Review: Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1) by Jay Kristoff

Hear me, Niah. Hear me, Mother. This flesh your feast. This blood your wine. This gift, this life, this end, our offering to you.
Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ (4/5) 

What’s This Book About?

Genre: Fantasy

Synopsis: Destined to destroy empires, Mia Corvere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.

Six years later, this child raised in shadows takes her first steps towards the vengeance she vowed on the day that she lost everything.

But the chance to bring down such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if Mia will succeed in her revenge, she must become a weapon without equal. Prove herself against the deadliest of friends and foes, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and daemons at the guarded heart of a murder cult.

The Red Church is no ordinary school.
Mia is no ordinary student.
The shadows love her.

And they drink her fear.

What I Thought:

I braved the vociferous love/hate reactions, dived into ‘Nevernight’ with no expectations and emerged victorious – I really enjoyed this book!

Stylistically, it’s quite unique – there’s a hefty use of footnotes (also written from the narrator’s perspective), which might not be to everyone’s taste (especially when some take up almost half the page), but I quite enjoyed them. It helped that Kristoff is sarcastically hilarious, which is also reflected in the footnotes, and the dry wit the narrator is possessed of was absolutely aligned with my sense of humour. The footnotes were cheeky and clever, surreptitiously info-dumping without technically info-dumping, and really added to world-building on the fly while staying entertaining! And Kristoff is truly diligent with adding a footnote for every unfamiliar term/event/important historical figure. After a few pages of footnotes, I learned to just note any new terms and trust that Kristoff would provide amusing (or shockingly dramatic!) explanation in due course. Another stylistic point I enjoyed was Kristoff’s use of mirror/dual scenes – there’s probably a fancy official term for this – for example a dual sex/murder scene that actually made me think a lot about how you can describe both acts with very similar words and sequences. Slightly disturbing but also fascinating!

Plot exposition was also excellent, especially with regards to the Truedark Massacre. Pacing was largely even; I only felt like it dragged for a microscopic period between the major climax and ending. The ending climax started off SO well, but Mia seemed to become rather conveniently powerful for a time…though it’s good that she has such a debilitating weakness to counterbalance her darkin magic!

The characters were also well-written, especially Mr Kindly (Mia’s shadowcat companion), Mia and Tric (another side character). My favourite was Mr Kindly, of course, a top notch animal sidekick, so sassy, so loyal and brutally honest. I loved him! Mia is a complex character, holding onto her humanity with bloody hands, in a world that tries its level best to make her into a monster.

This place gives much. But it takes much more. They may make her beautiful on the outside, but inside, they aim to shape a horror. So if there is some part of herself that truly matters, hold it close, Mia Corvere. Hold it tight.

Mia doesn’t have to sacrifice her femininity to be successful. And none of her masculine traits are glorified above her feminine ones. She’s a killer with a moral compass; brave, loyal and funny, and I’m definitely invested in her story! Her character development was believable, though she got over the Big Obstacle Towards Personal Growth oddly quickly. Especially for someone who spent most of the book repeatedly urging herself, ‘don’t look, don’t look.’

Another emotional investment: Tric. I love Tric. He’s truly a diamond in the rough. And I will never, EVER, forgive, and never, EVER, forget. (Those of you who’ve read ‘Nevernight’ will know what I mean.)

“You’ll have it, Tric. One turn, you’ll have your vengeance. I promise. Mother help me, I swear it.”
… “This is a dark road we walk, Mia.”
“Then we walk it together. I watch your back. You watch mine. And if I fall before the end, you get Scaeva for me. Make him scream. And I’ll swear the same for you.”

There were plenty of minor plot twists, but the big one completely threw me. I. Was. SHOCKED. I had my suspicions about one of the antagonists, but the way it unfolded was highly unexpected. I will hold a grudge about what happened for roughly the next 6000 years, and it’s actually one of the reasons why I’m hesitant to read ‘Godsgrave’ soon…I just can’t handle the enemies-to-lovers that I know happens next. At least until I’ve cooled off a bit. (It’s been almost two weeks, and I still get all stabby when I think about it!)

One last thing: even though there is a heavy amount of violence in this novel, it never felt gratuitous nor glorified. (Which is saying something as a large portion of it is set in the hallowed halls of a murder cult!) The same could be said for the sexual content – it’s never overdone, and stays relevant to the narrative.

Have you read ‘Nevernight’? Loved it? Hated it? Te da igual? Let me know your thoughts below!

One thought on “Review: Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1) by Jay Kristoff

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