristoff (I’ve read both Illuminae and Gemina, LOVED both) and this book was just so beautifully written, I need more. Soon. Like now, please. I’m so glad that this is a series because I can’t get enough of this writing, this format, these characters, this entire STORY.
Favourite quote: The last thing you will ever be is someone’s hero, girl. But you will be a girl heroes fear.