Title: Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1)
Author: Jay Kristoff
Genre: Fantasy | Murder | Magic | Mystery
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Publication Date: August 9, 2016
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 (goodreads)?
Gorgeous writing, dastardly characters, and MURDER. Are you sold yet?
Plot: Jay Kristoff has just written himself an epic! Nevernight explores a young girl's quest for vengeance and the depths that she is willing to go to get there. As you would expect, Nevernight is a dark dark novel. There is violence and foul language, and some pretty explicit sexual scenes. Younger readers or those supplying this novel should really take note and only recommend to more mature audiences.
Now that the parental advisory is behind us, let's get to the meat of the topic! Nevernight is one of those books that takes it time to set the scene, introduce characters, and has a multi-layered story. Jay weaves in past and present events in a way that is not distracting at all. I really want to emphasize that Jay takes his time. He really really takes his time. For me, this book was not binge-able just because of how slow it moved. In my opinion, the pace doesn't really start to pick up until Mia arrives at the academy for young assassins (or Not!Hogwarts as I like to call it).
Characters: Nevernight's strongest aspect is the lack of good and evil. These kids are assassins, they are being trained to kill on command, not what their moral compass tells them, and I really liked how that was explored in Nevernight. Mia, as a heroine, is absolutely fantastic. She has a duty and she is very self aware. I found it hard to cheer for her at times, but I felt that every action led to a learning moment, which made her even stronger.
All of the supporting characters are unforgettable due to Jay's attention to detail. Jay Kristoff describes each character so uniquely that it's impossible to mix any up or forget anyone, which is impressive because there is a handful of characters active from beginning to end.
On more than one occasion I found myself chuckling, which really surprised me. I found it unexpected to have humor interwoven into a book that's main focus was murder. But there is witty banter between quite a few characters and the narrator gives amusing descriptions as well.
Worldbuilding: Nevernight intrigued me from the beginning because there were footnotes on most of the pages in the first part of this novel. These footnotes either provide more history about the landscape or history about the characters. I later found this approach to be genius because it provides a fully fleshed world while still feeling natural. The world in Nevernight was easy to picture and I lost myself in it right away. I especially enjoyed Not!Hogwarts with it's strange rituals and magic. If you are a fantasy lover, pick this book up just to appreciate the uniqueness of the world.
Short N Sweet: While a bit slow, Nevernight is going to be an instant classic for readers everywhere with it's unforgettable characters and rich world.