Monday, August 8, 2016

ARC Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Title: Nevernight
Series: The Nevernight Chronicle #1
Written by: Jay Kristoff
Published: August 9, 2016 by Thomas Dunne Books (St. Martin's Press)
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: 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?

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

I have been so excited to read Nevernight since I first learned about it. I love a dark fantasy and books about assasins and rogues. And I was not disappointed. So now comes the challenge of attempting to write my thoughts on this book in a coherent way. Nevernight is a fantastic read with complex characters and a plot that really built.

I will say though that this book had a bit of a rocky start. I'm not sure if it just took me awhile to get into it or it took me awhile to get used to the style but it wasn't a book I fell in love with instantly. Like a lot of fantasy, the beginning was all world-building and exposition. Here that meant alternating between flashbacks and plot development that mostly just getting the character to where they needed to be. Both of these things are tough for me sometimes and that was the case a little bit here. But I was interested enough to keep reading and I glad I did. It was a book that slowly worked it's way into my mind and then didn't let me go. And in the end, it was absolutely worth the slog that was the first 100 pages.

One thing to keep in mind is that this is a slower paced book. It's not one that you can read in a few days. It's dense and there is a lot going on. Not to mention that the writing style kind of forces you to slow down and take your time. Even when I was so engaged in the story I still kept wondering why it was moving so methodically. But it's just that kind of book. It's one of those books that slowly builds to an absolutely thrilling conclusion though. For me it read a lot like some of my favorite adult fantasies. It starts slowly, developing the world and the characters and then takes you on a ride full of action, adventure, and really dark scenes.

Because while Nevernight is a slower paced book, it wasn't a slow book in terms of the plot. When the main plot finally kicks in, it was incredibly thrilling and suspenseful. Which honestly made for such an interesting feeling because a slow pace with an exciting plot meant my anxiety level was through the roof. Seriously, there was so many fantastic fight scenes and action sequences throughout the book that had me on the edge of my seat, not to mention a fantastic mystery that kept me guessing as the book built to the ultimate conclusion. And keep in mind, this book is not for the faint of heart. There is a ton of graphic violence and explicit sexual scenes but it all worked to make an entertaining read. But I loved that about. It was the dark fantasy I was hoping for.

And speaking of the romance. It may surprise you to now that the romance was one of my favorite things about the book. You know me, you know how I usually don't go in for that kind of stuff. But the romance here was handled really well. This is a book that doesn't shy away from the graphic parts of life and relationships so it should come as no surprise that that's how the romance was too. It was far from perfect but it was steamy. And I liked the steamy scenes. They were explicit, sure, but they added to a complex plot and were just one more dimension to the story that made it complex and entertaining.

But probably the most complex thing about this book was the characters. I love books where the characters walk the line between good and evil, which is exactly what happened here. I mean it is a book about people training to be assassins so that should come as no surprise. But so many of these characters were odious at best which made for not only interesting characterizations but forever shifting antagonists. As far as the protagonist goes though, she was fantastic. I absolutely loved Mia. She's had a hard life and it's made her cold and calculating but she also has this great sense of justice which makes her somehow more likable. She was like the perfect combination of Adelina from The Young Elites and Arya from A Song of Ice and Fire. You want to see her succeed and get her revenge, so when she does terrible things you cheer for her. Kristoff has definitely done a great job in writing complex and likable characters who are truly dark at the same time.

But that's Nevernight in a nutshell. It's dark, complex, and entertaining. It's a slowly paced book with a thrilling plot that will have you so hooked that your nerves will be shot by the end, but you'll love that about it.

I give Nevernight by Jay Kristoff 9 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. Fans of adult fantasy should definitely pick this book up. It's dark and complex and compulsively readable. I know a handful of people DNF'd it because of the slow start but I gotta say, it was worth sticking with it in the end.

Have you read Nevernight? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. I've seen similar reviews regarding the beginning, but I'm glad to see that it picks up! I can't wait to read this. Great review!

    1. Oh it definitely picks up. The beginning is a lot of exposition but the rest of the book is super thrilling and dark. I'm glad I stuck with it.

  2. I too blogged about Nevernight today, and really loved the book. The slow beginning didn't really bother me, it just made me feel like Mia was mysterious. I got thrown by the endnotes more than anything. So hard to read via ebook, so I had to order a copy for myself :) Have a lovely week!

    1. Ah, see I think the flashbacks in the beginning made Mia less mysterious. It gave a lot of context for why she was doing what she was doing, which I did appreciate though because I'm not a big fan of revenge stories for that reason. The endnotes were strange. I think when I stopped viewing them as a part of the actual story then I started enjoying them more.

  3. I agree completely about the beginning {ok about everything you said really}, I was worried during the first part that I wasn't going to enjoy it, but once I got the rhythm and immersed myself in the plot it was amazing!

    1. I was worried too. And I'm not sure if I got used to it or it just changed. I got into it when the flashback stopped and the travel monologue ended, which is something I don't enjoy usually. But I'm glad we both ended up liking this one.

  4. Glad you liked it!! I'm actually really excited to read it. AND you liked the romance?? Wow that's impressive!! Also, I think that's the reason fantasy doesn't always stick w/ me. I don't like it when I'm confused and waiting to figure out what this world is all about. I also don't like SLOWNESS and world building at the start. I want STUFF to happen.

    1. WHAT!!! I hope you do read it. I think you'll like it. It's definitely dark which is good. And yes, I liked the romance. Can you believe it. If you want stuff to happen right away then this may not be the right book for you (I really think you should read The Young Elites). Although we did talk about how you don't like being confused so maybe this is good for you. I don't know. It's really good, read it.