By: Jay Kristoff
Published: August 9, 2016 by Thomas Dunne Books
Genres: Fantasy, Adult
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?
I was pretty much bound to like Nevernight. The book featured so many of my favourite tropes. Assassin? Check. Girl assassin? Check. Some sort of special school? Yep, that too.
Nevernight is about Mia Corvere, a girl who is able to manipulate shadows, and her quest for revenge against the men who had her father executed with the aid of her companion, the shadow-cat Mr. Friendly. In order to achieve her goal, she goes to the Red Church to learn from the best assassins in the world. Of course, going to a school for assassins isn’t exactly easy or safe, so she not only has to worry about passing her tests, but about being killed as well.
I don’t want to say too much more about the plot, since I don’t want to give anything away, but this book was definitely not young adult (which I think some people might expect, because of Kristoff’s popular book Illuminae). Nevernight definitely did not put any punches when it came to gore, character deaths, or…romantic things. It might have even been a bit too graphic for my tastes.
In terms of the main character Mia, I found her to be much more likeable than some of the female assassin protagonists in other books I’ve read. Unlike them, she did not think she was perfect or in any way infallible. Mia acknowledged her weaknesses and worked hard to overcome them.
I loved the writing style – the narrative was funny, eloquent, and just really entertaining. I also really liked how the story flipped between Mia’s present and her past.
An interesting feature of Nevernight was its footnotes, which Kristoff often used as joking asides or to relay entertaining background information. However, there were a number of times where they were basically half-page long info dumps that made my eyes glaze over and kind of interrupted the flow of the story. Overall though, I think the benefits of the footnotes outweighed the negatives. There were a few other things that bothered me a bit stylistically, such as the author’s tendency to use the word phrases like “O, gentlefriends,” but they didn’t really detract from my enjoyment of the book.
The worldbuilding in Nevernight was fantastic. Sometimes it was a almost too extensive, such as with those really long footnotes, but I appreciated the thought that was put into everything.
Overall, despite some of the issues I had with the book, I loved reading it and am excited to see where Mia’s journey takes her in the next instalment of the series!