NEVERNIGHT by JAY KRISTOFF
LOCB Rating: 5 out of 5 gravebone daggers
Additional Comments: Get your hands on this book. Pronto. It’s the next big thing in the fantasy genre (if it isn’t already).
I literally finished this book 30 minutes ago and voila, I’m here already typing away at the keyboard writing this post up. That is how much I need to talk about this book to the world. If you like an action-packed, detailed plot that doesn’t shy away from realistic violence / gore, you’re in luck cos this book is exactly what you have been searching for.
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?
This was a brilliantly paced book, and not at the expense of the plot too cos it was thoroughly detailed, especially with the world-building in the beginning. The characters felt real, with their own flaws, and you can’t help but root for Mia Corvere, the main protagonist. Her backstory alone in the first few chapters is enough to make you weep. I certainly wouldn’t be as brave as her if I was in her shoes. What I absolutely love about Mia is that she’s a strong, feisty character that knows what she wants and fiercely sticks to her principles even when the stakes are high. She also has the cool ability of being a Darkin, aka bending shadows to her will. I also love Mister Kindly – her sarcastic daemon loyal to her side and never fails to crack me up. I hope he gets stronger and develops cool powers too. Also, I have a feeling Mia using Mister Kindly as a tool to get rid of her fear will bite her back in the end. She’s not really facing her fears if they’re removed from her
The set-up of the Red Church and the assassins’ education is pretty badass. Acolytes are taught in the arts of Truths (poison-making), Pockets (stealth and thievery), Songs (battling with weapons), and Mirrors (basically using your charms and sex to gain enemy secrets). It was entirely cool but unlike Hogwarts where I think I could stand a chance to be an outstanding student in at least one subject (ahem Transfiguration), I think I would have been killed off in the first few days of class in the Red Church. And that is literally what happens. Not good enough and you would probably die from any of the lessons taught.
The plot twists in this book are also insane. Kristoff is not hesitant to kill or maim characters left, right and center – I’ll admit that there were two deaths that caught me completely by surprise. I actually hoped he didn’t kill one of them off cos he had so much potential but gah. I want a spinoff just focusing on the LoB and how he came to be who he was (for those that have read it, you know exactly who I mean).
The only flaw I could find in this book was the slow beginning. It took me nearly 150 pages into the story before I was fully invested in it. But once I hit that point, I was a goner. The book took hold of me and I could do little else but continue to flip the pages and reading wherever and whenever I could just to know what happens next. I guess it’s not really a flaw as the Nevernight world is so complex and foreign from our own – Kristoff needs time and pages to ease the reader into it.
I’m really excited where the story will take us next. Kristoff ended the book with multiple plots and subplots left loose and I could only wander what would happen in the next installment. Would Mia get her revenge? What other obstacles lay in her path? What exactly is a Darkin and why is she one?
Nevernight is the first in The Nevernight Chronicle trilogy – with Godsgrave already published, and the third book (currently untitled) slated for 2018.
I’m gonna get my hands on the second book tomorrow at the bookshop 🙂
I’m really glad I bought early-bird tickets to the Singapore Writers’ Festival now! I was previously hesitant since I could only attend the last weekend but now I can’t wait to attend Kristoff’s talks during the Festival and get to know how he comes up with such rich characters and engaging plots.