Nevernight by Jay Kristoff introduces readers to a sweeping new fantasy world filled with dark deeds and darker shadows, where three suns make true night a rarity and people have built a city in the bones of a dead god. If you like your fantasy equal parts dark and steamy, this isn’t one to miss!
Note: I received an advanced copy of Nevernight from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (The Nevernight Chronicle #1)
Published by Thomas Dunne Books on Aug. 9th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Dark Fantasy
Page Length: 448 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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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?
- Mia has the ability to control shadows somewhat, leading to a very interesting conundrum for a heroine who lives in a world with three suns. Unlike a lot of magic systems, Mia’s shadow magic isn’t overly powerful and has definite tradeoffs, such as being able to turn nearly invisible, but also then not being able to see out of her hiding place. I appreciated seeing Mia struggle to teach herself how to use her power since no one is willing to teach her and seeing how she dealt with the limits of her power.
- Mia’s best friend is a shadow she named Mister Kindly and he is definitely my favorite character of the story! This shadow is able to express a shocking breadth of emotion despite being only shadow and the power he lends Mia makes for an interesting twist.
- If you are a reader who enjoys footnotes, you don’t want to miss Nevernight! Most pages have a footnote or two, especially in the beginning, and these footnotes provide a lot of information about the history of the world that wouldn’t fit well into the main text of the story. There are also some jokes ;-).
- While we only see a couple of places in the world in Nevernight, there is clearly a large amount hiding under the surface for Mia to discover in future adventures. All the locations had some fresh spin to them that I hadn’t encountered in previous fantasy books.
- I got really freaking excited for the sequel right at the end of Nevernight because there are some major hints about events that Mia will have to deal with later and omg dead gods!!!!!!
- First and foremost, Nevernight has some serious racist issues. There are a group of people described as brown-skinned and highly ritualized tattoos. They are referred to as ‘savages’ and forced into the stereotype of primitive people who are cruel to the love interest because he doesn’t fit in with them. This isn’t contested in the text and made me extremely uncomfortable. I’m starting to think I should just stop reading when I see the word savage….
- Nevernight is an adult title and so you need to be prepared for adult content going in, even though Kristoff is best known for his YA title. There are some seriously gruesome moments that made me want to stop reading.
- Despite my love for footnotes in general, I found some of them to get a bit long-winded and I ended up temporarily skipping them in order to continue the action of the scene. I just didn’t really want a history lesson when Mia was fighting for her life ya know?
- The beginning of Nevernight is likely to put some readers off and I definitely was hesitant until I checked and saw that the italicized portions didn’t continue. The first chapters’ alternating stories with italics to set them off is an artistic decision that didn’t work for me, but might work for other readers. Just be assured that things go back to a more traditional story-telling style shortly.
Nevernight ended up being both exactly what I would have expected and nothing at all like I expected. I knew it was going to be dark and gruesome, but everything else was different than I thought it would be. I definitely enjoyed seeing this new world and can’t wait to find out what happens next, but urge readers to keep in mind the amount of sexual and violent content in this book as well as the racial issues. I have heard book two is supposed to improve on that misstep, but we’ll see.
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
© 2016, Anya. All rights reserved.