Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
Series: The Nevernight Chronicle #1
Published by Thomas Dunne Books on August 9th 2016
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Fantasy
The first in a new fantasy series from the New York Times bestselling author.
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 is a dark, visceral tale about one girl who is determined to join an elite league of assassins and is set on vengeance for the destruction of her family. It is a story that does not hold back on the gory details, and even warns the reader of that in the offset of the book.
Mia has been living alone in the streets, both surviving and also eluding the remnants of the rebellion that destroyed her family. She is strong and determined, the type of female character we all love to read about. She does eventually befriend a boy who turns out has similar aspirations as herself.
I have to admit, I started this book with some mixed feelings. On one hand: Assassins! Cool! 😀 And on the other, I found myself distanced a bit from the text for a couple of reasons. First, there was a strong YA feel to parts of it, though the graphic violence and sex would likely keep most people from labeling it YA. I don’t say that as a bad thing. YA can be many, many different things and I strongly believe there can be quite a bit of diversity in tone, prose, etc. But for efficiency’s sake, I am referring to traits that are quite common in in typical YA books. There is teen type drama, and the protagonist is 14, which impacts the perspective a bit. While the protagonist is young, it is quite easy to forget her age (setting the angst aside) in some places and situations. Like I said before, the book is graphic and think at times it can make you assume that Mia is more than just 14.
Also, in some places, the writing style made me feel distant from the text, and would offer up what I felt were huge info dumps. It just seemed a bit overly verbose (for lack of a better description) with lots of history or details thrown at you at once. It was information that was relevant to the story, but the delivery of it could be a bit dry. But not all the prose was like that, just sections. The remaining parts are what held the book together for me and kept me engaged and reading.
But, I loved how it all came together in the end and am really curious about the next book. I may have had issues with it in places, but when it comes down to it, I want to read the next one and find out what else is in store for these characters. That is always my ultimate test if a book is worth reading or not.