Eight Interesting Thoughts on Nevernight

January 19, 2017     Michelle     Book Reviews

Eight Interesting Thoughts on NevernightNevernight by Jay Kristoff
Narrator: Holter Graham
Series: The Nevernight Chronicle #1
Published by Thomas Dunne Books on August 9th 2016
Genres: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 429
Format: Audiobook
Series Rating:

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?

Nevernight was a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed most of it. Basically, it’s the story of how Mia (the main character) becomes a badass assassin. It’s also about her learning about what she is and how her powers work.

Mia has a SPECTACULAR sense of humor.

Seriously, she made this book all on her own. I loved her. Most of the time.

Though she knew she should probably be frightened at the sight, instead Mia took a deep breath, combed her fingers through her air, and stepped out of the alley, right into a slop pile of what she hoped was mud.*
* It was not mud. Alas.

All right, so a lot of the humor was the narrator’s. But isn’t that even better?

Just so you know, if it comes down to cannibalism, you get eaten first.

She’s blunt, and to the point.

The gaze of Daniio’s slow cousin eye seemed to be wandering off, as if distracted by pretty flowers, or perhaps a rainbow.

There were so many good comments that just made me chuckle, but a lot of them need context. So these are all you get 🙂

There is a cat in just about every scene.

He is a cat-who-is-not-a-cat and I want one. And he has a wry sense of humor. I want him. ‘Nuff said.

The worldbuilding is beautiful.

It draws on history, which is one of my favorite things in the world. Definitely inspired by the Roman Republic / Empire. Straight down to random cultural facts, which was fun to be able to catch.

The magic in this book was fun and, actually somewhat unique. And so much of it was so very subtle, which made me happy.

And The Red Church. Oh, the structure of the Red Church was awesome. I love the idea of it basically being a school for assassins. And questions about the ethics of a church that worships through murder kept being addressed and … agh, I loved it!

The library.

As strange as it seems, one of my favorite parts about Nevernight was an aspect that didn’t come up all that much. The library was cool.

I mean, first and foremost, the librarian was just awesome. And he was funny. And maybe a bit dark. And …  not entirely alive? But he also just straight up had some awesome quotes. Like this one:

The books we love, they love us back. And just as we mark our places in the pages, those pages leave their marks on us. I can see it in you, sure as I see it in me. You’re a daughter of the words. A girl with a story to tell.

Also. The bookworms. Seriously awesome. I have no words, and I don’t want to spoil the surprise if you haven’t read it yet. Sorry!

There is a huge emphasis on beauty.

Seriously, the Red Church makes its assassins beautiful. I get the idea of needing them to be unrecognizable — the “girl next door” kind of pretty — but there are pages and pages of comments on Mia’s newly acquired boobs. No, not all clumped together, but if you add all the bits from throughout the book, I’d bet there’s at least one page worth of them.

Sex is a really big deal in Nevernight.

Yeah, ok. I remember being a teenager. And sex was a really big deal. It can be life changing. But there were times I kind of wanted to be like “Oh my god nobody cares about you being horny!” I actually kind of felt that it really pushed the limit of the “Young Adult” genre. It just had moments of being inappropriately distraction from the plot. As in, Mia was inappropriately distracted but not distracted? I don’t know — it was weird.

An awful lot of things are awfully convenient.

I could (and have done) rant for hours about this one. I thoroughly enjoyed the plot — don’t get me wrong. But SO MUCH was just SO CONVENIENT. And if it had been one or two things here or there, then sure. But there was a LOT. Just a couple of (exceedingly toned down) examples:

  • In the beginning, we have an action scene that seems completely random and pointless, then turns out to be some serious foreshadowing. And because she learned something at that point, she had a perfect plan later in the book.
  • She makes a decision that’s pretty much out of character for her, and it results in her being in just the wrong place at the right time. Which results in her conveniently being the only one who can “save the day.”

I found the beginning a bit confusing.

It took me WAY longer than it should have to actually understand what Mia was trying to do, or why she decided to “team up” with Tric. Part of that might have been that I was in the middle of NaNoWriMo and bemoaning the fact that there were way too many parallels between this assassin story and the assassin story I was already working on. Mostly, though, I think there was just too much information being thrown at me all at once for me to process the actual plot.

Rating Report
Writing Style
  • Despite the negatives, this does sound well done. It is one I have been meaning to try:)

    • It was thoroughly enjoyable! Most of these were just little nits as I was listening to, and it wasn’t until I was reflecting on it that they really bothered me.

  • I’ve heard different things about this one, but it does sound like it has some good humor. 🙂 Love the idea of a school/ church for assassins. Some of your issues though I would probably share- I have heard it pushes the YA thing. And it is a pet peeve of mine when things seem TOO convenient.

    Nice post!

    • Yeah, don’t get me wrong — I do plan on reading the next one if/when it’s available, and I really am glad I read this one 🙂 It’s definitely worth giving a try!

  • I liked this book! It was so intriguing and well-written. I’d read Kristoff’s books with Amie Kaufman, but this was the first solo novel of his that I’ve read. I definitely see your point about a lot of things being very convenient – that rang true for me too. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series!

    Also, fyi — this isn’t a Young Adult novel. It was never marketed as such. People assumed this, because Kristoff writes YA, but he himself has clearly said (over and over, both pre- and post-publication) that this isn’t a YA novel (even if the protagonist is “young”). This particular publishing imprint doesn’t even publish YA books!

    Great review, Michelle. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • I haven’t read any of the joint books with Kaufman, but I’m hoping to start Illuminae this week 🙂 I’m excited to read more of his work!

      I’ll have to keep that in mind, regarding the imprint — I actually hadn’t been aware of that, but it makes sense. I never thought it read like a YA, but it’s a weird dynamic with such a young protagonist. I suspect that has at least as much to do with the confusion as Kristoff’s writing history. Thanks for pointing that out! 🙂

  • Oh yay! I loved Nevernight 🙂 I loved Mister Kindly and the amount of sass in Mia’s conversations with him! But yeah the book isn’t YA and I guess that’s why the explicit sex scenes. And I totally understand what you say about beauty. that was an annoying aspect. It was literally like “Let’s make everyone pretty” But other than that I pretty much loved the story 🙂

    P.S. I really like your Header 🙂

    • Thanks so much! I had a ton of fun making it (other than, you know, being OCD about everything!) I really did LOVE this book in spite of my couple of nits. They were minor in the grand scheme of things 😛

  • I’ve been thinking about reading this for ages, and you’ve definitely convinced me to give it a go! Hopefully I’ll get to it soon.
    Great review! 🙂

    • Thanks! I do hope you try it! It really was a lot of fun! And Mia can be ridiculously entertaining when she wants to be 🙂

  • I’ve heard good things about this author his books, but haven’t read nay of them myself. Mia sounds like a great main character! And you made me curious about that cat, cats or any pets are always fun to see in books. And I like what you say about the world building, it sounds very well done. Even with the things that didn’t work for you it still sounds like a very good read, although I can see how those those too convenient things get a bit much when they occur too often. Great review!

    • Oh you should try them! This one at least was really quite fun! 🙂 And honestly, most of the things that bugged me were really more in hindsight than while I was really reading them.