Nevernight! My first Jay Kristoff novel! And what a way to dive in. Like I said in my review of Illuminae, Kristoff is definitely one of my new favourite authors. He is not afraid at all to kill off characters, to write some dark fiction, and I LOVE it. It’s such a tempo change from ‘everyone always lives’. Instead, you really need to worry about your favourite characters living.
Nevernight is centred around Mia Corvere, an assassin in training and a manipulator of shadows, known as a darkin. It follows her journey to becoming a Blade, one of the chosen few assassins who do the biding of the Maw, a goddess in the Nevernight universe. Mia faces about 28 different types of adversity, including making friends, learning how to sneak off into the night, and not getting beaten up by her instructors (she’s good at the first two, not so much at the last one…). Her training, while gruesome, is very gripping – once I started reading I really couldn’t stop. Which is a feat since I was on a beach in Barbados. I fell in love with Mia within the first 50 pages, and I can’t wait to read more about her.
Just let me get this out of the way – I love that Kristoff killed off so many characters. I LOVED it. Nobody was safe, and nothing was sacred. People that I thought were guaranteed to live – gone. People I thought were gonna kick the bucket – survived by the skin of their teeth. I was a little peeved that some people lived and frustrated that some people died, but it was definitely always surprising and an interesting read. The characters were all interesting, and while they didn’t have hugely developed backstories, each had a special something to them that made them stand out.
This was one of the most bloody books I have read. For example – *SPOILER* when Mia shows off in her sword instructions class, she gets her arm chopped off (yes, severed at the elbow) by the instructor. Um… what? I did not see that coming. The use of brutality in the novel is wild, and it’s such an interesting device to show us how Mia does and does not belong in this world. Yes, Mia does want to become an assassin. Yes, she has killed people and wants to kill more. But, she isn’t killing people for fun or injuring people out of pleasure. There are very clear differences between Mia and the other would be assassins which are shown early on. Mia isn’t good per say, but she has a good heart and seeks revenge on evil people.
Furthermore, the lessons are really unique. Yes, there are the normal lessons – sword play and poison. Then the still normal but less heard of pickpocketing. But then Kristoff throws in the art of seduction! I am so happy that this was a lesson. Because of course seduction is important – secrets are how people are brought down, how people can be ruined, and I’ll be damned if people say that it isn’t useful. Looks are dangerous and I’m glad that Kristoff highlighted that.
I will say that getting into the book took me a while. I picked it up about two weeks before I really started reading it, and I just wasn’t able to sit still through even a chapter. It was difficult, especially because the chapters are just rolling – there’s no page breaks, so basically just blocks and blocks of text. And the footnotes, while I found them endlessly entertaining and a special sight into the universe, could get tedious. Especially when they were paragraphs and paragraphs long. Also, I’m immensely curious as to who is the narrator of the footnotes and the little intro and outro! Will this be revealed in the upcoming novels? I guess I’ll just have to read and find out!
From my glowing review, it must be clear that I really enjoyed the book. I think that I would also give this 4.5/5 stars, just for the fact that the beginning was a little tedious and hard to dive into. But overall? Love love love. Jay Kristoff is a new favourite, and I can’t wait to read more of his works.
That’s all for now ducks, I hope you’re doing well!