Book: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

nevernight

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.

Plot Summary:

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?

notes

Review:

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 🙂

Sidenote:

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.

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Music: BTS – Love Yourself 承 ‘Her’

Okay, I thought it would be only right to start this blog with one of my current obsessions music-wise, BTS. I am very proud that they are hitting it big right now (미안해 Billboard, 미안해 worldwide) cos I’ve been rooting for them since late 2015, during Dope era, when my good friend S lent me her iPod and I was just going through her songs. I never thought I’d be a kpop stan but there’s just something about BTS – I’ve narrowed it down to their socially-conscious self written songs, their performances, and just the natural chemistry and teamwork between the members – that made me fall for them.

They released their latest mini album and concept that would last them till 2018: Love Yourself. This one is on 承 ‘Her and I’m told that the hanja character means ‘development’. Interesting to see how it all plays out in the bigger picture when the full concept is released (with presumably more mini albums). Look how pretty the cover is – it’s so aesthetically pleasing.

bts-love-yourself-track-list-2

I’ll start with one of my favourite tracks on the album, Serendipity. It is just so calming  and one of my top BTS intros ever. Sidenote: I’m also delighted that Jiminie starts the series of Intros that’s going to be done by the vocal line now (previously, all Intros were done by the rapline). I thought Big Hit would go with JK first since he is the main vocalist and the one of the most popular members. So I’m glad to see that they are still changing things up and making things unpredictable through these little decisions. I can’t wait to see this performed live!

넌 내 푸른 곰팡이
날 구원해 준
나의 천사 나의 세상

You are my penicillin
You saved me
My angel, my world

난 네 삼색 고양이
널 만나러 온
Love me now touch me now

I’m your Calico cat
Here to meet you
Love me now touch me now

DNA’s the title track for the album and while the performance is amazing, the track itself isn’t one of my favourites.

Now, here’s a performance to get your hearts racing. When I first heard the track on Spotify, my first reaction was hell yeah BTS is back cos this song is classic BTS – full of swag and unabashedly being proud of their achievements thus far. As a group, they’ve taught me that I need to own my successes and not just to meekly dismiss them as sheer luck or no hard work on my part. Of course, I should be proud but not arrogant. But I think it’s just Asian culture in general that instill us to be modest about our achievements. Sometimes too modest that you’re disregarding your personal feats entirely. Anyway, back to the song. I just love it so much. I use it as a song to perk me up in the morning. Sometimes, the work fatigue gets so bad that I play the song on repeat the entire commute to the office lol.

Other notable mentions on the mini EP: Best of Me, 고민보다  Go / Go Go. Separately, there’s a song called Pied Piper on the album and it’s totally meta. It’s literally BTS acknowledging the fan support that they’ve received thus far but gently admonishing the fans to not let their love for the band take over their entire lives. Lol, I love this band so much.

Stop
이제 그만 보고 시험공부해
니 부모님과 부장님 날 미워해
봤던 영상 각종 사진 트위터
브이앱 본보야지
알아 좋은 걸 어떡해
그만해 뮤비는 나중에 해석하고
어차피 내 사진 니 방에도 많잖어
한 시간이 뭐야 일이년을 순삭해
이 노랜 내가 네게 주는 상
착해

Stop
Now stop watching and study for your test
Your parents and bosses hate me
Video clips, pictures, tweets
V app, Bon Voyage
I know, you can’t help what you like
But stop, interpret the music video later
You have so many pictures of me in your room anyway
It’s not just one hour, it’s a whole year that’ll disappear
So this song is an award I’m giving to you
Good

I’ll end my review with my ultimate song from the album. It’s technically a hidden track since it can only be found in the physical album (good tactic Big Hit; getting all the fangirls to buy physical CDs in this digital age lol) but I finally have a trinity of good, motivating, sad BTS songs to turn to when I’m in the mood. 바다 / Sea really shows the sensitive side of the group. (If you were wondering what the other 2 songs in my BTS trinity of songs: they’re Tomorrow, and Never Mind)

희망이 있는 곳엔 반드시 시련이 있네
희망이 있는 곳엔 반드시 시련이 있네
희망이 있는 곳엔 반드시 시련이 있네
희망이 있는 곳엔 반드시 시련이 있네

Where there is hope, there is always hardship
Where there is hope, there is always hardship
Where there is hope, there is always hardship
Where there is hope, there is always hardship

I’m not sure if it’s just the sadistic side of me but I find such phrases to be so soothing and invigorating to my soul, even though in a single read such lyrics can be pretty depressing. It gives me the boost to do better for my own sake.

And there goes my first review / proper post on this blog! I hope I didn’t come across as too fangirl-y and judged the band in a rational and objective manner. Hopefully, some of you will like the tracks above.

Welcome!

I’m just a regular girl living in a pretty hectic city. Technically, it’s my first year of adulthood as I just started working life not too long ago.

I noticed that I am interested in various things – from photography, to foreign movies, to my first love, books – some of which I thought I’d never be in my entire life. So I thought it would be interesting to see how my tastes will change in years to come (as I read through the posts in my rocking chair when I’m in my silver days lol).

Hang on tight, it might be a bumpy ride 🙂